Additional Testimony for the Commissioners of Claims at Washington

Claim of William Cate of Bradley county, Tennessee no. 15.774 and 20702

It is hereby certified that on different days from the 1st of August to the 14th of August 1875 at my office except in the case of Leonard Carrouth which I took at his own farm, in Cleveland Tennessee, came before me for the purpose of further learning on rebuttal examination in the above named case the following persons. William Cate, Joseph H. Davis, Leonard Carrouth,Capt. A.E. Blount, John A. Steed, J.F. Larrison, Mrs. Sidney Henderson, Col. David M. Nelson, Samuel Grigsby, Andrew J. Maples, John H. Hague, Herman Foster, Thomas L. Cate, James McGhee, Captain Thomas Rains, D.B. Oneal, Thomas A. Cowan, C.S. Hardwick, Joseph Calloway, J.C. Steed, Joseph R. Taylor, William W. Wood, James H. Brown, James S. Robertson, John H. Craigmiles, John H. Parker, John McReynolds, every deponent previous to his or examination was properly and duly sworn to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth concerning the matters under examination. The witnesses were examined separately and apart from each other and the testimony of each deponent was written out by me in the presence of such deponent who signed the same in my presence after it had been read over to him or her and the signature of such deponent was by me witnessed at the time it was affixed to the deposition. Witness my hand and seal this August the 16, 1875.

John W. Ramsey
Special Commissioner



Deposition of William Cate

Claimant who being duly sworn disposes and says my name is William Cate. I am the claimant and have been examined before but now wish to be examined in explanation further on several points.

In regard to my acquaintance with Mr. Leonard Carrouth. I never had any acquaintance with him till about Christmas 1863 when I was introduced to him at J.C. Steeds and was not in his company more than ten minutes. My recollection is that Mr. Carrouth moved to a farm adjoining mine in the Spring of 1865 but as his house was not on a route that I often traveled I did not often see him. I positively deny that I ever sympathized with the Rebellion and Mr. Carrouth nor no other man ever heard me say that I did.

But I have said and I suppose Carrouth has heard me say since the war that I desired to see the south again in a prosperous condition. It is our only market for grain and stock.

In regard to the sick wheat question. I positively deny that the federals ever came to me to purchase any wheat or to get any wheat from me. I went to the Chief commissary after the federal army was stationed at Cleveland to try to sell him the wheat I had saved from the rebels but he did not want the wheat but told me if I could get it ground into flour that he would purchase the flour.

But the rebel authorities did try to get my wheat and I saved it by having put some spoilt wheat on top of my good wheat in a large (garner?) I had so that when the rebels examined it they would not have it.

Prior to that time, there had been some sick wheat ground up at the Cleveland Mills by the Rebel General G.G. Dibrells command and the flour made a great many rebel soldiers sick and this circumstance made them fearful of sick wheat. And this circumstance enabled me to deceive the rebels that came for my wheat. I often told after the war how I saved my wheat from the rebels.

I told Mr. Leonard Carrouth about this matter in the presence of Herman Foster and the yankees or federal soldiers were not named-for if the federals ever had any sick wheat or ground wheat about Cleveland, I never heard.

After I was well acquainted with Carrouth in the fall of 1865 I told him when I heard him speaking of having to leave Murray county, Georgia that I had heard some of his old neighbors say that he had to leave for reporting Union men to the enrolling officer. After seeming confused, he said “he never reported but two, and that was to make a soft place for himself to light”.

Myself and Leonard Carrouth were on friendly terms till some 18 months or two years ago when he was pressed by W.S. Montgomery and Samuel Grigsby for considerable debts and promised them that he would get me to stay their judgements. He became very angry at my refusal and said hard things about me and since that time we have had no dealings.

In regard to the statement made by Captain A.E. Blount in his deposition taken by colonel James B. Brownlow, that he heard me say that I had never lost anything by either the Union or Rebel army, I positively deny that I ever made such a statement to Captain Blount or to any other person at anytime since Blount came back to this county. But I again and again stated in the presence of Captain Blount that I had sustained heavy losses- by the Union army. I recollect talking the matter over in the presence of Mr. Hermon Foster at my own house in the fall of 1864 and also I made the statement at the house of Mrs. Sidney Henderson where he boarded in the winter of 1864-5 in the presence of a number of Union officers and of various other times.

