Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Eastern Kentucky Civil War Claims

In 1871, the US government established the Southern Claims Commission to address southerners' petitions for compensation of supplies, livestock, and other items taken by the Union troops during the Civil War. These testimonial files include first-person accounts of how civilians survived the war, detailed circumstances regarding loss of property, and accounts of each family's history and loyalty to the Union cause. The information contained in these records may offer rare glimpses into the lives of people otherwise not found in census or church records, tax lists, etc.

In order to receive compensation, claimants had to meet the following requirements:

  • Claimant held United States citizenship
  • Claimant resided in a state that had seceded
  • Claimant could prove his or her loyalty to the United States throughout the Civil War
  • United States troops had taken the claimant's goods for official army purposes

Southern Loyalists (those who were Union sympathizers) from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia qualified to file claims before the Southern Claims Commission (SCC) between 3 March 1871 and 3 March 1873. Congress initially expected the Commission's duties to last for two years, but extended its life until 1879 due to the overwhelming number of claims they received. 22,298 claims for property losses totaling $60,258,150.44 were filed. However, only 7,092 claims (32%) were approved for settlements totaling $4,636,920.69.

Even though Kentucky was not included in the above list, it appears that war claims were filed in the state and in some instances, approved. For Eastern Kentucky, these included the following:

Evan Jones, Floyd Co. KY, for $2,080.50
James Johnson, Carter Co. KY, for $25.15
Phebe Patton, Floyd Co. KY, for $130.00
Nathan Preston, Johnson Co. KY, for $400
John Scott, Pike Co. KY, for $616.40
William Womack, Carter Co. KY, for $112.50
[43d Congress, Second Session, 1875]

Additional Claims Filed
(H. R. 632) for the benefit of Alex. Drake, of Wolfe County, Kentucky ; to the Committee of Claims.
(H. R. 640) for the benefit of Abijah B. Gilbert, of Owsley County, Kentucky ; to the Committee on War Claims.
(H. R. 642) for the relief of Lewis C. Dils, late private Company B, Thirty-ninth Kentucky Volunteers; to the Committee on War Claims.
(H. R. 647) for the benefit of Samuel Beatty, of Lee County, Kentucky; to the Committee on War Claims.
(H. R. 651) for the benefit of Captain Lewis Sowards, of Pike County, Kentucky ; to the Committee on War Claims.
(H. R. 657) for the relief of M. B. Moseley, of Irvine, of the State of Kentucky; to the Committee on War Claims.
[46th Congress, First Session, 1879]

The absence of any regularly established tribunal for the adjudication of claims by Southern Unionists, the dissatisfaction of many claimants with the outcome of their cases, and objections to the act of March 3, 1873, which declared that all claims not presented by that date “shall be deemed barred forever thereafter,” led to the Bowman Act of March 3, 1883 (22 Stat. 485), and the Tucker Act of March 3, 1887 (24 Stat.505). Under the provisions of these acts, Congress could reconsider any of the claims previously disallowed by the Southern Claims Commission and transmit them to the U.S. Court of Claims for review and recommendation. A number of such claims were filed here in Eastern Kentucky.

War Claim of William Large, Lawrence Co. KY

Bowman Act

Samuel May, Floyd Co. KY (H. R. 625, 48th Congress)
The bill provides for payment of $3,000 in settlement for quartermaster and commissary stores taken from him during the war. But the claim as stated in the papers is for the sum of $2,119, $80 of which is for grass taken and receipted for July, 1862.
The balance is for hay, corn, oats, and rails alleged to have been taken by General Burbridge's command during a raid upon Saltville in September and October, 1864, part of which was receipted for and part not. All these claims were presented to the Quartermaster-General for allowance under the act of Congress of July 4, 1864.
Two different agents of the Quartermaster's department investigated the case, reported the taking of the property, but that the claimant was disloyal.
This claim was within the jurisdiction of the Quartermaster's Department under the act of July 4, 1864; was rejected by that Department because of the disloyalty of the claimant. An examination of the evidence leads us to the conclusion that the decision of the department was correct, and that we are not justified in recommending a reopening of the case.

William M. Caskey, Morgan Co. KY (H. R. 25595, 60th Congress; Court of Claims. Congressional, No.13886, Elizabeth A. Caskey, administratrix of the estate of Wm. M. Caskey v. The United States)
Claim: During the late War, to wit, on or about October 28, 1862, the United States military forces took possession of and used and consumed the following property belonging to said William Miles Caskey, in Morgan County, Ky., to wit, potatoes, hogs, corn, fencing, and other property, amounting in value to the sum of $1,448;
Report: The evidence shows to the satisfaction of the court that whatever property of the kind and character described in the petition belonging to claimant's decedent was taken from him by the military forces of the United States during the Civil War for use of the Army has already been paid for.

R. W. Harris (administrator of the estate of John P. Harris), Floyd Co. KY (Congressional Case No. 4517, R. W. Harris, administrator of the estate of John P. Harris v. The United States)
The claimant in his petition made the following allegations:
That claimant's decedent was a citizen of the United States, residing in Prestonsburg, Floyd County, Ky.; that in the fall of 1864 United States forces under Gen. Burbridge took from deceased property of the value of $603 and appropriated the same to the use of the Army; said claim was presented to the Quartermaster General and the Commissary General and disallowed because they were not convinced of the decedent's loyalty. The property claimed for was 500 bushels of corn, 1,000 rails, 8 hogs, and hauling with team 21 days.

