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1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre
DEPOSITIONS
 


                                                                        (3)     DEPOSITIONS ON BEHALF OF GEORGE W. BAKER

          About This Record  

          State of Arkansas                                          

                                  SS

County of Carroll 

Be it remembered, that on this 23rd day of October, 1860, personally came and appeared before me, John Bunch, an acting Justice of the Peace, duly commissioned, and certified as such within and for said county, Joseph B. Bains, who after being duly sworn according to testify the truth, the whole truth, in regard to the amount, quality and value of certain property which was in the possession of George W. Baker when he left here in the month of April 1857, and in company with John T. Baker and others bound for California, upon his oath as aforesaid deposition as follows; 

I have lived in Carroll County, Arkansas for a number of years, and was living here in the month of April 1857, and was living in 1/4 of a mile of John T. Baker when the parties all left for California in April 1857.  I now reside at the same place I did then, and within 1/4 of a mile of Mary Baker, the widow of John T. Baker.  George W. Baker was the son of the same John T. Baker and Mary Baker, and I know that the said George W. left here about the same time of his father in April 1857.  When George W. Baker left he was the owner in his own right, and had in his possession a considerable amount of cash and personal property, and had sold out his lands and was moving to California.  He had a wife and four children when he left here.  He was Guardian of Melissa Ann Beller and she was also in company with him and he had in his possession as Guardian of the said Melissa Ann Beller, the sum of seven hundred dollars in cash.  I had paid him as Guardian that amount for the said Melissa Ann, and know he had that amount.  I think Melissa Ann had a bed, bedding, wearing apparel, but of what value I cannot say.  The amount of personal property within the possession of the said George W. Baker, and which he carried off with him as near as I can make the estimate from my knowledge, information, recollection and belief was as follows, that is to say:

2 ox wagons chains, each worth at $125.00   
 
      $  250.00
 
Had in cash on hand about   
 
      $  500.00
 
He had beds, bedding, wearing apparel for himself and family, provisions for himself and family, worth     
 
      $  500.00
 
3 young mares worth $100.00 each   
 
      $  300.00
 
1 rifle gun  
 
       $   25.00
 
1 double barrel shot gun  
 
       $   25.00
 
136 head of cattle(or about that number) (worth in this market @ 20.00 each)         
 
      $ 2720.00
 
        $ 4320.00

He had oxen, but how many he had, I do not know.  Neither do I know their value.  The other specified property is all I now remember with sufficient knowledge so as to give an accurate estimate of the amount and value.  Baker had a good outfit, and his family was well provided for in the way of wearing apparel and provisions, and I have placed the estimate at a sum that I am satisfied is a low estimate of what said property was worth in this outfit.  The cattle were a very good lot, and taking into consideration the demand for cattle at that time in this market, I think the estimate is strictly within the cash limits of the market price here. The estimate of the cash paid him as Guardian for Melissa Ann Beller, may have been paid out in the stock purchased.  But of this I am not positive; if the whole amount was expended in buying cattle, then the amount of the annexed statement included the value of George W. Bakers property and Melissa Ann Beller's estate.  If perhaps all of said estate of said Melissa Ann Beller was not expended here for stock, then the above estimate is below the real amount of the value of said property.  I have no doubt but what the said George W. Baker, his wife, Melissa Ann, and all others in his family, except three children were murdered at the massacre of Mountain Meadows. Three of his children have been returned to this county, and now living within 1/4 mile of me at their grandmothers, Mary Baker. The oldest of the children were recognized by their friends and relations here, as soon as they returned and this fact convinces me that said Baker and family, except the children, were all murdered at, Mountain Meadows, and further this deponent saith not, so help me God. 

                                       Joseph B. Baines 

Subscribed and sworn to
before me this the 23rd day of October S.D., 1860

John Bunch, J.P.
 


And at the same time and place came, William C. Beller, to me, personally well known, and who after being duly sworn according to law to testify and the wish to speak in regard to the matters in the caption of these depositions mentioned; upon his oath deposed as follows;  

I was well acquainted with George W. Baker, and when George W. Baker left for California, I was living about two miles from him.  I was well acquainted with himself and family and also with his property and I was present when he started to move to California in April 1857, and saw his cattle and outfit for the trip.  I think that George W. Baker had, when he started from here, one hundred and fifty or sixty head of cattle, in which was included about eight yoke of work oxen.  I think the cattle without the oxen were well worth in cash, in this market, fifteen dollars per head and I think the work oxen were worth fifty five dollars per yoke. 

