Deposition of James S. Robertson

Age 45 years, residence Cleveland Tennessee and have been examined once before in this case. I have been acquainted with the claimant William Cate ever since he came to this county.

Question by the claimant - What do you know if anything about Joseph H. Davisís office being a place of the meeting of Union men?

Answer - It was a place for the meeting of Union men and continued to be so till the rebel commander threatened to fire into it if it did not cease. After that it was more clandestine. I often met the claimant at that place.

Question - State what you know about deserters from the rebel army lying in the ridges near Candyís Creek and not far from my house during the war.

Answer - I know of a number of squads of conscripts lying out in the ridges between the claimants and Candyís Creek and supported by the neighbors and by contributions from Union men about Cleveland.

These conscript deserters were often reported to be in distressed condition. I contributed two or three times to the claimant or Mr. Norman to aid these distressed deserters. I recollect at one time the claimant and Norman were together when I contributed. These men often had to remain several days before they could get a pilot to lead them through to Kentucky. No Union man about Cleveland ever doubted the convictions of these statements for we all knew the men that brought the reports were true Union men.

I knew a number of home Union men who went to those ridges and layed out for some time before they could get across the river and get pilots to carry them across the mountains. I sent several of them to the ridges myself. But these home Union men did not often need help and for certain reasons, those of the Union men that aided others did not want to know their names. We could not be implicated so easily by the rebels when we knew no names.

Question - Do you know anything about the intimacy between me and Capt. A.E. Blount after his return to Cleveland about the close of the war.

Answer - I know that you were for years after his return very intimate and associated much together while the Captain would hardly speak to a man that he considered a rebel. I noticed that this intimacy ceased about the time that Blount became Post Master.

Question - State what you know about introducing me to the 1st Federal Commissary at Cleveland when the federal army first got possession of Cleveland and how it was stated I had saved my wheat from the rebels.

Answer - I introduced the claimant to the Head Commissary whose name I have now forgotten. The claimant had a large quantity of wheat to sell. This was about Jan. or February 1864 and was the wheat crop of 1863.

The Commissary seemed surprised that a man should have saved so much wheat. I donít recollect the quantity, but there was several hundred bushels of it.

And the claimant told him in my presence how he had saved it from the rebels.

Question - What do you know about the rebels running the Cleveland mills and pressing the wheat of the neighbors and what do you know about the grinding of sick wheat at the mills and whether the Federal ever ran the mill.

Answer - I was engaged as one of the hands in the mill when the rebels pressed the mill and brought in wheat from all around this section of the country. But whether the rebels pressed the wheat or not, I do not know. But there was some sick wheat in the neighborhood. Some of this sick wheat was in the mill and when the rebel officers ordered us to grind it we told them it was sick wheat. But we were ordered to grind it and we did grind it and it made all who ate the flour sick. After this we were arrested by the rebel commander and forced to prove that we ground it by their orders after notifying the officers that it was sick wheat. We were then released.

This experience made both us millers and the rebels very fearful of sick wheat.

The Federal forces after they got possession of Cleveland never pressed the Cleveland mills nor did any grinding at them; nor to my knowledge do any grinding at any mill in the neighborhood of Cleveland.

I never knew of the federal troops getting any sick wheat or flour in this part of the country and my opportunities was good for knowing these matters. I was at Cleveland all the time of the federals got possession.

I recollect that the Commissary told claimant that he could not use the wheat but would take the flour if claimant could get the wheat ground into flour.

Question - Do you know anything about a subscription for the purpose of a Union barbecue in the fall of 1865 and about the amounts subscribed by different persons.

Answer - I recollect the barbecue in the fall of 1865 and that the claimant was appointed an agent to raise money to get provisions for this district. The barbecue was for the returned Union soldiers.

When looking at the subscription paper, I see that my subscription is right, and my best recollection is that this paper is the list of subscription that was in the claimants hands.

