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John Hilyard Family ca. 1909

Thursday, June 23, 2016

My Family in the Civil War, Part Thirteen: A Tale of Two Properties

This the the thirteenth in a series on my Civil War ancestors

Signature of Edward W. Moore from pension deposition

On March 24th, 1885, Susannah's husband Edward W. Moore gave his deposition. He stated his age, 82, and past occupations of farming and preaching. I am certain the special examiner already had the answers to every question he posed to Edward before hand. Edward probably knew this as well going into the interview. Some of his answers are a little guarded, a little cagey, but never false I am sure. As with Susannah, I'll let Edward speak for himself.

Q: How much real estate did you own in 1864?
A: I think about 300 acres, 90 of which was cleared; worth about $4.00 an acre. The balance was in lumber and not worth any more per acre.

Q: How much personal property had you in '64?
A: Only about $200 worth.

Q: What was the value of your buildings in 1864?
A: About $250.

Q: What else had you then?
A: Nothing else.

Q: Did you in 1865 purchase any more real estate or acquire any?
A: No sir.

Q: Did you an 1866 acquire any land?
A: I don't remember. I was fool enough to attend delinquent tax sales and buy some at times but lost money at it.

I love that line. And he probably knew full well what he had done but heck, he was 82. Forgive an old man his imperfect memory! "Uncle Neddy" is definitely on my list of ancestors I wish I could meet.

Q: How much real estate had you in 1867-8?
A: About as I had in 1864.

Q: How much personal property had you in 1867?
A: Not over $250 worth.

Q: You were assessed for $640 worth.

I imagine a little pause here, maybe a deep breath. I think getting the pension might ride on the following answers and explanations.

A: Well. I had some money because I had mortgaged my place. I also had been guardian of three grandchildren and had $600 of their money for which I had mortgaged my place. 

Q: How did you happen to be assessed for so much in 1869--70--71--74?
A: Well in 1869 I exchanged my place in French Lick Township for this place here and the purchaser didn't get his deed recorded and didn't pay tax on either property. Both places were in my name and taxed to me. When we traded he was to lift the mortgage of $600 as part of the trade. He failed to pay it and I got the place back by paying it and paying some $600 costs. 

Q: How did you lose money when you still had this Orleans property?
A: Well I about held my own.

Q: Then for a few years you owned both pieces of property.
A: Yes sir.

Q: Then the assessment record is about correct, isn't it?
A: Pretty near.

I could almost hear the examiner's "A-HA!" when he got Edward to admit that.

So, we might wonder why Edward Moore didn't attend more closely to the land transaction? Why didn't he make sure the deed and mortgage were taken care of?  Mostly likely because he wasn't there.

Booklet printed in 1870, available on the Kansas Memory website

In 1869 Edward Moore moved to Kansas, along with the families of his son Columbus Moore and those of his twin girls, Mary Catherine Grigsby and Elizabeth Jane Wilson. Looking at these events in total now, I can see that Edward traded the farm for a small place in town because he knew that he, along with all his children that could be of assistance to him, were moving over 500 miles away. He most likely trusted the buyer's word that all would be done according to their agreement.

While in Kansas, Edward and Susannah's son Christopher Columbus Moore died at the age of 31 on June 12th, 1871, leaving two little girls. He died from consumption which he had contracted during his Civil War service.  An uncited manuscript I have says this: "It is said that his wife Susannah didn't like Kansas and said she wanted to go back to Indiana to die; her husband's reaction was that they would go back to Indiana to live. And live they did, another 15 and 20 years, in Orleans, where they are buried."

After their return, the mortgage holder sued, and the French Lick property was foreclosed. Edward paid the $600 to get the land back, plus he had all the lawyer fees and court costs to pay. It appears from the pension file that the property was then purchased from Edward by Leonidas Grigsby, his son-in-law. The Grigsbys and Wilsons had returned to Indiana as well, but the widow and children of Christopher Columbus Moore remained out west.

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