I suppose I have paid more tuition to Captain Blount as a teacher than has any other man in this county. We were on intimate terms when he left in the summer of 1861 to go to the federal lines and I was one of the first farmers he visited when he returned in 1864. In the winter of 1864-5 there were two or three rebel raids upon Cleveland reported, and each time Captain Blount left Cleveland and came out to my house and remained there till he would get me to come to town and see whether there was any danger or not.

We were on very intimate terms till about the spring of 1869, he often visited my house with his wife during these years. Myself and family were invited to dine with him in the fall of 1865 and myself and two of my daughters did dine with him and I found out at the time that the dinner was made especially for me and so far as I have been able to learn, myself and the Honorable Horace Maynard are the only men that have ever been invited to dine at his house since he has been housekeeping.

I first noticed a coldness in the conduct of Captain Blount towards me when a couple of his friends had urged me to become a security on his official Bond as Post Master in the Spring of 1869 and I expressed to them my unwillingness to do so. After this I saw he was cold and distant.

In regard to the associations and desortment that Captain Blount speaks of. I state that I have never associated with rebels because they were rebels but since the war was over I have bought from and sold to those that I do best by and for years before the war I had sold the most of my farm product to C.L. Hardwick who was the principal grain and produce merchant of Cleveland and have continued doing so since the war. About 1868 or ‘69 I was a stock holder of the Agricultural and Mechanical Association of Bradley County, Tennessee, elected with said (this sentence unreadable) said association and both of us have been officers in it ever since, and in the annual fairs and other business of the association. We have often been thrown together. This association is composed of all professions without distinction of party - Captain A.E. Blount belongs to it.

In regard to Mr. J.C. Steed’s doubts about my loyalty. I state that I never had any protection papers from the rebel authorities nor did I ever hear of any other man in this part of the county having a protection paper from them. Mr. J.C. Steed and myself were near neighbors and friends till October, 1864 when he had joined a fence to mine and some of my fattening hogs got through my fence into his corn and Steed and his sons dogged them till they got the hogs mad, and when the hogs would not run any more, they beat them up with rocks and clubs till about eleven large hogs died. The hogs were very valuable and he intimated that he did not intend to pay for them and hard feelings (?) arose between us and we have had no correspondence or dealing since.

I further state that J.C. Steed was present and saw the federals taking my hay in 1864. He and James Brown both were at the rick when four or five was taken and the larger rick was within two hundred yards of his house and in fair view of his house.

He also saw the rebels feeding out my hay in 1862-3. He was often present when they were feeding it, both he and James Brown.

In regard to the statements of Mr. J.C. Steed that I should have said in substance that I had lost nothing by the war. I positively assert that I never said such a thing to Mr. Steed in word or substance but that I had often talked to said Steed about my losses. I recollect our conversation with him about our losses in the presence of Herman Foster near Steed’s house in the fall of 1865 and another conversation with Steed in Cleveland when the Tennessee Court of Claims under the state act was in session about 1868.

In regard to any Union man trusting himself with me as stated by Mr. J.C. Steed. I state that he did know of the three Union soldiers that had been pursued from Cleveland and that I had hid at my straw stack for I told him about it at the time.

And Steed frequently came to my house to get news of what was going on about town and to get me to do favors for him when he was afraid to get to Cleveland himself. And this intimacy continued till the trouble arose about the hogs.

In regard to the Rebels butchering their cattle on my farm. I state that I expressly refused to let the rebels butcher on my farm and that they came with their cattle and fed them and butchered them on the farm without my consent. I got none of the beef and for the large amount of my hay they fed away. I got almost nothing and the hay was taken without my consent and against my will.

I positively state that myself and J.F. Larrison were not on friendly terms during the war and never had any conversations together and I positively deny that I ever told him that I had lost nothing by the war.

In regard to the contributions and sums advanced to aid conscripts and Union men the claimant states: That these conscripts were generally deserters from the adjoining counties in Georgia and North Carolina and had often escaped from the rebel army in a great state of destitution and had been brought or directed into my neighborhood north of Cleveland where they were to be carried forward by other pilots. It was often days and even weeks before a pilot could be had and they lay out in the thickets in the ridges and were supported by the Union neighbors. They were often nearly naked. The truth was the rebel officers in this part of the country had no confidence in their conscripts and took no pains to provide them shoes or clothes and they were thus almost forced to desert the rebel army and escape to the Union army for protection. I made it my business to go to Cleveland almost every day and (?) was not afraid to go; while other Union men who only went over in awhile got afraid to go and I often carried their confederate money and changed it for money that would answer them when they got across the lines. I at different times got up contributions for them and purchased shoes and blankets and other things they needed. I often did not see these squads of men but the report of their members and conditions were brought to me by such men as Alexander A. Clingan, (Melcoun?) Barid, Captain James H. Norman and other union men that I knew, and had confidence in. These men sometimes brought me the confederate money to get changed for such money as they could use on their journey and would tell me what articles these conscript must have and I would go to town and manage round to get the money changed and purchase the shoes and clothing for them.