I recollect that when I paid my subscription that something was said about Capt. Blountís subscription of fifty cents. I also recollect claimants subscription and John C. Gauts, P.M. Craigmiles and J.H. Gautís was the largest.

Question - Do you know anything about Capt. William L. Brown being the Confederate Tax Collector for Bradley County, Tennessee for the year 1862? If so, look at the tax receipt attached to my deposition and state if you can identify Capt. W.L. Brownís handwriting.

Answer - I know that Capt. W.L. Brown was Confederate Tax Collector for 1862.

And to the best of my recollection, the attached receipt is in the handwriting of Capt. Brown, with which I was well acquainted.

Question - State what you know about a petition got up by the Union men of Cleveland to try to get certain Union men prisoners at Tuscaloosa Alabama out of prison and what part I took in it.

Answer - I know there was such a petition but if I ever knew the particulars, I have forgotten them.

Signed,
J.S. Robertson
before, John W. Ramsey - Spec. Comm.

 

 

Deposition of John H. Craigmiles

Age 48 years. I am a banker residing at Cleveland Tennessee. I am not related to the claimant and have no interest in his claim. I have known the claimant for 18 years and was acquainted with his reputation for loyalty.

And it was that he was always loyal to the cause of the United States. I never heard his loyalty doubted till the last few weeks, since Colonel Brownlow was here.

Question by the claimant - Were you the owner of the Cleveland mills? Did you grind any sick wheat for the Confederates? Did you grind any for the federals?

Answer - I was the owner of the mills. I had some damaged wheat that had been damaged in the shack and had the effect of sick wheat. I had it in the mill and I was ordered to grind it by General Forest. I told him it was sick and would not do to eat. But Forest ordered me to grind it or he would take charge of the mill and have it ground.

I had it ground. It made them sick. I was then arrested by General Dibbrel with some of my millers but General Forest came and admitted that he had ordered it ground and had us discharged.

The Federals never had any grinding done at the Cleveland mills. And I never head any complaint of sick wheat from the federals.

I could not grind after the army of Sherman passed here for they cut up my boults and elevators so I could not grind till I replaced them; which I did not do till the war was over.

signed,
J.H. Cragimiles
before, John W. Ramsey - Spec. Comm.

 

Deposition of John H. Parker

Age 36 years. I am the teller of the Cleveland National Bank. I reside at Cleveland and am not related to the claimant and have no interest in his claim.

I have been acquainted with the claimant about 20 years; having lived in Cleveland all the time while claimant lived 2 1/2 miles from town. I was in the same Regiment with the claimantís son Henry who was in the rebel army and I recollect that Henry was never stationed at Cleveland but we first went to Knoxville then to Cumberland Gap, then to Savannah Georgia, then back to Knoxville where we were disbanded. But his son, being an officer, the rebels held him and transferred him to the Paymasters department at Knoxville and from that point he was transferred to Montgomery and had charge of the transportation at that point and was not about the house till the surrender. And he could not have been much protection to his father - the claimant, who I knew to be a Union man and was opposed to his son going into the rebel service.

Question by claimant - Are you acquainted with the (?) standing of Capt. A.E. Blount and Leonard Carrouth. And would these papers be good in Bank?

Answer - My understanding is that they are both involved and this paper would not be very desirable.

signed,
John H. Parker
before, John W. Ramsey - Spec. Comm.

 

 

Deposition of John McReynolds

Ate 62 years. I am a farmer and miller and reside about four miles from Cleveland and two miles form the claimant. I am not related to the claimant and have no interest in his claim.

I have been intimately acquainted with the claimant nearly fifty years; knew his farm from schoolboy days. Our farms lie on Mouse Creek, in Mouse Creek valley, and I am well acquainted with his farm. His farm is an excellent farm, good for wheat, grass and corn.

I have examined the claimantís account. The Bacon is certainly reasonable for his farming.

The flour could not have been made for less than 6 cents a pound. The corn was cheap at a dollar a bushel. The hay is cheap enough at one dollar per hundred pounds.

The wheat straw was cheap at that time at five dollar a ton.