Harrison Swango, Wolfe Co. KY (HR. 4514, 49th Congress; H. R. 2351, 50th Congress; QM Claim Nos. 1701, 1703, 2287, 2291)
Harrison Swango, a farmer residing in Wolfe County, Ky., during the late war, filed in the office of the Quartermaster-General, US Army, a claim based on four counts, amounting in the aggregate to the sum of $2,315, for property and stores...and which he claims were taken from him by the United States troops during the late civil war for the actual and necessary use of the Army, and that all of said property and stores were so used. His claim was rejected on the 27th day of February, 1880, on the ground that the Quartermaster-General was unable to certify that he was convinced of the loyalty of claimant.

His claim was proven by the following witnesses in due form of law, viz, Harrison Swango, W. L. Kash, J. C. Swango, and W. F. Little - 6 tons of hay, 100 bushels of corn, 20 cords of dry wood ($165)

Also by claimant and Sarah Ellen Kash and Mariah McLain as to one horse, valued at $125, taken by Capt. Harrison Cockrell while in charge of his company...

Also by the claimant and G. B. Swango and J. C. Swango -18 mules and 1 horse ($1,655)
These items are each proven to have been taken by and used in the service of the US Army; the last named items, 18 mules and 1 horse, were taken by Col. John Dils, while in charge of a portion of his regiment on a raid.

Also, by Sarah Ellen Kash, Darius Brooks, and claimant, as to claim for 200 bushels of corn, valued at 75 cents per bushel, $150, taken and used by Federal soldiers on or about April 1, 1864, by a Michigan regiment commanded by one Colonel Brown.
On the question of claimant's loyalty, seven witnesses testify to the effect that they resided in same neighborhood during the late war from and including 1861 to and including 1866, and that his loyalty was never questioned to their knowledge. [The witness list included Hon. Geo. M. Adams, member of Congress (43rd ) and W. P. Taulbee, member of Congress (50th).] 

The record nowhere bears any intimation of disloyalty on the part of claimant save in a letter of one J. G. Trumbull, agent of the Quartermaster's Department, who states that the claimant was reputed in his neighborhood as being disloyal during the late war. The bill was recommended for passage.

Tucker Act

Emma F. Everman, Carter County, KY (H. R. 7629, 61st Congress; Court of Claims. Congressional Case No. 14468, Emma F. Everman v. The United States)
That during the said war (Civil War; MP), to wit, in or about December, 1863, the United States military forces, consisting of troops belonging to Company K, Fortieth Kentucky Mounted Infantry, in charge of Sergt. John C. Blevins, by proper authority, took from petitioner's premises, at or near Grayson, Carter County, Ky., at least 800 bushels of corn, which was then and there reasonably worth the sum of $800, for which no payment has been made.

Julia F. Yates, Lawrence/Johnson Co. KY (H. R. 7614, 61st Congress; Court of Claims. Congressional Case No. 14565, Julia F. Yates v. The United States)
The claimant, in her petition, makes the following allegations:
1. That she is a citizen of the United States, residing in the county of Lawrence, State of Kentucky, and that during the late Civil War she resided in the county of Johnson, in said state.
2. That during the late Civil War, to wit, in the spring of 1865, the United States military forces, consisting of the Thirty-ninth Kentucky Mounted Infantry, by authority of Col. David Mims and Capt. Thornsberry, of said regiment, took from petitioner, at Paintsville, Johnson County, Ky., one fine young horse of the value of $175 and converted the same to their use; that no payment has ever been made, either in whole or in part, for said property.

List of additional claims

H. R. 2402: For the relief of Andrew Howard, Sr., Magoffin Co. KY, Committee on War Claims

H. B.2429: For the relief of Hibbard Williamson, Committee on War Claims

H. B.2446: For the relief of Mrs. Lucy A. Johns, of Laynesville, KY, Committee on War Claims

[All claims, 53. Congress, First Session, 1893]

John A. Dawson, Montgomery Co. KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 1272 H.rp.110: Jul 28, 1866

William Large, Lawrence Co. KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 3043 H.rp.395: Feb 17, 1892

Elizabeth Layne, Floyd Co. KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 3420 H.doc.145: Jan 15, 1896

Martin S. Johns, Lawrence Co. KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 5156 H.doc.775: Mar 1, 1907

Presbyterian Church, Mt Sterling, KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 5267 S.doc.96: Dec 11, 1907

James M. Hall, Montgomery Co. KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 5376 H.doc.388: Dec 17, 1907

Methodist Episcopal Church South, Mt Sterling, KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 5267 S.doc.189: Jan 22, 1908

Samuel Beatty, Lee Co. KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 5230 H.rp.791: Feb 11, 1908

Joseph E. Lindsey, Montgomery Co. KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 6180 S.doc.213: Dec 21, 1911

M. E. Church, Louisa - SERIAL-SET-ID: 6181 S.doc.652: May 8, 1912

Ascension Protestant Episcopal Church, Mt Sterling, KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 6785 S.doc.633: Dec 7, 1914

George H. Witten, Johnson Co. KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 6892 H.doc.1634: Mar 2, 1915

R. W. Harris, Floyd Co. KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 7100 H.doc.201: Nov 8, 1915

Martin Preston, Johnson Co. KY - SERIAL-SET-ID: 8981 H.rp.2648: Feb 21, 1929

Links of Interest
Guide to the Records of the U.S. House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989 (Record Group 233)

Information compiled, transcribed and researched by Marlitta H. Perkins, April 2012. Copyright © 2012. All Rights Reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment