Friday, August 15, 2014

Testimony of Rob Williams from Leach vs Leach lawsuit.

The following testimony of Rob Williams was taken 11 February 1948; this post is the sixth of eleven. The background (explanation) for this testimony can be found in my post dated 23 July 2014.


Chester F. Leach, Clyde F. Leach, Oscar Leach, Otis Leach, Ersa Leach, and Samuel Leach, Plaintiffs.


S. D. Leach, Defendant.


Also the deposition of Rob Williams, taken at the same time and for the purpose set out in the caption. Witness being first duly sworn and examined by Otto C. Martin, Attorney for defendant, testified as follows:

Q. 1   State your name.
A.   Rob Williams

Q. 2  Your age.
A.  56.

Q. 3   Where do you live?
A.  At Rob Roy.

Q. 4   That also known as t he Bald Knob section?
A.   That is right.

Q. 5   How long have you lived in that section?
A.    Practical1y all my life.

Q. 6   Were you born on the farm you now live on?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 7  You are a son of Sep T. Williams?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 8   Did you know S. W. Leach during his lifetime?
A.   I did.

Q. 9   How far is the farm on which you live from the farm on which he lived when he died?
A.  One farm between our farm and his, about a half mile.

Q. 10  Your farm is on the o1d Hartford and Morgantown road?
A.   Yes sir

Q. 11  This Leach farm is on the Bald Knob and Pincheco road?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 12   Have you been on this S. W. Leach farm very much?
A.  A good deal.

Q. 13   Do you know how long Mr. Leach had lived on that farm before he died?
A.  As long as I can remember. I don't know just how long.

Q. 14   Mr. Leach died in December, 1918, 29 years ago last December. What kind of buildings were on that farm when he died, Rob?
A.  Otto, I was in the Navy in 1918 and 1919.

Q. 15   Before you went to the Navy then?
A.  They were in reasonably good condition.

Q. 16  What buildings were on this f arm?
A.   A house and barn.

Q. l7   What kind of a house?
A.   A log house.

Q. 18  What kind of a barn?
A.   A boxed barn.

Q. 19   Do you know the age of those buildings?
A.   No sir, I don't.

Q. 20  You say they were in reasonably good condition when you went into the Navy?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 21  What about the farm itself for agricultural purposes?
A.   It was in very low state for agricultural purposes. It was thin land.

Q. 22   Did Mr. Leach cultivate this land much?
A.  Not a great deal.

Q. 23   How much of that land was suitable for cultivation in 1918, when you went into the Navy?
A.  About 30 acres.

Q. 24   Was all that good crop land.
A.  No sir.

Q. 25   What kind of land was it?
A.   Not over 15 acres of good producing land on the place.

Q. 26   What was the condition of the remainder of the land?
A.  Very thin soil and been run hard.

Q. 27  Was it washed?
A.   Some.

Q.28   Do you know about the timber on the land?
A.   Not a great deal.

Q. 29   Had you seen it?
A.   Yes, I squirrel hunted there.

Q. 30   What kind of timber was it?
A.   Oak and poplar - just the ordinary run of timber.

Q. 3l   What was the nature of the soil where this timber was growing?
A.   Kinda sandy soil.

Q. 32  Strong soil?
A.   No sir.

Q. 33   About what size timber was this?
A.  It would run, I would say, from two feet down.

Q. 34   Do you know about the number of acres of timber growing on that farm?
A.  I would think about 30 acres. I don’t know exactly the number of acres.

Q. 35   Any bottom land on that farm?
A.  Not what we call bottom land, a little branch bottom.

Q. 36   How much branch bottom?
A.    Not over four or five acres.

Q. 37   About how old was Mr. Leach when he died, if you know?
A.   I don't know exactly.  He was getting up in the seventies I imagine.
Q. 38   Did you know his wife, Mrs. Finis Leach?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 39  What was her age when he died?
A.   About 80 I imagine.

Q. 40   Her age when Mr. Leach died?
A.   Between 5O and 60, I imagine.

Q. 41  You knew these sons - four of them?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 42  Had they all married and left home before Mr. Leach died?
A.  Yes sir

Q. 43   Do you know where Chester was living when his father died?
A.   I don't know whether he was living on his farm then or not.

Q. 44  He owned a farm close to his father’s farm?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 45  What kind of roads did you have in that section in 1919?
A.  Bad.

Q. 46  Any state or rural highways?
A.   No closer than we call Argle Leach' s.

Q. 47  Near Beaver Dam?
A.   About a mile and a half.

Q. 48  That section had county roads only?
A.    County dirt roads.

Q. 49   Rob, what in your opinion was the fair , reasonable market value of the farm of S. W. Leach, including the buildings, surface and timber growing on it in 1919, when she sold the farm to Jasper Leach?
A.   I would say $2,000.00 would be fair price for it.

Q. 50  With the timber?
A.    Yes sir.

Q. 51 What would it be without the timber?
A.    $800.00, I would say.

Q. 52   Now, supposing you had only been buying Mrs. Leach's life estate in that farm, considering the fact she was 62 years old and in poor health when Mr. Leach died, what would you say that 1ife estate was worth?
A.  I don't know all that is included in her 1ife estate.

