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  • The Deposing of Witnesses in James C. Epps vs Hugh M. Epps & others

    The following deposition was taken at the office of the Clerk & Mater of the Chancery Court at Fayetteville upon notice on this the 29th day of Aril 1871 to be used as evidence in taking a stating the account ordered in this cause. These original records are hand written and difficult to read. Buck Epps did not correct the quaint spelling and punctuations or capitalizations of the original. In some places it was impossible to read the documents.

    T. M. Blakemore being first called and sworn according to Law deposing says,
    I expect I am acquainted with the parties of this suit. I am acquainted with the land in the following mentioned. I have done some work on the place. I worked outdoor fences and shelters. The value of the work was $300 I think. The repairing of the house was $300.70 according to my recollection which amount includes the $300 for work done on ? before mentioned. I think I know the condition of the place at the end of the war. The place was in bad repair. The improvements are permanent and enhance the value of the place.
    Cross Examiner
    Before the improvements were placed on the place I was acquainted with the condition of the place passed it several times and went through the place. The work done on the place was necessary work.
    And further the depossent saith not. Signature of T. M. Blakemore’s
    claims 1 day and 22 miles

    E. T. Thomas being next called and sworn according to Law deposed says,
    I am acquainted with the land belonging to Lawrence Epps deceased. I am not a carpenter. I commenced the work done on the place and Mr Blakemore valued it. A farmer is not a proper person to value a carpenters work, the work was not done by a regular carpenter and I suppose the valuation put on it by Mr. Blakemore was about correct. Mr Blakemore is a regular carpenter. My place faces the Epps place. At the end of the war the plantation was out on the (commons?) I mean by that the house was not in any condition to live in—In 1865 and 1867 & 1869 it was worth about 2 cents per rail to make them and put them up or $2.00 per hundred— at present the place is in only tolerably good condition— There is a creek running through the place. It is necessary that this should be water gated on the place— Any ordinary price for water gates that will stand the flood on that branch reasonably worth $5.00— I think it might be worth about $200 per hundred panels for tearing down and resetting the fence on the place— The value of the place has been enhanced by the improvements placed on it since the war. The value of the land is enhanced on the account of the value of the improvements.
    Cross Examined
    Mr. J. C. Epps took possession of the place as administrator in the Fall of 1861 and H. M. Epps bid it at $2.00 per acre— If he rented it out publicly any more I never knew it— I think he took possession of it himself in1865 and commence repairing it— there was a man by the name of Mullins on the place in 1864 but I do not know who put him there. He was there only for a short time. J. C. Epps took possession himself in the spring of 1865 and has had possession ever since. I think the place would have been reasonably worth for the year 1865; $90.00 and also for each year to the present time since 1865. That is ninety dollars per year— Lawrence Epps died about 20th day of June 1861— J. C. Epps had a part of the farm in wheat that year, 1861, and had a part in corn. I don’t know what disposition was made of the suits that year. I was present at the sale of the personal property belonging to the estate of Lawrence Epps by his administrator. There were none of the products of the farm sold at the sale. House hold and kitchen furniture and stock hogs were sold at that sale and one cow. I saw J. C. Epps have a note in his accounts payables to Margaret Cummins executed by Lawrence Epps deceased and also saw him tear the name off and throw the note (can’t read the whole next line) …. what he was doing, he then picked up the note and put it in his pocket book. Said note was for the sum of $100.00 or about that. I don’t know how J. C. Epps came in possession of the note.
    Re Examined
    Mr. Hugh M Epps was a prisoner in 1863 but his family was (whole line unreadable) … Mr. Epps was cultivating a portion of the place in grass—I don’t think I can state what each of the parties had in cultivation. I think Mr. James N. Epps had in about 12 or 15 acres. In the year 1863 the place was cultivated and the wheat crop was good but the corn crop was lost on a great portion of it for want of a fence—Taking into consideration (whole line unreadable) … Hugh M. Epps was called away—I think that half rent that is $45.00 would be sufficient rent for the place for the year 1863. (Note by Lawrence Ward Epps the transcriber in July 2007 of this document: The previous statement “was called away’ indicates Hugh joined the war. Records show he was a Private in 1st Tenn Cavalry. This is why E. T. Thomas said he should only be charged for half a years rent. Mr. Thomas is also correct when he mentions Hugh “was a prisoner in 1863”. Military records say he was captured at Lincoln Co. May 23, 1863.)
    It was always my understanding that the wagon in which Margaret Cummins moved away in was a partnership wagon belonging to Thos Cummins and Lawrence Epps. I think I have heard told Thos Cumming and Lawrence Epps say that the wagon was partnership wagon—I don’t know anything about Mrs. Cummins giving up the note for her husbands part of the wagon—Where Mrs. Cummins ?? ?? she sold the wagon and appropriated the fund for her own use—My recollection is that Lawrence Epps bought the harnesses from Stephen Flynt for which he was to pay every Dollar.
    Re Cross Examined
    { A few days before Thos J. Cummins left for Arkansas he said to me that he would let Lawrence Epps have all the crop on the East side of the road and he reckon that that would make them about even. There was no one present but myself and Thos Cummins.}
    The above in brackets objected to by Counsel for Complainant for in competency and irrelevancy.
    Bright & Bright
    {Re Examined by Plaintiff}
    Lawrence Epps got the benefit of the crop on the East side of the road his stock eat it that is he fed it to them. There was about 12 acres of the crop on the East Side of the road.
    {Re Cross Examined by Default}
    I know that Margaret Cummins waited on for several years her mother like a child after she was parelized but I don’t know whether there was any stipulated recompense or not
    And further Depossent saith not – signature of E. T. Thomas
    Claims 1 Day
    James Epps being next called and sworn according to law deposing says-
    I am acquainted with the parties to this suit. I have examined the paper Marked Exhibit “A” and made a part of this my deposition-
    I saw aunt Jany, Mrs. Cummins give the note to father Mr. J. C. Epps in the yard at my grand fathers Lawrence Epps and Mrs Cummins said when she gives? it up “here it is it has always been a grudge ever since I had it”- she did not say any thing about its being paid or anything about- It was the evening before she started to Arkansas. I heard my grand father say that he was not going let the wagon go until he got pay for his part- I don’t recollect that I heard him say anything about the note-
    Cross Examined
    I was not at Petersburg in stead of at my grand fathers that the note was given up. I even told Mr. Hugh Epps that the note was given up
    Re Examined
    I don’t recollect of ever having any conversation with Mrs. Hugh Epps about the note
    And further Depossent saith not- signature of James Epps
    Don’t claim

