John Henry Taylor's Claim
Submitted by Robin Sterling
Southern Claims Commission File
John Henry Taylor (2643) Allowed
Remarks: Claimant’s loyalty is established by his own statement and the testimony of witnesses. He was opposed to secession, voted for Union candidate to Convention, had two sons in Union army, was recognized as a Unionist loyal man to the government of the United States during the war and since the war has been a Republican member of the Legislature from Winston County. The mule was taken from him by soldiers of General Wilson’s Command in March 1865 and we allow the sum of one hundred and twenty-five dollars.
To the Commissioners of Claims, Under Act of 3rd March, 1871, Washington, D.C.
The petition of John Taylor respectfully represents:
That your petitioner is a resident of the County of Winston in the State of Alabama; that his post office is Littleville in said County and State; and that at the time his claim and each item thereof as herein set forth accrued, he was a resident of the County of Winston and State of Alabama; that he is the original owner of said claim; that he has never sold, assigned or transferred the same or any part thereof to any person; that no mortgage, bill of sale or other lien of like nature has at any time rested upon it, or any part thereof, nor has it been attached or taken in execution; that the same has not been paid by the United States or any of their officers or agents, nor have the United States any legal offset against the same or any part thereof; that he is the sole owner of the said claim, no other person being interested therein; that said claim does not contain any charge for property which was destroyed or stolen by the troops or other persons; that the rates or prices charged are reasonable and just, and do not exceed the market rate or price of like stores or property at the time and place stated; all of which your petitioner states of his own knowledge.
Your petitioner further states that he is now and was at the time the several items of his said claim accrued, as stated herein, a citizen of the United States; that he remained a loyal adherent to the cause and Government of the United States during the war of 1861, &c.; and was so loyal before and at the time of the taking or furnishing of the property for which this claim is made.
And your petitioner further represents, and of his own knowledge states, that on the 25th day of March, A.D., 1865, at his residence in the State of Alabama the following property or stores were taken from your petitioner for the use of the army of the United States, and fro which payment is claimed, viz:
1 sorrel horse mule, 15 hands high, 9 years old ($150)
Which said property or stores being of the kind, quantity, quality and value above stated was taken by General Wilson’s command belonging to the cavalry, Southern Department of the United States Army, in the service of the United States.
And your petitioner further represents that he has been informed and believes that the said stores or property was taken from your petitioner as above stated and removed with his army on its march south by individual soldiers, whose names are unknown to petitioner; that at the taking of said property, or stores, no vouchers, receipt or other writing was given therefor by the person taking the same as aforesaid or received at any time by your petitioner.
Your petitioner further states that the claim, within and above mentioned has never been presented to the Departments or to Congress.
Your petitioner hereby constitutes and appoints Stilson, Bundy & Webster Attorneys-at-Law, of Washington, D.C., his true and lawful attorneys, with full power of substitution and association, to prosecute this his claim, and to receive a draft payable to the order of your petitioner for such amount as may be allowed, and to do all acts necessary and proper in the premises.
Your petitioner therefore prays that his said claim may be examined and considered under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved 3rd March 1871, dated this 17th day of April 1871 [signed] John Taylor. Witnesses: [signed] William V. Curtis and L.H. Cagle
State of Alabama, County of Winston: John Taylor being duly sworn deposes and says, that he is the petitioner named in the foregoing petition, and who signed the same; that the matters therein stated are true, of the deponent’s own knowledge, except as to those matters which are stated on information and belief, and as to those matters he believes them to be true; and deponent further says that he did not voluntarily serve in the Confederate army or navy, either as an officer, soldier, or sailor, or in any other capacity, at any time during the late rebellion; that he never voluntarily furnished any stores, supplies, or other material aid to said Confederate army or navy, or to the Confederate government, or to any officer, department or adherent of the same in support thereof, and that he never voluntarily accepted or exercised the functions of any office whatsoever under, or yielded voluntary support to, the said Confederate government. [signed] John Taylor
That, as stated in the Petition referred to, the property in question was taken from John Taylor of Littlesville, Winston County in the State of Alabama for the use of a portion of the army of the United States, known as General Wilson’s Cavalry and commanded by General James H. Wilson, and that the person who took or received the property, or who authorized or directed it to be taken or furnished, were the following: the men of General Wilson’s command, names unknown to petitioner.
That the property was removed to the army on the march and used for or by them in mounting soldiers and other necessary purposes; all this on or about the 25th day of March, in the year 1865, as appears by the Petitioner presented to the Commissioners.
That the Claimant is unable to produce the witnesses hereafter to be named before the Commissioners at the City of Washington for and because of the following reasons, to wit: by reason of the smallness of the claim and the poverty of the claimant.
That the following are the names of the witnesses, their respective places of residences, the points most convenient for the taking of their testimony, and separate, full and detailed statements of what each particular witness is expected to prove; all matters of time, place and circumstances being set forth as explicitly as is possible:
By William Stokes of Larissa, in the County of Winston and State of Alabama whose testimony should be taken at or near Larissa in the State of Alabama the Claimant expects to prove that he well knew the sorrel horse mule, the property of claimant, and thinks he was worth at least $150 when taken. That he was an eye witness and saw said mule taken by the men belonging to General Wilson’s Command and put into the service of the Army and carried south on the march to Selma, Alabama all this on or about the 25th day of March 1865 at Larissa, Winston County, Alabama.
By Silas Stokes of the same place he expects to prove substantially the same facts as by the last witness as above stated.
By L.H. Cagle, and William V. Curtis, both of the same place, he expects to prove that claimant was loyal to the Union and government of the United States both before, during and since the war, and that his sympathies and active efforts were enlisted on the side of Union men all through the war.
The Claimant now prays that the testimony of the witnesses just designated be taken and recorded, at or near the places named, before such person or persons, and in such manner as the Commissioners may direct, at the reasonable cost of the said Claimant; and that the persons so directed to take and record such testimony be required to give due notice of the time and place of the taking thereof to the Claimant, or to his counsel.
Submitted to the Commissioners of Claims under the Act of Congress of March 3, 1871, on this 25th day of July 1871. [signed] John Taylor, Claimant; Stilson, Bundy & Webster, Attorneys.
Before the Commissioners of Claims.
In the matter of the Claim of John Taylor of Littlesville, in the County of Winston and State of Alabama.
Comes now the claimant, and represents that he has heretofore filed with the above named Commissioners a Petition for the allowance of a claim for property taken for the use of the Army of the United States.
That the said claim, stated by items, and excluding therefrom all such items in the aforesaid petition as are now believed to refer to the damage, destruction and loss, and not the use, of property; to unauthorized or unnecessary depredations of troops and other persons upon the property, or to rent or compensation for the occupations of buildings, grounds or other real estate, is as follows:
1 sorrel horse mule, 15 hands high, 9 years old ($150)
[part missing]…in and for the County and State aforesaid, hereby certify that William H. Wilbanks, whose name appears to the foregoing jurat, was at the time stated in said jurat, a Justice of the Peace, duly authorized to administer oaths, and that the above is his genuine signature. I am not interested in this claim or its prosecution. [signed] James Hilton, Judge of Probate Court.
I rely upon the following witnesses, and others, to prove my loyalty:
William V. Curtis, residing in Littleville, Winston County, Alabama
L.H. Cagle, residing in Littleville, Winston County, Alabama
and also expect to prove the other facts alleged in the foregoing petition by
William V. Curtis, residing in Littleville, Winston County, Alabama
L.H. Cagle, residing in Littleville, Winston County, Alabama
My Post Office address is Littleville, Winston County, Alabama
My Counsel is Stilson, Bundy & Webster, Esqs., whose Post Office address is Box 636, Washington, D.C.
[signed] John Taylor
John Taylor, Claimant, vs. United States, Defendant.
In pursuance of the Commissioner issued by the Commissioners of Claims at Washington City, D.C., to the undersigned, on the 18th day of November, A.D. 1871, I, Robert P. Baker, have called and caused to come before me at Larissa, in the County of Winston, and State of Alabama, on the 12th day of March, A.D., 1872, John Taylor (claimant), Lloyd Cagle, William V. Curtis, Eliza L. Taylor, and William Stokes, witnesses in behalf of the claimant in the cause now pending before said Commissioners in the City of Washington, in which John Taylor, of Winston County, Alabama, is claimant, and the United States is defendant.
1 – The said John Taylor, being first duly sworn, says, in answer to the Interrogatories propounded to him, that he is sixty-four years of age, and a resident of Winston County, Alabama and by occupation a farmer, and that six months prior to April 1st, 1861, I resided where I now live. I was at home attending to my plantation.
2 – Same place.
3 – I never did.
4 – No, sir.
5 – In 1865 I took the amnesty oath as administered by Andrew J. Ingle at Littlesville, Winston County, Precinct No. 5.
6 – No, sir. I was not.
7 – No, sir.
8 – No, sir.
9 – No, sir.
10 – No, sir.
11 – No, sir.
12 – No, sir.
13 – No, sir.
14 – No, sir.
15 – No, sir.
16 – No, sir.
17 – Never was. The reason was because I was laying out to evade them. I was never arrested by United States officers or soldiers.
18 – I had three horses taken from my wife at one time and had corn, bacon, and syrup taken at different times by the Rebels and never received pay for any article so taken.
19 – They threatened (Captain Wilhite and other Rebel officers) to be hung and burn my property, and in fact they threatened to burn the property of all Lincolnites.
20 – Nothing other than stated.
21 – I never contributed money and property for the United States Government or its army, other than to feed United States soldiers and keep them at my house which was voluntary on my part. There was Union prisoners who dug out of Tuscaloosa prison who came to me for protection. I fed them and clothed them and sent them to the Federal army, then at Tuscumbia, Alabama.
23 – Had two sons, Charles A., and Andrew J. Taylor, who were enlisted in the First Alabama; Colonel Spencer’s command in Company L. Had no relatives in the Confederate service.
24 – Never was in any way interested in Confederate bonds, nor never done anything to support the credit of the so-called Confederate states.
25 – No, sir.
26 – No, sir.
27 – No, sir.
28 – No, sir.
29 – No, sir.
30 – No, sir.
31 – Received a pass to come from Columbus, Mississippi to return home with my wagon. I never took an oath to obtain the pass, it was the only one I ever received or ever asked for.
32 – No, sir.
33 – At the beginning of the war, I was with the Union and exerted my influence in its favor, at the election of Representatives to the State Convention, I voted for the Union candidate, C.C. Sheats. After the State had seceded I remained with the Union from first to last, all the time the same as today.
34 – It was. I never did. I was and did do it. I have just finished my term as Representative to the State Legislature for the County of Winston and elected on the Union ticket as it is the only ticket that could be elected in Winston County. [signed] John Taylor
Lloyd H. Cagle, called to prove loyalty after being duly sworn doth depose and say that he is fifty years old and a resident of Winston County, Alabama and a farmer by occupation. I have been acquainted with claimant from my first recollection and was intimately acquainted with him during the war residing about four miles distant and met him on an average about twice a month during the war, and conversed with him in reference to the war. Affiant was a Union man and so regarded by claimant. He was opposed to the war and the cause of it. He said with the cause we were all ruined that we could do no good, and was opposed to the secession of the state. After the state had seceded I never noticed any change in his sentiments. Our conversation was mostly in private. It was all owing to circumstances surrounding us. He was Union in his sentiments and influence, and always supported the Union. He had two sons in the First Alabama Cavalry (Colonel Spencer’s Command). I do not know that he ever contributed money or property to the Federal Government or its army. I know that he supplied the Union people who were laying out in his neighborhood to evade the Rebels and fed Union soldiers generally at various times. I don’t know that he was ever interested in Confederate bonds or done anything to support the credit of the so-called Confederate States. The claimant’s reputation throughout the entire neighborhood was that of a Union man and by the Rebels as a Tory and a Lincolnite. If the cause of the rebellion had been a success and they had succeeded in establishing a separate government, I don’t think that he, in safety, could have remained among them on account of his sentiments and actions which were generally known. [signed] Lloyd H. Cagle
William V. Curtis (called to prove loyalty) after being duly sworn doth depose and say that he is forty-four years of age, and a resident of Winston County, Alabama and by occupation a farmer. I have known claimant about nineteen years and intimately during the war, residing about eight miles distant; met him on an average once a month during the war and conversed with him in reference to the war in private and public. (Affiant was a Union man and so regarded by claimant). He was bitterly opposed to the war on the part of the Rebels, and opposed secession, and regarded it as the ruination of the country. He always exerted his influence in behalf of the Union, and so voted at the State Convention, in voting for C.C Sheats. After the secession of the State, he was still in favor of the Union, no changes in sentiment or action from first to last. He had two sons who volunteered in the First Alabama Cavalry (Colonel Spencer’s Command). I do not know that he ever contributed money or property to the United States Government, but I know that he fed Union soldiers and layouts frequently during the entire war. I do not think that he was ever in any way interested in Confederate bonds or done anything to the support of the Rebel government. Claimant was regarded by the people in the neighborhood as a Union man, and by the Rebels as a Tory, and one of the old head leaders. If the Rebels had succeeded in establishing a separate government, I do not think they would have allowed him to remain among them in safety, as his sentiments were too well known among them. [signed] William V. Curtis
Questions as to Property:
John Taylor (claimant) recalled to prove property says that in 1865, March 26 or 27 day, on the advance of General James Wilson’s Command, one mule was taken from Silas Stokes, a boy whom I had employed to hold him for me. The mule was a sorrel, about fifteen hands high, and about nine years old, and valued at one hundred and fifty dollars. They took the mule into the command and I never saw it afterwards. I talked to officers in reference to it, and they said that the orders were to take all such property, and if they did not do it the Rebels would, and that they were going to make a clean sweep as it would do as much to cripple the Rebels as anything they could do. I never received any pay for it, nor did I ever ask for a voucher. I think it was taken by orders of the officers for the benefit of the Union from conversation I had with officers in reference to it. [signed] John Taylor
Eliza E. Taylor, called to prove property, after being duly sworn doth depose and say that she is sixty-five years of age and wife of claimant. That in the month of March 1865, on the advance of General James Wilson’s Command, one sorrel mule was taken from the hands of Silas Stokes, the property of claimant. Said mule was about nine or ten years old and valued by my husband at one hundred and fifty dollars. If claimant ever received any pay or voucher for it, I don’t know of it, but I have reason to believe he never did. I was present when the property was taken and talked with the officers in reference to the property. They said they had orders to take it all, for if they did not the Rebels would. I never saw the property afterwards, but regard that it was taken for the use of the Federal service from what the officers told me. [signed x her mark] Eliza E. Taylor
William Stokes called to prove property, after being duly sworn doth depose and say that he is sixty-two years of age and a resident of Winston County, Alabama and a farmer by occupation. In March 1865 when the command of General Wilson was passing my place, claimant and his wife were at my house, and my son, Silas Stokes, was in front holding the mule, the property of the claimant, and while there men of Wilson’s command came up and took the mule from my boy’s hands and took it off with the command. The mule was ten or twelve years old and worth about one hundred and seventy-five dollars. I remonstrated with the party and they told me to go to the General as they had orders to take the property. I did not know the General and never saw him and never saw the mule after it was taken from my son, as it was immediately carried off with the command which was then moving. [signed x his mark] William Stokes
State of Alabama, Winston County: I, Robert P. Baker, Commissioner to take testimony in cases pending before “The Commissioner of Claims,” now pending before them against the United States, and as Notary Public in and for the County of Morgan and State of Alabama, do certify, that John Taylor, of Winston County, Alabama, the claimant in this cause, and as a witness, and Lloyd Cagle, William V. Curtis, Eliza E. Taylor, and William Stokes, of Winston County, Alabama as witnesses, came before me at Larissa, Winston County, Alabama on the 12th day of March, A.D., 1872, the said witnesses to testify in behalf of John Taylor, the claimant in this cause; that before said witnesses were examined they were each severally sworn by me to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, relative to said claim; that the answers of each of said witnesses were taken down; that after the same were carefully read over to said witnesses, I caused each of them to subscribe their deposition. And I further certify, that said depositions have not been out of my possession since they were so taken, nor have the same been in any way altered or changed.
Given under my hand and seal, this 20th day of March, A.D., 1872. [signed] R.P. Baker, Special Commissioner
No. 2643: Claim of John Taylor, Winston County, Alabama for $150
In the above case of John Taylor, I have made a thorough investigation and failed to find any evidence against the claimant. It was some other John Taylor that asked permission to raise a company of cavalry for the Rebel service and invested in Confederate bonds. I am satisfied from the investigation I gave the claimant that I would have found some disloyal acts and expressions had he been in favor of the Rebels. Claimant had two sons in the Federal army as stated in his testimony. There is a John W. Taylor in Marion County, Alabama that raised a company of cavalry for his son to go in the Rebel army with. [signed] Enos Richmond, Special Agent. Houston, Alabama, May21st, 1874
The United States to John Taylor of Alabama. For the amount allowed him by Act of Congress, Private No. 71 approved March 3rd 1875, entitled “An Act making appropriations for the payment of claims reported allowed by the Commissioner of Claims under the Act of Congress of March 3rd, 1871:” The sum of $125. Payable in care of Stilson, Bundy and Webster, Washington, D.C. Treasury Department, Second Comptroller’s Office, March 25th, 1875, [signed] H. Spalding, Clerk. Treasury Department, Third Auditor’s Office, March 1875. [signed] A. Jackson, Clerk
Note: John Henry Taylor was born in Montgomery County, North Carolina on 25 Aug 1808 and died in Winston County about 1880. He was buried in the Taylor Cemetery. Taylor served in the Alabama State Legislature as a representative from Winston County from 1868 to 1872.