The pork was cheap at that time at ten cents per pound.

The wheat crop of 1864 was not a first rate wheat crop. And I think that the claimantís land even that poor year would have averaged eight bushel per acre. It is as good a field for wheat or corn as is in this county. I know that the claimant had good hay in 1864 and that I made two tons per acre that year on similar land.

Prices may look high but it took about two dollars in Greenback to purchase one in gold.

The claimant is considered a good farmer and has a choice farm.

Question by the claimant - Could not a hungry army have foraged something like two thousand or at least seventeen hundred dollars worth of farm products from me during the years 1862, 1863 and 1864.

Answer - I think they could and especially the way prices were at that time.

Question - Did you know me to be in debt or enthrolled at the beginning of the war?

Answer - If claimant was enthrolled in any way, I did not know it.

Question - Do you know anything unkind or ill feelings between me and Mr. J.F. Larrison?

Answer - I recollect that there were bad feelings between them about a mare before the war. And I recollect another cause of difficulty about where a road should run. This took place about the year 1861.

Question - What do you know about his feelings after this, and what did Larrison say about claimantís losses.

Answer - When I heard him talk about the claimant he spoke of him as about as big a rebel as any of them, but declared he had been smart, and lost nothing by the war, or had managed to save his property.

Question - Do you know anything of a difficulty between J.C. Steed and claimant about the said Steed dogging and injuring a number of fine hogs for claimant?

Answer - I heard these hard feelings existing between them on account of said Steedís people dogging and injuring claimantís hogs. I heard this from several persons. This was about 1864. I was making inquiry, because I had several hogs that had strayed off and fences had been torn down by the armies till they were (?).

Some persons told me that they had killed some and badly abused other.

Question - Do you know anything about my loyalty?

Answer - I was a Union man in the early part of the war. And so was the claimant. And if ever the claimant was anything but a Union man, I never found it out. I know he was a Union man in the early part of the war, and I never had any reason to believe he had changed from anything I ever heard from him.

signed,
John McReynolds
before, John W. Ramsey - Spec. Comm.

 

Deposition of John. W. Witcher

Aged 43, residence Cleveland Tennessee. I have been for years engaged as a clerk in Cleveland. I am not related to the claimant and have no interest in his claim.

I have known the claimant about twenty years, though not very intimately. I have been intimately acquainted with him since I came out of the Federal army at the close of the war.

Question by claimant - Did you kow Leonard Carrouth before he came from Murray County, Georgia to Bradley County, Tennessee and if you had any conversation at anytime about my being a strong Union man?

Answer - I had a slight acquaintance with Carrouth before he came to Bradley county, but was not intimate with him but after I came from the army. I went to clerk for the house of W.S. Montgomery and Company in Cleveland. Carrouth did most of his trading at that house and I have been on intimate terms with him ever since. At one time I ran for County Trustee of Bradley County, Tennessee on the Republican ticket, and as I was well acquainted with Carrouth and on very intimate terms. I was talking with Carrouth and I asked him about how the claimant stood. Carrouth told me that the claimant was a strong Union man and a Republican and if not pledged to the opposite candidate who was also a Republican, he was satisfied claimant would vote for me. This was prior to the election in August (ten?) years ago.

From what Carrouth said in that conversation as well as from what I had heard before, I was satisfied that he then regarded claimant as a Union and loyal man.

Question - State what you know about my loyalty.

Answer - Both from what I have seen and heard myself and from what I have heard from other Union men, I always regarded the claimant as a Union man. In fact, I never heard his loyalty questioned by Union man or rebel.

Question - What do you know about the intimacy between myself and Capt. A.E. Blount for some years after the war was over.

Answer - I know claimant and Capt. Blount were on very intimate terms after I came back from the army till about the time Capt. Blount was appointed Post Master at Cleveland in the spring of 1869.

signed,
John. W. Witcher
before, John W. Ramsey - Spec. Comm.


Summary of all Evidence For and Against Cate's Loyalty