    James C. Epps being next called and sworn according to Law deposing say-
    I am the Complainant in this cause. I know nothing about what the note was given for or what it was … ? to except from the face of the note. {I went over to help them Mrs. Cummins to start off to Arkansas and my father said that he was not going to let the wagon go until he got pay for his part of it and my sister come to me and asked me to go and see father and see if he would let the wagon go if she would give up the $100.00 note, and her father said” if she would give up the note to let the wagon go for they would go any how”}
    The above in bracket objected to by Counsil or Defendant for incompetency & irrelevancy & for being the declaration of the dead
    And I went and told her what father said and she went and got her pocket book and give up the note and I torn off the name as Mr. Thomas said in his Deposition. {After this had taken place father said that he was in the notion of giving her Some mothers bed, that there would be one for me and Hugh left and did so telling her to take bed clothes for it but to leave him sufficient bed clothes to keep him comfortable. This was all that occurred at that time}
    The above in brackets objected to by Defendants Counsil for incompetency irrelevancy and because it is the declaration of the Deceased-
    In 1862 when I rented the place to my brother Hugh there was a pretty good fence around it-
    In ..can’t read several words ….rents for that year. The rents were worth $120.00. he bid the sum off
    $2.00 per acre, there being 60 acres- his family has it in 1863 and was worth ninety Dollars- {When Hugh M Epps got the place there was a good fence around the place and when I got the place in 1865 I had to put one hundred and twelve new panels of fence and all the old rails I could get on it. There being no fence between Thomas – which joined the place.}
    The above in brackets objected to by Defendants Counsil for incompetency & irrelevancy- the question of damages not being a matter in controversy.
    I don’t know how the rails were destroyed. I then? Will file a paper marked Exhibit “A” to this my Deposition and made a part of the same, said paper settling the refinancing and value thereof done on the place- and at the times made- In 1864 I received no rent for the place. Since
    the close of the war I think rent of the place up to the present time is worth about $90 per year.
    The amount of asset which came into my hand as administrator amounted to about $80. I hae exhausted all the assets of the Estate in paying the debts.
    The estate is indebted in the following amounts. Saml Talley holds one claim against the Estate for $12.00 or $13.00. There is also the balance of about $25.00 to $30.00 an Execution against father and my brother Gilbert Epps holds a note against the Estate of $100.00. I hold a claim against the Estate of $144-my claim is for money advanced in redeeming the land. As mentioned in the Bill John Lee’s claim for about $15.00 and Harris McKinsay’s claim for $13.00. Reference is …can’t read several words…the Bill filed in this cause. Mrs Cummings is also setting up claim for one hundred Dollars against the Estate and Hugh M. Epps is also setting up claim against the Estate $147.00 money loaned the deceased which several amounts constitute the indebtedness of the Estate.
    I will take some of the funds arising from the sale of the land to pay off the indebtedness of the Estate. The land is not susceptible to an advantageous division among the heirs—After selling a sufficient amount of the land to pay off indebtedness of the Estate the number of acres of land being 79 3/4 and the number of heirs seven.
    It is manifestly in the interest of all parties that the land should be sold for payment of debts and for distribution among the parties entitled there to. I have purchased the interest of Margaret Cummins and Wm Epps in the land and have deed for the same and I will file the same Marked Exhibit “B” & “C” respectively to this my Deposition and also file copy of settlement Marked Exhibit “D” to this my Deposition which shows assignment ? for Debts & taxes paid & c
    Cross Examined
    In 1864 I rented part about 15 acres of the place to Manly? Mullins he was to have the place for $2.00 per acre and I was to allow him $1.00 per hundred for rail he would make and put up
    Re Examined
    I never received anything for the place in 1864
    Re Cross Examined
    I remember that there was $30.00 of Hugh M. Epps which my father got and that is all I know about it.
    And further Depossent said I not signature of James C Epps

    Hugh M. Epps witness for the Defendants being next called and sworn according to Law deposing says-
    {I loaned my father some money $82.00 in May 1849, in Nov 1850 $35.00 in Dec 1850 $30.00; the $30.00 is the money spoken of by J. C. Epps}
    The above in brackets objected to by Complainants Counsels for incompetency
    Bright & Son
    And further Deposset saith not- signature of H. M. Epps

    Margaret Cummins witness for Defendants being next called and sworn according to law Deposing says-
    I Know that Hugh M. Epps loaned my father $82.00. Mr. John Ray & myself were called to witness it- John Ray was my first husband—I don’t recall the exact time it was several years before the war—I recollect of his loaning some more money about $30.00 it was after he had loaned the $82.00—When Mrs Hugh M. Epps and myself left the place in 1863 the fencing was in about as good condition as it was when we went there. The fencing was not destroyed while we were there except what was washed away by the creek—None of the fencing was destroyed as I know of after we went away—My father never had give me any nag (horse)and he gave me a note which was due at his death for $100.00 in 1859—I never looked at it particularly and I thought it was given for a horse—He gave me the note several months before I started to Arkansas—The day that I stated I gave the note to my brother J. C. Epps—As we were going on to Arkansas, there was several debts which Mr Cummins was owing we were stopped in Petersburg and my father come to me and told me that I had better sell my interest in the land to my brother J. C. Epps and that he would make a deed (whence)? and Mr. Small and Mr Isom Sorrells valued the land at $20.00 per acre and under the shade bush in front of Dr. Smith’s house I through ignorance gave my brother J. C. Epps the $100.00 note—The note filed as Exhibit “A” to James Epps Deposition is the note that I delivered up to J. C. Epps but at that time I wasn’t aware that it said that was for services rendered J C—Also I did not know until today that it read that way—The note was not given to up to J. C. Epps to pay fathers share in the wagon, nor did my father or any one else say anything to me about the wagon—I never received anything for the note—My father said that I ought to have pay for waiting on him, he never said how much I was to have, but that I had left and neglected my family to wait on him and that I ought to have pay for it, and father said that I should be paid out of The Estate after his death—In the hurry and excitement of moving and selling my interest in the land, I gave up the note thinking that I had no further claim on The Estate—James Epps was present and helped to look for the note for I had to look among the papers for it—When I said I gave up the note through ignorance, it was through ignorance of my rights that I gave it up and not in consideration of my fathers part of the wagon and soon after I left and thought of it, I became satisfied that I had done wrong, And after I came back from Arkansas I demanded the note of J. C. Epps and he refused to give it up.