At one time Captain Norman came to my house and followed me to the house of James Brown and and gave me two packages of letters from men that had gone through the lines, to their friends in and about Cleveland and a newspaper or two, and some money to get changed and a number of articles to be purchased for men who were lying out. I was to give part of the letters to Dr. G.B. Thompson. These I delivered to him and I delivered one to Mrs. Dr. J.G. Brown and some others and then left the other packages with Joseph H. Davis - Clerk of the County Court of Bradley County. I got the money changed and bought all the articles sent for that I could find and bought medicines and necessaries for the sick; for two of the principle men of this crowd were reported as being prostrated with the measles. I carried these things out to my house in a sack and met Norman and lent him a horse to carry the goods and (?) to these men, and when he sent the horse back I sent the men a ham of meat.

I went with Captain Norman to their camp in the ridges twice but I did not ask for a name for it was safer not to know their names.

At an earlier day-say about July 1862-Alexander A. Clingan, former sheriff brought me news that their was a squad of conscripts or Union men who had got to his neighborhood from some adjoining county. Three of them shirtless and two of them barefooted. The men he said had to tear up their shirts to tie up their feet so that they could travel and that his women were making them shirts that day. I met him at the county clerk Joseph H. Davis’s office - myself and Dr. G.B. Thompson each bought a pair of shoes for them and my recollection is that Joseph H. Davis and John Hays bought the socks. Alexander A. Clingan bought the other pair of shoes for these soldiers. I also changed off their confederate money that Clingan gave me as such as they could use on their journey and I also bought some tobacco for them. I placed the goods in Clingan’s hands and he took them to the soldiers. I saw none of this squad of conscripts.

I acted and assisted many other cases for I was engaged much of my time about such cases or business.

In regard my aiding Union enterprises, I wish to make this statement. That in the fall of 1865 when the Union soldiers had returned and were returning from the federal army, the Union men of Bradley county concluded to give them a barbecue at the farm of Colonel Stephen Barid (now dead). A preliminary meeting was held at Cleveland for arranging to get up money and provisions for the barbecue. Captain A.E. Blount was chairman. The matter was discussed and as no provisions of consequence could be had in Cleveland, J.H. Gaut, Captain A.E. Blount and myself were appointed a committee to get up money and provisions. By Captain Blount and J.H. Gaut I was made the agent of the committee to collect the money and get the provisions, both officers being too busy.

Someone present drew up a subscription papers and took down the sums that different persons present were willing to give. This paper was put into my hands to collect and I collected the money. The paper has been in my possession ever since. Some of the Union men that gave a dollar each were very poor and could hardly get bread for their families at the time.

But none of the men who impeached my loyalty were them except Captain Blount who had plenty-had drawn a Captain’s pay for years for small services and he gave fifty cents while J.H. Gaut, P.M. Craigmiles and John C. Gaut gave five dollars each and claimant gave ten dollars. I attach the paper to my deposition market “exhibit A” as a part of my deposition.

By examining the back of the paper some memoranda made at the barbecue or about that time will show what the barbecue cost the Sixth District of Bradley county - the district I acted for. The whole expense was $77.44. Of this I collected $48 on this paper. Ahe. Henry paid me $10.50 which he got contributed and James C. Gaut, J.H. Craigmiles, R.M. Craigmiles and J.H. Gaut contributed $10 more leaving unpaid to me of my actual expenses $8.94 besides the ten subscribed.

Captain Blount only paid 50 cents and neither Steed, Larrison nor Carrouth paid a cent. They did not work any more for the Union cause at the close of the war than they did when we raised the Union flag on the toll pole at the beginning of the war.

In regard to the produce I raised in 1862, I attach the receipt of Captain W.L. Brown’s, the confederate Collector of Tax in kind for Bradley County in 1862. “Exhibit B”. This receipt shows that one hundred and five dozen of oats and thirty nine thousand and four hundred pounds of hay were considered ten percent of my oats and hay for 1862.

In regard to the threats made against me by William L. Brown. I recollect that there was only one man with him at the time and I cannot recollect whether it was son his Sam -since killed while stealing a horse, or some other man. In regard to the time of my arrest by the rebels mentioned in Brownlow’s report. I gave him the names of Charles Reynolds the Lieutenant, named by him and I also named Sam Brown since killed in Georgia. John Tibbs who lives about two miles from Dalton, Georgia and and a young man from Polk county Tennessee and some of the Epperson boys none of whom I have seen since the war and I don’t know where they live.

While the rebels held this part of the county the fighting lines was north of me so that I could not give the federals information and after the federals got control of this country they had a station at Cleveland and other points south of me so the federals always got the information first.

In regard to the things the federal soldiers and officers got from me; I state that in the last of June or the 1st of July 1864, I sold out of the crop of 1864 hay at one dollar per hundred amounting to $426 and received the money for it according to contract. The federals also bought another load a few days after out of the same crop and paid me for it. About February 1864 the federals bought about 8 mules and horses and gave me vouchers on which I got the money.

In October or November 1864 the federals paid me for about 15 or 16 bushels of corn out of the crop of 1864.

I had a hundred bushel of seed oats which the federals took from me in February of March 1864, but of the crop of 1863 they gave me a voucher and I think the same command took the oats paid me.

In regard to the poultry part of the report of Colonel Brownlow-I will state that my wife raises a great deal of poultry. She would not sell to the rebels because she would not have their money and although they stole some from her, yet when the federals got possession of this county she had a large quantity of chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks and the officers of the federal army purchased a considerable number of these from her and paid her for them. I supposed out of their own money. I never thought of reporting such transactions as these. These officers and perhaps some soldiers bought from her, butter, fruits and vegetables and paid her form them and I am certain paid her a great deal more than Colonel Brownlow reports. None of the things were mentioned by me in my claim and I did not suppose had anything to do with it. In my answers Col. Brownlow I understood him only to ask me about what the federal government paid me and not as what officers paid as individuals and then said nothing about these matters.

I wish to make a statement about another important matter in my aid of Union men of Cleveland that I did not mention in my former examinations. I did not know of the importance of making a full statement of everything, and this is a matter that all the rebels that I knew or could recollect were dead or out of my reach. That signed it. [a petition]

I had a nephew T.L. Cate among a number of Union prisoners that had been arrested about Cleveland and sent to prison at Tuscaloosa - besides other warm friends. In a conversation with Thomas H. Calloway he told me if I could get up a petition by some of the rebels as a starting point he thought he could get them released. I got A. Henry privately to write a petition. I then got Dr. J.P.R. Edwards, a leading rebel of Cleveland, with whom I had had some previous transactions and who owed me a large amount of money besides my being his security for six or seven hundred dollars more, I used my influence with him, got him to sign the petition and to get other kindly-disposed persons (rebels) to sign it while I got Captain Robert McClary who I knew was Union man at heart though commanding a rebel company. I also got my friends James H. and James M. Cowan and some others. It was not intended that any rebel should see this paper except such as would I supposed would sign it.

When it was signed up, I gave it to Thomas H. Calloway and Calloway (?) on the authorities at Richmond through John C. Burch and other leading men in the Confederacy. In a short time after this the prisoners were all released and returned to Cleveland. Calloway told me that the petition had had a good effect, but that he had paid out about twenty five hundred dollars in getting it through and the prisoners released. These prisoners were such men as Dr. John G. Brown, Dr. William (?), Thomas L. Cate, Seth W. Bradford, Colonel Stephen Baird and many others of the best citizens of this county.

The getting up and handling this petition was a very critical matter and put us in great danger.

When it was heard at this place that these Union prisoners were about to be released some of the violent rebels or men got up a counter petition to prevent their release but before they got it to Richmond the prisoners got back home.

I forgot to state about the papers put before the (commission?) appointed by General G.H. Thompson at Cleveland. These papers were not vouchers but statements or receipts designed simply as evidence to them. I never saw them anymore and always understood that they were burnt in William H. Craigmile’s store till I examined P.M. Craigmiles as perhaps my last witness who then stated the papers had been turned over to General Whipple, though my recollection was he had told me different before.

Not knowing what the real fact was after speaking to the Special Commission about it I did change my statements. The papers carried off by Mr. Ewing were simply statements or informal receipts. At that time my claims would have been under two or three (loads?).

And further claimant saith not.

Williams Cate
before, John W. Ramsey - Special Commissioner



Deposition of Joseph H. Davis

who being duly sworn deposes and says my age 66 years, residence Cleveland Tennessee. I am not related to the claimant and have no interest in his claim. I was in March 1862 and sworn in the first of March 1862, as Clerk of the County Court of Bradley County and Tennessee and served in said office during the remainder of the war. The office was the usual place of meeting of the Union men about Cleveland during the war. We met to consult not only as to our own safety but as to the safety of other Union men and men that were starving to escape to the Union lines and then we often raised money by voluntary contributions to aid Union men who were lying out and waiting to get across to the Union lines.

The claimant William Cate was one of the Union men that constantly met with us at my office and constantly took part in our consultations and deliberations. He was perhaps in my office as much as once a week during the whole war from the time I was elected till the close of the war. There was no matter so sacred among the Union men of Bradley but what the claimant was fully posted about it.

I recollect that at one Mr. A.A. Clingan, one of leading Union of our county, came to my office and met some five or six Union men among whom was the claimant and made known to us that a number of conscripts who had escaped from the rebel army and was trying to get to the Union lines and had reached his neighborhood - part of them barefooted and in great need of assistance. I recollect that the claimant and Clingan were two of the men that agreed to purchase a pair of shoes for two of these men. For Clingan represented to us that three men had torn their shirts to tie up their bare feet in order to get this far. Shoes at that time about worth ten dollars a pair in Confederate money or three dollars in Tennessee money for common Brogan shoes.

After the shoes had been purchased, other men contributed to purchase socks for these conscripts. I recollect that claimant was active in purchasing these shoes and supplies.

My recollection is that the shoes and socks were handed over to Clingan in my office. I think this was in the summer of 1862.

The claimant was a quiet but bold man and could manage the purchases of such things as such conscript and Union men needed and he managed many of the money matters.

The Union men who met at my office was not bound together by any formal oaths but they were bound together by a private and faithful understanding to be true to each other and to secrecy, and to the government of the United States.

The following are a portion of the men that constantly met with us – John McPherson, A.A. Clingan, James H. Norman, William Cate, G.B. Thompson, (Ake.?) Henry, George (L.?) Parker, A.J. Cate, Felix Hirheart, John C. Gaut, Jesse H. Gaut, S.P. Gaut, Levi Tewhitt, William (Hewitt?), Samuel Hunt, Dr. John G. Brown, J.S. Robertson, Dr. Armstong McNabb and many others too numerous to mention.

Question by Claimant – Do you ever recollect meeting with Justus Campbell Steed, Leonard Carrouth or John F. Larrison in any of these meetings.

Answer - I do not, but yet outside of this I regarded Steed and Larrison as Union men.

And further this deposer saith not.

Joseph H. Davis
before, John W. Ramsey - Special Commissioner




Deposition of Leonard Carrouth

Who in answer to the questions deposes and says, my name is Leonard Carrouth age 53, residence Riceville Tennessee, deposition was taken by Col. James B. Brownlow. I have known the claimant since the summer of ‘64. I first met him at Mr. J.C. Steed’s perhaps in December 1863, it was after the Mission Ridge Battle. I moved to my place near claimant about December 10, 1864.

Question by claimant - Did you ever talk about my losses?

Answer - I recollect seeing the claimant hinting some of his hogs that had been taken, or he said had been taken, by the (Hogback?) or 5th Mounted Tennessee Infantry.

Question by claimant - Did the rebels speak of me as a rebel?

Answer - I heard James N. Cowan speak of the claimant as a rebel neighbor and said Mr. Cate blowed hot and cold. Mr. J.C. Steed who was a Union man spoke of the claimant as a rebel. I do not recollect now hearing any other person.

Question by claimant - Do you recollect how I managed to save my sick wheat from the rebels?

Answer - I never heard you say anything about that.

Question - If you know of my saving my wheat from the federals state what you know about it.

Answer - I understood him to say that some soldiers came after his wheat, perhaps a few days before that I understood they had got some sick over towards Candy’s Creek and had it ground and it made them sick. And when the soldiers came with an officer after his wheat and he told them it was sick wheat and that his hogs would not eat it and if it would do them any good they could take it. And they said if it was sick wheat they did not want it.

I don’t know whether it was wheat or flour that was sick that they got. I don’t know what mill it was ground at. I only know that it made them sick.

I don’t know what command got the wheat. All the information I got about the sick wheat I got from the claimant himself and I understood it was federal troops got it.

Question - Do you know about any other mills making flour but the Cleveland mills?

Answer - I understood that Johnsons & Triplets mill made flour. Don’t know whether these mills ever ground any for either army.

Question - Where did you come from when you came to the county?

Answer - I came from Murray county, Georgia.

Question - Was Murray county Union or Rebel?

Answer - It was Union, at the start but became strong rebel towards the last, or after the state seceded. My own District was a rebel District strong.

And further this deposent saith not.

Leonard Carruth
before, John W. Ramsey - Special Commissioner





Deposition of Captain A.E. Blount

who in answer to the question deposes and says my name is Ainsworth E. Blount, aged 41 years. I am a farmer and Postmaster at Cleveland, Tennessee.

From a statistical report which I kept for the year 1874 from the best sources of information I could obtain for Bradley county Tennessee I find that the average of William Cate’s wheat crop was about eleven bushels per acre. That the average of his oat crop is about thirty six bushels per acre. The said Cate reported 25 acres of hay cut at the time of the report averaging a ton an acre.

The average crop of the year 1874 fell off 20/100 from the crop of 1857. The fall sowing of oats last year was nearly up to the average crop in Bradley. A ton and a half is about an average crop of hay for Bradley County Tennessee. But last year the hay crop was about one-third short.

The claimants farm is an average, or over average creek valley farm for Bradley county, Tenn.

Question by claimant - Did you not hear me say at my own house that I had lost as much or more of farm products than any farmer in this county?

Answer - My best recollection is that I did hear claimant say something of that kind in August or September 1864.

Question - Did you not introduce me to various officers after the war as a staunch Union man of Bradley county?

Answer - I think I did.

Question - Did John Steed tell you that I had told him that I had never lost anything by either army.

Answer - He did.

Question - Did Campbell Steed ever tell you that I told him that I never lost anything by either army?

Answer - He did.

Question - Did Leonard Carrouth ever tell you that I told him that I never lost anything by either army?

Answer - He did

Question - At what time did my associations with disloyal men begin?

Answer - About 1868.

Question - Who were these disloyal associates?

Answer - I only noticed that William Cate had changed his associations, but I don’t recollect any particularly except C.L. Hardwick.

Question - Have you known of any disloyal acts by the rebels or anybody else about Cleveland since 1868.

Answer - I cannot mention any at present.

Question - Did you see me assisting to raise a Union flag on a tall pole in Cleveland in the spring of 1861.

Answer - I believe I did.

A.E. Blount
before, John W. Ramsey - Special Commissioner




Deposition of John A. Steed

I am John A. Steed, aged 28 years. I am a druggist and reside in Cleveland but during the war lived on an adjoining farm to the claimant. I have no interest in his claim.

I remember that the claimant had a large quantity of hay in a large field that ran up to a few rods of father’s yard and this hay for 1862 was fed out by the rebels. In the year after the rebels fed out these ricks of hay the claimant had two large ricks in this same field near the same place.

During the year 1864 I saw a considerable number of government mules pasturing on the claimant’s lands.

Question by the Claimant - Did you ever tell Captain A.E. Blount that I told you that I never lost anything by either army during the war?

Answer - I never did.

Question - Did you ever hear that just after a skirmish at Cleveland about some federal soldiers being hid at William Cate’s straw stack.

Answer - I did hear about it, about the time of the skirmish and my father J.C. Steed, John Campbell and Gus Cate, son of the claimant, went across the Hiawassee River for protection from the rebels.

I recall seeing General Sherman’s men driving off the claimant’s flock of sheep about Christmas 1863. There was a considerable flock but I don’t know the number.

James A. Steed
before, John W. Ramsey - Special Commissioner



Deposition of J.F. Larrison

My name is John F. Larrison, aged 66 years, a farmer, reside about 3 1/2 miles from Cleveland.

I have been acquainted with the claimant and have been about 23 years our farms come together and we live about one mile and a quarter apart and I am well acquainted with claimants farm. It is one of the first valley farms of the county.

I think I was in the claimant’s hayfields in the summer of 1863 when he was cutting his hay.

It was good hay for this county. It was a mixture of clover and timothy but I don’t know what an acre will yield of good hay. I recollect that the claimant had two large ricks of hay and I noticed that these two large ricks or stacks of hay were still there after the rebels left these parts and after the federals came into this county.

I don’t recollect seeing any horses in claimant’s field during the year 1864. But there might have been but I paid no attention to it.

Question by claimant - Do you know anything about the rebels getting my hay in 1862?

Answer - I understood that the claimant’s hay was taken in 1862 but understood the claimant got pay for it. And I saw the rebel cattle in the claimant’s fields in the winter of 1862-3.

Question - Do you know anything about the rebels taking my cattle in September 1863?

Answer - I learned both from the claimant and J.C. Steed that the rebels had taken, just before the rebels left this county, this cattle.

Question - Do you know anything about my son Gus or James Campbell bringing some their federal soldiers to your house who had escaped from a battle or skirmish at Cleveland, to my house?

Answer - I recollect that Gus Cate and James Campbell brought some their soldiers to my house about the night after the skirmish at Cleveland. But I don’t recollect where these soldiers had been concealed during the day except I heard Gus say he found one of them in a brush heap. I went with Gus Cate and James Campbell and took these soldiers to John Cobb’s.

Gus and James came back with me to my house and stayed all night and till after breakfast next morning. I don’t recollect the names of any of these soldiers.

Question - Do you know anything about Union men trying to get to the federal lines and about them sometimes lying out days before they could get across?

Answer - I do know about Union men lying out and trying to get across the lines. I often found them and took them to my house and fed them and sometimes conveyed them further on their way. But I don’t recollect the names of any of them who were strangers. In fact I did not want to know their names - to avoid being questioned.

Question - Were not some of these conscripts that had deserted the rebel army in a destitute condition?

Answer - Some of them were a very destitute condition. I gave one a pair of pants and a vest.

Question - Did you consider me loyal or disloyal during the war?

Answer - When he was with me he claimed to be Union man, but I heard other Union men doubt it, such as Leonard Carrouth and J.C. Steed. And have heard these men and others say that he made money by the war.

Question - Do you know of the rebels furnishing protection papers to any person in this country or any safequards?

Answer - I do not of my own knowledge. I have heard Carrouth and Steed say that claimant had got protection.

Question - Did you ever tell Captain A.E. Blount that I said I had not lost anything by the war?

Answer - I don’t recollect but my impression is that claimant had that chat with me.

Question - Did you not tell Colonel James B. Brownlow that I had always said that I lost nothing by either army?

Answer - I think the claimant said he had not lost anything by either army.

Question - Did you tell Col. James B. Brownlow that I was deeply in debt at the commencement of the war?

Answer - My understanding was that he was in debt at the beginning of the war and that he had money at the end of the war. But I did not know of my own knowledge that he owed anything. What I stated was from the talk of other people such as Norman, Steed and Carrouth. The whole neighborhood said he made money by the war.

Question - Did not claimant make money by the products of his farm and from the stock he raised? And what he bought and sold?

Answer - He made money by the products of his farm and from the stocks he raised and bought and sold. Stock at that time could be bought cheap such as had been picked up by soldiers and was then sold to citizens at a cheap rate.

But I don’t know anything of his trading for stock except what I heard from others. But I frequently saw stock in his possession. Steed and myself wondered how we lost all, and he did not lose more than he did.

Question - Did you not file a claim before the Tennessee commissioners appointed by the Governor under the state law?

Answer - I did.

Question - Was J.C. Steed one of your loyal witnesses in that case?

Answer - He was.

Question - Did not Steed say that you were loyal during the war but became disloyal by voting for Seuter in the Seuter/Stokes election for Governor of the state of Tennessee?

Answer - Steed said that I was as loyal a man as was in the United States during the war and after the war up to the Stokes and Seuter election, but that I became disloyal by voting for Seuter in that election. This election was in August 1868.

Question - Have you not heard Captain A.E. Blount say that he thought more of a rebel, than of a Union man that voted for Seuter.

Answer - My best recollection is that I have.

Question - Did you ever visit me in my (?) in 1869.

Answer - I don’t recollect.

Question - Have you visited me since the spring of 1861? except on business?

Answer - I can’t recollect that I have except on business or any of the rest of the (?).

Question - Did we not have a difficulty in 1861?

Answer - We had a difficulty about a nag and then about a road about the year of 1859 - and were not friendly, but during the war we were friendly and have been so since.

J.F. Larrison
before, John W. Ramsey - Special Commissioner



Deposition of Mrs. Sidney Henderson

Aged 69, reside in Cleveland Tennessee and am the widow of John Henderson deceased.

I recollect that in the spring of 1864 while the federals were camped at Cleveland and General McPherson and others were camped at my house in Cleveland that the claimant came to my house to see a Quartermaster who was through and had a talk with the Quarter Master about hay and straw that the troops had taken from him. I recollect that I was present and heard their conversation and heard the Quartermaster talk of giving a voucher to claimant if he could ascertain how much command had got but the Quartermaster said the Quartermaster Regulations he did not think authorized his giving a voucher for the straw.

I knew Mr. Cate as a Union man, and I interceded for him and told the Quartermaster that I hoped he would do something for him as he had lost so much. I don’t recollect the amount but it was a large amount of each that was claimed for.

I know that the army that was here was obliged to forage on the country because supplies were cut off at the time. I recollect that the claimant did not get any voucher at that time.

I also recollect that in the fall of 1864 I saw large quantities of hay hauled from the direction of the claimant’s farm and upon inquiry found that it came from Mr. William Cate’s farm.

Question by claimant - How long did Captain A.E. Blount board at your house?

Answer - He boarded there about fifteen months.

Question - Did you ever hear Captain A.E. Blount speak of me as a Union man?

Answer - I heard him often talk about you and your family. Your family was a favorite one with him and he often spoke of you as one of the strong Union men of the county.

Question - Was there any rebel raids made to Cleveland after Captain A.E. Blount came back to board with you?

Answer - I recollect that sometime before Christmas 1864 while Mr. Blount was at my house after my husbands death; Captain Blount was down in town and he came running to my house and told me that I would have to take care of myself for that if the rebels caught him they would hang him. I told him to take care of himself. He said he would go out to Uncle (Bill?) Cate’s the claimants - as the safest place he knew of, and he left in a hurry.

The next morning the claimant came to town and past my house to see what was going on and finding that the rebels were not in town he went back home and in the evening Captain Blount back to my house.

Question - Do you recollect that Captain A.E. Blount got me to come in and eat dinner with some Union officers in the spring of 1865 and the conversation that took place on that occasion?

Answer - I recollect Captain Blount bringing in the claimant to dinner and introducing him to the Union officers as one of the staunch Union men of this county. I recollect that at that dinner a conversation took place about how the claimant fooled the rebels about the sick wheat.

Question - Whose family did Capt. Blount primarily associate with after he came back to your house to board at the close of the war and after he was married?

Answer - The claimant’s family was the only family Capt. Blount visited after he came back. In a few days after he married and brought his wife home to my house he took his wife out to the claimant’s house on a visit to spend the day and he and his wife visited the claimants several times before he left my house and moved home.

Question - Do you know anything of Capt. Blounts’ making a dinner after he moved to his own house and inviting myself and family?

Answer - I recollect that Capt. Blount made a dinner and invited the claimant and his family to the dinner and nobody else. I felt a little hurt after he had boarded so long with me because he did not invite me. I never knew Capt. Blount to ask anybody else to dinner except the claimant and his family unless it was the Honorable Horace Maynard.

Question - Do you recollect anything of Union barbecue in the fall of 1865 at Colonel Beard’s for the returned Union soldiers and what did he do?

Answer - I recollect that I let him have my carriage to go to this barbecue and he only took himself and wife to the barbecue and that when the dinner came on he took his dinner and instead of putting it on the public tables he went round behind the carriages and to eat it all alone with his wife.

her mark, Sidney Henderson

note by John W. Ramsey - Special Commissioner
This witness is so nervous that she would not try to write her name though a lady of intelligence.




Deposition of Colonel D.M. Nelson

My name is David M. Nelson, aged 30 years, residence Cleveland Tennessee. I am not related to the claimant and have no interest in the claim.

I was a Captain and (?) Lt. Col. on the staff of Alvin C. Gillain in the Federal army. I was Elector for (General?) Grant in 1868, and was by him appointed Assessor of the Second District, and was the nominee of the 3rd Congressional District of the Republican Party last year.

I was not acquainted with the claimant during the war but I heard him frequently spoken of, by men that were in the federal army, and who never questioned his loyalty, and I never heard his loyalty questioned till this contest about it got up. And I have associated with him and those that have known him well over since the war. I am a native Tennessean and was arrested July 1861 and kept eleven months in prison.

When I was Clerk of the Senate of the State of Tennessee and had some experience in the collection of government claims, Mr Cate the claimant, if I recollect right in 1867 came to me with a claim against the government and asked my opinion in regard to its collection.

I stated to him that the account ought to be graded. That some items charged in the account were too high while others were to low according to the government prices at the time of the taking of the property. But thought when properly graded he would have no trouble in its collection under the new acts of congress in regard to Southern Claims.

If I recollect right, I adjusted the prices as best I could to the prices that I understood they were allowing as I had been acquainted with government prices during the war.

I recollect that I talked to Dr. G.B. Thompson about the claim of the said William Cate, and that he told me that he had been out to Mr. Cate’s house and saw the federal soldiers taking his property. And I know that Dr. Thompson did not doubt his loyalty.

D.M. Nelson
before, John W. Ramsey -Special Commissioner

Continued Testimony-page 2