Notes from the Office of the Commissioners of Claims
with Instructions on how to Deal With Bradley County Claims
Note #1 ___ Washington, D.C., April 6, 1875
No. 15774 – $1,708.10
William Cate near Cleaveland Bradley Co. Tenn. Farm of 320 acres on Mouse Creek Valley. Was arrested [by rebels during the war] and put under guard, got the guard drunk and escaped. Don’t tell cause of arrest. Confeds took from him 8 or 9 head good cattle, 400 to 600 bushel corn, 40 to 50 tons hay, (?), shoats (8ac ok?) This was in ‘62. That year ‘62 - Confeds paid him $3,000! Claims to have helped Union men across the mountains, to have concealed Union soldiers pursued by rebels, to have given information to Union officers. Voted against the ratification of the ordinance of secession.
James S. Robertson, bookseller at Cleaveland, testifies to loyal conversations and reputations.
Jesse H. Gaut, attorney at law, Cleaveland also testifies to loyalty.
Frank Hyberger, the Commissioner who took the testimony says -”Loyalty proved by two unquestionably loyal men. Although these witnesses are entitle to full credit, I believe from what I could learn from others that claimant desires very much to save his property and that he was not an active adherent of the Union cause.”
I cannot help suspecting that client was not really loyal. The rebels paid him $3,000 for his property taken. His stories as to helping and hiding Union men are not proven by anybody but himself. There are a great many cases from Bradley County in which the claimants tell of helping Union refugees and soldiers to escape; but they give no names no dates nor detailed facts and the proof rests wholly on the claimant’s statements, not those orated by any other witness.unsigned.
In all such cases (as Williams Cate’s claim) make thorough inquiry as to loyalty, as to the character of the parties who testify - See the claimants and see if they can give you any names of those they helped, and where they now are and whether now living and what was done and when. Any proof besides claimant’s of the alleged facts? The attorneys at Cleveland seem to have a special talent at getting up cases in which the claimants make general declarations of loyal acts - of helping loyal men- of piloting loyal refugees over the mountains- of being generally threatened and personally molested - but they don’t specify any persons, give no names of persons, no time, place, or detail of facts, so that we can either corroborate or disprove the alleged facts. Such kind of evidence is very suspicious and unless otherwise corroborated is of but little weight. In such cases you ought to 1st inquire as to the particular facts alleged and 2nd especially as to the real character of the claimant and his reputation among loyal men. He had a son and nephew in the Rebel army.unsigned
Depositions Taken in 1875 Regarding Claimant's (Cate) Loyalty