Q. 53    The right to the use of the farm as long as she lived, the right to use the surface and improvements, but not the timber, get the crops grown on it, the rents, considering she was 62 years old and in poor health what would you say her life estate was worth?
What was it worth to anybody wanting to buy her life estate?
A.  I would say $2,000.00.

Q. 54   You mean her life estate?
A.  Her life estate is what the farm would produce in that length of time?

Q. 55   The use of the farm so long as she lived, get the proceeds of it, the use of the surface and improvements, but not the timber, and she was 62 years old when Mr. Leach died and in poor health?
A.  I would not want to pay over $1,000.00.  If I bought it, I would not want it for just that number of year. I would want it outright.

Q. 56   Taking that farm in the condition you say it was in, the number of acres suitable for cultivation, what would have been the fair reasonable rental of that farm per year?
A.  $75.00.

Cross-examination by Claude E. Smith, Attorney for plaintiffs.

Q. 1  Were you out of the Navy when the timber was cut off  that place?
A.   I got out of t he Navy in September, 1919.

Q. 2   You were possibly out at that time?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 3   Did you know of the timber being cut off that farm?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 4    Do you know who cut it?
A.   Jake Leach was the one who cut it.

Q. 5   Who did they sell this timber to?
A.   I don't know.

Q. 6   What did he cut it into?
A.  Mostly ties.

Q. 7   Cut any lumber timber?
A.   Some, I think.

Q. 8   Do you mean that Jake actually did the cutting or sell it to someone and they had it cut?
A. Jake did most of the actual cutting. He was a timber man himself.

Q. 9   About how many acres was there in timber on that farm?
A.   I think about 30 acres.

Q. 10   Pretty well timbered?
A.   Very well, ordinary run of timber, oak, poplar and beech - what ordinarily grows on any land.

Q. 11 What kind of Oak?
A.   White Oak and some Black Oak.

Q. 12   Do you know whether or not the timber had been cut from that land before Jake cut it?
A.  No, I think not.

Q. 13   You don't know whether it had been cut over before or not?
A.   No, I but I don't think so.

Q. 14   Have you seen this farm lately?
A.   Yes, this fall.

Q. 15   The dwelling house is practically rotted down?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 16   The barn gone?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 17   Any other outbuildings that might have been on it, are gone too?
A.   There was none to amount to anything .

Q. 18   Do you know whether or not there were any buildings other than the dwelling house and barn?
A.  A chicken house, may be a coal house, none to amount to anything.

Q. 19   That dwelling house was occupied by S. W. Leach and wife, and his sons until they married and went away, for years and years before he died?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 20   It was kept in reasonably good condition for occupancy?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 21   Do you have any idea about what that dwelling house was worth on Feb.15, 1919, shortly after S. W.  Leach died?
A.   I imagine three or four hundred dollars.

Q. 22   What was the barn worth at that time?
A.   $200.00

Q. 23   What is your idea as to the worth of this farm in its present condition?
A.   I would estimate it at around $1,000.00.

Q. 24   Is the farm worth as much now as it was when Mrs. Leach sold it, leaving out of consideration the timber that was on it?
A. No sir.

Q. 25   How much was the farm worth then, in your opinion, leaving out of consideration the timber on it?
A.   About $1,000 .00.

Q. 26   It is worth practically the same now as it was then so far as making a living, notwithstanding the fact the dwelling house is gone and the barn is gone?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 27   It is grown up now, the cleared land has grown up?
A.  Pretty well.

Q. 28   In order to cultivate it you would have to clear it again?
A.  Not all of it, some of it you would have to clear.

Re-direct examination by Otto C. Martin, attorney for defendant.

Q. 1  Rob, there is a good deal of difference in the value of farm lands in this county now and in 1919?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 2   A considerable increase in value?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 3   In the last few years there has been a rural improved highway constructed from Beaver Dam to Rob Roy, that is rocked?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 4   How close does it come to this farm?
A.   About a mile I guess.

Q. 5  The price of farm products are higher and have been for the past two years, a good dea1 higher than ever before?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 6  Wou1d that have anything to do with the value of farm lands?
A.  It boosts the price of farm lands a deal.

Q. 7  In other words that same farm would be worth a good deal more now than in 1919?
A.   Oh yes.

Q. 8   Do you know what Oak ties were selling for in 1919, Rob?
A.   I think from 80 cents to $1.00.

Q. 9   What are they worth now?
A.   $1.50 to $1.75.

Q. 10   Double what they were then?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 11   Do you know what Jake Leach and Jasper Leach got for the timber they sold off this farm?
A.   No sir.

Q. 12   How many ties do you say could have been manufactured from that timber?
A.   I have no idea.

Re-cross examination by Claude E. Smith, Attorney for plaintiffs.

Q. 1   What kind of crops did S. W. Leach raise on this farm?
A.   Mostly corn.

Q. 2   Have any tobacco?
A.  He did not raise any tobacco.

Q. 3  Raise a fair crop of corn?
A.  Yes sir.

Re-redirect examination by Otto C. Martin, attorney for defendant.

Q. 1   Mr. S. W. Leach was a magistrate in this county at one time?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 2   Also County Assessor at one time?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 3   And also Deputy Assessor?
A. Yes sir.


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