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1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre
DEPOSITIONS
 


(1)  DEPOSITIONS ON BEHALF OF JOHN TWITTY BAKER


 

About This Record  
                

State of Arkansas                       

        SS

County of Carroll 

Be it remembered that on this 22nd day of October, 1860 personally came and appeared before me the undersigned, John Bunch, an acting and duly commissioned Justice of the Peace, and duly qualified as such within and for said county, Mary Baker, the widow of John T. Baker Deceased, to me, personally, well known to be the widow of said John T. Baker, deceased, and who after being duly sworn according to law, to testify the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, in regard to the matters in and about the ammount, kind, and quality of property which the said John T. Baker had in his possession, and owned in his own right when he left the county of Carroll and state of Arkansas in the month of April A.D. 1857.  Deposed as follows, to wit;

My name is Mary Baker.  I was lawfully married to John T. Baker in the county of Madison and State of Alabama on or about the ------- of ------ A.D. 1823; we emigrated to Arkansas in the year 1849,  where we resided together as man and wife, and until the said John T. Baker left his home in Carroll County as aforesaid with a lot of cattle, horses, etc as herein often particularly specified; and I have been informed and truly believe that after the said John T. Baker had proceeded as far as a place in the west known as "Mountain Meadows." He, together with a large number of persons in company with him, were murdered, and their property all stolen and appropriated by the murderers; and I here state that I have not at any time incurred any pay, or return of any of the property that the said John T. Baker left here with as aforesaid. The object, my husband, the said John T. Baker had in going to California was to sell a large lot of cattle with which he started, and when he left here in April 1851 for California he was the owner of and started with the following described personal property that is to say:

138 head of fine stock-cattle
5 yoke of work oxen
1 yoke of work oxen, extra
2 mules
1 mare
1 large ox wagon  

Provisions, clothing, and camp equipage for himself and five hands.  The cattle were all good stock, and all three years old and upwards, were picked cattle and such as in this market at the date of his departure from this place were worth at the lowest cash price twenty dollars per head and which would amount to the sum of  
 



$  2,760.00
The nine yoke of work oxen were worth in this market at the date of departure, fifty dollars per yoke  
 
$     450.00
 
The ox wagon was worth
 
$     100.00
 
The mules were worth each $125 
 
$     250.00
 
The mare was worth  
 
$     100.00
 
He had in cash the morning he left, the sum of  $98.00 in cash
 
$       98.00
 
The clothing, provisions, tents, camp equipage, etc, was worth here   
 
$     350.00
 
Fine rifle gun worth
 
$       25.00
 
One Colt repeater  
 
$       15.00
 
  $   4,148.00

Amounting in all as far as I now remember to the sum of Four thousand one hundred forty eight in this market. I have placed this estimate of the cattle and oxen at low figures, as I know that such oxen as those my husband left here with could not have been purchased at a lower price than from fifty five to seventy dollars per yoke.  The stock cattle had been bought with the view to make quick sales on arriving at California, and were a well selected lot of cattle.  My husband was a good trader and would not, and did not puchase any inferior cattle for the outfit. I believe that the foregoing statement of amounts, numbers and descriptions of personal property, is a true and correct inventory of the property that the said John T. Baker left this county with in the month of April 1857 and I am fully persuaded and really believe that the said property was worth at "Mountain Meadows," where my husband, as I am informed and believe, was murdered, the sum of about ten thousand dollars.  I can only make this statement from information received from others, and heresay of course, that I only form my opinion from "heresay."  But be this estimate over, or under the amount that the property was worth at Mountain Meadows, I have stated in the above facts truly, and faithfully upon my own knowledge, and upon such information as I deem reliable, and I make this statement upon a full knowledge of the facts stated in the annexed schedule as being within my own knowledge, so help me God.

                           Her

                 Mary  "X"  Baker

                          Mark 

Sworn and subscribed to before me this day and year first herein written, and I do hereby certify that the above statement of the said Mary Baker was made by her, reduced to writing in my presence, read over to her and by her sworn to and subscribed in writing whereof I have hereunto set my hand as such Justice, the day and year of foresaid.

             John Bunch  J P


And at the same time and place came also John H. Baker to me personally well known, and who after being duly sworn, according to Law, to Testify and the truth to speak in requard to the matters in the captions hereof mentioned, deposed as follows that is to say;
 

My name is John H. Baker, I am a son of the witness Mary Baker (whose Deposition is hereto annexed) and John T. Baker, deceased.  I have had hearing of the deposition hereto annexed of my mother, Mary Baker and I have of my own knowledge and recollection, full belief that her statements and calculations therein made and given are correct.  I was living one half mile from my father when he started to California in April 1857, and know that he had the number of cattle and other personal property in said schedule set forth by the said witness, Mary Baker.  I was well acquainted with the price of stock at that time, was also well acquainted with the kind, quality and worth of the property as mentioned in the tabular statement made in the deposition of the said Mary Baker, and I know that the personal property, therein mentioned was the property of my father, and that he started to California with all and more personal property than mentioned herein.  He had more guns, saddles, bridles etc. than is mentioned in said stated estimate, etc.  Know that such oxen as John T. Baker took with him could not have been purchased in this market and got fixed and ready for the trip under a cost of from Sixty to Seventy dollars.  I know also that the mare and mules are put down at a fair estimate, and as to the amount of provisions and camp equipage, my opinion is that it is below the real value, but of this I can not say with so much certainty.  I have been in California.  I was there in the latter part of the year 1852, stayed there until the month of September 1854, and from my knowledge of the country, and the price of property I think the property that the said John T. Baker left here with in April 1857, would have been worth at Mountain Meadows, the full sum of Ten Thousand dollars.  This statement however is only made from such general knowledge as I have from the western hands, and also from the information of other traders. 

I cannot now state what amount of money my father started with, but I know he had money with him, but as to the amount I do not know.  The stock cattle were a well selected lot of cattle, and were sold in this market at twenty dollars per head.  I have a good knowledge of the quality of cattle, for I helped my father collect the cattle and also went a few days travel with him when he started to California, and have of my own personal knowledge gave the statements as regards the value of this property here. So help me God.

                                       J. H. Baker 

    Sworn to and subscribed to before me this
    22nd day of October 1860.    

                                      John Bunch  J P
 


And at the same time and place, came also John Crabtree a witness known to me to be of lawful age and who, after being duly sworn to testify the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, in regard to the matters in the caption hereby mentioned, upon his oath deposed as follows, to wit;  

I was well acquainted with John T. Baker in his life time, and was living about a half or three quarters of a mile from him when he left, in April 1857, for California.  Mr. Baker was a very industrious man, and a shrewd, good trader. 

I saw the cattle and property that the said John T. Baker owned and started with to California.  I cannot give the exact number of cattle he started with, but he had somewhere between one hundred and thirty and forty head of cattle.  He had two mules, one mare, one large ox wagon, provisions, camp equipage, and a general outfit for a trip from here to California.  As to the amount of money he started with, I do not know.  I believe the cattle he had and started with were worth in cash in this market the sum of Twenty dollars per head.  I think the oxen he started with would have been worth fifty five or sixty dollars per yoke.  I think the mules were worth at the time he left here one hundred and fifty dollars each.  The mare was well worth in this market one hundred dollars.  The ox wagon was worth one hundred and twenty five dollars.  And from my knowledge of the outfit, and the amount of provisions needed for the support of the said John T. and his five hired hands, I would say that the estimate made by the witness Mary Baker at Three Hundred and fifty dollars is a very low estimate, and I think it would more nearly have reached the sum of Five hundred dollars. 

I was at the house of the said John T. Baker, frequently, while he was collecting the cattle, and I was present in April 1857 when the said Baker started for California, and I had a good opportunity to notice the quality and condition of the stock and outfit, and I have made the above estimate of the prices and value of the stock of cattle, oxen, mules, wagon, mare, and etc. 

On my own judgement, and from my knowledge of the value of property at that time and I think and believe that the estimate as made by the witness Mary Baker, is below the real value of the amount of property that the said Baker owned, had in his possession, and took away with him when he started to California in the spring of the year 1857; I was present when he started, and aided and assisted him on his way a few miles when he started.  The John T. Baker of whom I speak was the same Baker of who Mary says, was murdered in the west at a place known as "Mountain Meadows".  I also know that the witness of the said John T. Baker is the identical Mary Baker, the witness who has first deposed herein; she now lives at the same place where she did, where the said John T. Baker started in April 1857, for California, and I have been acquainted with the family and have lived a close neighbor for over 4 years next, before Baker left, and have lived a close neighbor to his widow ever since, so help me God.

                                 John Crabtree 

Subscribed and swornto-before me this
22nd day of October 1860.
 

                               John Bunch  J P


Depositions herein was again resumed, and thereupon came Hugh A. Torrance, a witness known to me to be of lawful age, who after being duly sworn in accordance to law, to testify the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, in regard to the matters in the caption hereof mentioned upon his oath deposed as follows, to wit;  

"My name is Hugh A. Torrance, I reside in this county.  In April 1857, I was living on the farm of the said John T. Baker.  I was then in the employment of the said John T. Baker, and while he was gathering cattle for his intended trip to California, I helped take care of the cattle and to feed them.  They were a good stock of cattle, well selected and likely.  I know that the cattle he left here with, when he started to California in April 1857, were worth Twenty dollars per head, and perhaps had cost more to buy them and gather them up and feed them while he started with them.  The oxen were worth from fifty five to sixty dollars per yoke.  The mare was worth one Hundred dollars; The mules about one hundred and twenty five dollars each, the ox wagon was well worth one hundred and twenty five dollars, and from my knowledge of the outfit, provisions, clothing and camp equipage, I am satisfied that the same was well worth from three hundred and fifty dollars to five hundred dollars.  He had one hundred and thirty five, or forty head of stock cattle worth twenty dollars per head, and I think he had nine yoke of work oxen worth per yoke from fifty five to sixty per yoke.  I have been shown and had hearings of the tabular statement made by the witness Mary Baker, whom I know to be the widow of the said John T. Baker, and from my close and intimate knowledge of the property therein mentioned, I am satisfied that the estimate therein made is below what the property was worth in cash the morning that the said John T. Baker left for California and further this deponent saith not. 

                           H.A. Torrance 

Subscribed and sworn to before me this the
13th day of October, A.D, 1860  

                         John Bunch  J P
 

State of Arkansas

                     SS

County of Carroll 

I, John Bunch, an acting, commissioned, Justice of the Peace, duly qualified as such within and for said county, do hereby certify and make known, that the annexed and foregoing depositions of Mary Baker, John Baker, and John Crabtree, and Hugh A. Torrance were sincerely taken before me on the days therein named. 

That the statements, dispenses, and evidences of said several witnesses was reduced to writing in the presence of said several witnesses, and respectively read over to them in their presence, and hearing, and by them, severally sworn and subscribed to by them, I further certify and make known, that I am personally well acquainted with each witness, and know them to be reputable persons, and to be the identical persons who they represent themselves to be.  In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand officially as such, Justice of the Peace, this 23rd day of October 1860. 

                               John Bunch  J.P.

State of Arkansas

                     SS

County of Carroll 

I, Sam W. Peel, as the clerk of circuit court, and ex officio clerk of this county court of Carroll County and State aforesaid do hereby certify that John Bunch, whose genuine official signature appears to the answered and foregoing certificate, was at the time of taking said depositions and the making of said certificate and now is an acting Justice of the Peace duly commissioned and qualified as such within and for said county, and that his said certificate is in due form of law and by the proper office.  That his signature thereto annexed is genuine and in his own proper hand unto, and that full faith and credit are due all his official acts as such Justice of the Peace.

In witness whereof I, Sam W. Peel, as the clerk of said court as aforesaid hereunto set my hand and seal. (The public seal of said court having been destroyed by fire) This 25th day of October A.D. 1860

                                     S. W. Peel, Clerk.
 

Source: Territorial Papers of the United States Senate 1789 - 1873, Roll 15, Utah, December 31, 1849 - June 11, 1870. These records were discovered by Paul Buford Fancher during the course of his research for Richard Fancher (1700-1764) of Morris County, New Jersey: Richard Fancher's descendants 1764-1992: Fancher-Fansher-Fanchier-Fanshier, which was published in 1993.


 


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