Now if the amount of cattle the said George W. Baker started with, was one hundred and sixty head and then out of that number the 8 yoke of oxen are taken, this would leave one hundred and fifty four head of stock cattle which at $15.00 per head would amount to the sum of                     
 

  $   2160.00
8 yoke of oxen @ $55.00 per yoke
 
  $     440.00
 
3 horses, or mares 3 years old, and worth in cash in this market, $125.00 each
 
  $     375.00
 
2 ox wagons worth in cash & the cost him here $ 260.00   
 
  $     260.00
 
About $400.00 in cash     
 
  $     400.00
 
Beds, bedding, clothing for himself, & family, provisions    
 
  $     500.00
 
1 shot gun, worth      
 
  $       30.00
 
1 rifle, worth (cost him $45.00)    $       30.00

I have made the above estimate from my own personal knowledge of the property and its value in this market, and I believe that the above is a low cash estimate of the property owned and carried off with him when he left here in April 1857;  He was moving to California, and had his wife, 4 children, Melissa Ann Beller, D. W. Beller, and 2 hired hands with him and was well supplied with provisions and clothing for the trip.  I have no doubt but what George W. and all his family who started with him were all killed at "Mountain Meadows" except three of his children, who have been brought back to this county.  All of who I could pick out of the crowd of children when they were brought back here.  I know they are the children of George W. Baker, and from all I can learn from said children and other and sources of information, I am fully satisfied that all were killed except children, who were in the train at Mountain Meadows and further this deponent saith not, so help me God.

                                         Wm C. Beller

Subscribed and sworn to

before me this 23rd day of October, A.D. 1860

                             John Bunch, J.P.
 


And at the same time and place came John H. Baker, who being duly sworn according to law in relation to the matters in the caption, hereof mentioned upon his oath deposed as follows: 

I reside in the county of Carroll and State of Arkansas and was living about a mile and three quarters from George W. Baker in April 1857 when he started to move to California.  I was well acquainted with the property and outfit with which he started, and had in his possession when he started to move.  He left for California in April 1857, and had with him his wife, 4 children; Melissa Ann Beller, D.W. Beller, and two hired hands.  He had about 136 head of stock cattle.  He had eight yoke of work oxen which he worked to his wagons and I think several extra yoke.  He had 3 head of horses.  Two ox wagons, guns, provisions, clothing, camp equipage: 

His stock cattle being 136 in number was low at $15 per head
    
$    2040.00
 
8 yoke of work oxen @ $55.00 per yoke 
 
$      440.00
 
3 young mares were worth $125.00 each  
 
$      375.00
 
2 ox wagons
 
$      275.00
 
1 shot gun worth, in cash  
 
$        35.00
 
1 rifle worth  
 
$        50.00
 
His clothing, beds, bedding, provisions, and general outfit for the move for
self & family was worth in cash here: 
       
$      600.00
 
  $     3815.00 

As to the cash on hand when he started, I do not now remember and can not say what amount he had.  I know he had money but the amount I do not know.  I have made the above estimate at that I think the property was worth here; that is at what it could have been cashed for. 

I know the 3 children brought back here to be the children of George W. Baker, and from what information I have been able to gather from them, and from information received from others, I am fully satisfied that George W. Baker and all who went with him, except the three children who have been brought back here, were all killed at a place known as "Mountain Meadows" and further this deponent saith not, so help me God.

                        J.H. Baker 

Subscribed and sworn to
before me this the 23rd day of October A.D. 1860.

                             John Bunch, J.P.
 


And, at the same time and place came Irvin T. Beller, a witness known to me to be of lawful age and who after being duly sworn according to law in regard to the matters herein before deposed to upon his oath, deposed as follows, to wit: 

I was well acquainted with George W. Baker, and I went with him when he started to move to California, two days.  I was acquainted with his property and outfit, and know the amount of peoperty he had with him when he stated to move. 

He had the use of one hundred and sixty head of cattle, including work oxen and stock cattle and they worth in cash in this market at the time he left here, at least twenty dollars per head.      
                                       


$    3,200.00
 
2 ox wagons, worth in cash      
 
$       275.00
 
3 mares were worth, $125.00   
 
$       375.00
 
1 shot gun, worth in cash: 
 
$         35.00
 
1 rifle, worth in cash: 
 
$         50.00
 
His out fit including beds and bedding, wearing apparel, provisions   
 
$        700.00
 
He had cash on hand about:  
 
$        500.00
 
  $     5,135.00

I was there at the house of George W. Baker most of the time he was making preparations to move, and was well acquainted with his arrangements, and make the above estimate from my own personal knowledge of the amount, quality and valve of his property and I think that the above estimate is the cash value of said property at the time Baker left here with the same.  And further this deponent saith not, so help me God. 

                                     Irvin T. Beller 

Subscribed and sworn to before
me this the 23rd day of October A.D. 1860

                                 
John Bunch, J.P.

State of Arkansas

                       SS

County of Carroll 

I, John Bunch, an acting and duly commissioned, and qualified Justice of the Peace within and for said county of Carroll, do hereby certify that the annexed and foregoing depositions of Joseph B. Bains, William C. Beller, John H. Baker, and Irvin T. Beller were all taken before me in the County of Carroll aforesaid, and were reduced to writing before me, and separately read over to said witnesses in their presence and hearing, and by them separately subscribed and swornto. 

I further certify that I am personally acquainted with all of said witnesses and know them to be reputable persons and that the evidence so given in by them is reliable.  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand as such justice 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 the county court of Carroll County and State aforesaid, do hereby certify that John Bunch, whose genuine official signature appears to the annexed 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 due form of law and by the proper offices.  That this signature thereto annexed is genuine and his own proper hand write, 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 have hereunto set my hand and seal, (the PublicSeal 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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