    Cross Examined
    I don’t know in what year my husband Mr Ray died though it was some time in 1840s, but I don’t recollect the exact date—When the note was delivered up to J C Epps, John G Epps and Amos Small and James Epps were present—The $30.00 of which I have spoken in my Examination in Chief as being loaned by Hugh M Epps to my father was loaned sometimes in the last time of my husband Mr Ray
    And further Depossent saith not- signature of Margaret J Cummin

    The further taking of these depositions is continued by consent of parties to May 5th 1871
    D. W. Clark Clk & M

    Continuation of Depositions 6 Days Later
    Note: Lawrence Epps the first witness below lived at this time near Christiana in Rutherford County Tennessee. He is the great grandfather of the one who is making this transcription on July 6, 2007: Lawrence Ward Epps of Missouri City, Texas.

    The taking of depositions in this cause being resumed according to adjournment on this the 5th day of May 1871-
    Lawrence Epps being called in behalf of Complainant & sworn according to law deposing says—
    Question by Complainant– Were you present at anytime, and did you hear a conversation between Mr. J C Epps & Mrs Margaret Cummins about a $100.00 note which her father had executed—if so state, where that conversation occurred and all that was said?

    Answer: I was present when such a conversation occurred—It was in my Grandfathers yard, the evening before Mrs Cummins started to Arkansas—My aunt Mrs Cummins came to my father, the said J C. Epps, and asked him to see her father, and ask him—That if she would give up the $100.00 note wouldn’t he let the wagon go? Father went and saw Grandfather, came back & told her that he had given his consent—she then went in the house and got the note and gave it to my father—I heard my Grandfather say afterwards, that if Mrs Cummins had not given up the note the wagon should not have gone—
    Cross Examined
    I don’t recollect exactly, when the occurrence above spoken of occurred, but I think it was in 1859. I think it was in the Fall of the year—I did not hear what my grandfather told my father when he went to see him about the note—I had never heard my Grandfather say anything about the note before the time above referenced—My Brother James, Mrs E. T. Thomas and myself were present at the time this conversation occurred between my father and Mrs. Cummins—They were all present I think when Mrs. Cummins gave up the note—
    My father when the note was give to him, tore the name off and put it in his pocket book—He dropped the piece containing the name on it down on the ground—but he did not throw the note down—Mrs. Cummins told my father that he had better keep the name—This was all that was said at the time—I don’t know if brother James heard the conversation between my father & Mrs Cummins or not—They were close enough to have heard it—{I heard them say that Mrs Cummins went through Petersburg when she went to Arkansas but I don’t know that she actually did go through there}
    All in brackets objected to for its relevancy & incompetency and as hearsay
    Bright & Son
    I will be 29 years old the 2nd day of next December—My father had some wheat sowed on My Grandfathers place The year he died—My brother James was living on it also, that year—I was at the sale and present part of the time during the sale by administrator of my Grandfathers property Deceased? I don’t know if my father as Admistrator sold any of the crop raised on the place or not
    And further depossent saith not signature of Lawrence Epps

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    Published on January 25, 2010 · Filed under: James C Epps vs Hugh M Epps et al;
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