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1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre
DEPOSITIONS
 


                                                                                             6)   DEPOSITIONS ON BEHALF OF
                                                      JOHN M. JONES, NEWTON JONES, SEBRON TACKETT, PLEASANT TACKETT
                                                                                                               AND OTHERS


                    About This Record  

                    State of Arkansas                                              

                     SS

County of Carroll

Be it remembered that on this 24th day of October, A.D. 1860, personally came and appeared before me, the undersigned acting and duly commissioned, and qualified, Justice of the Peace, within and for said county, Francis M. Rowan, to me personally well known, to be of lawful age, and excellent memory, and who, after being duly sworn, according to law, to testify, and the wish to speak in regard to the matters in relation to the amount, quality and value of certain personal property owned by John M. Jones, Newton Jones, Sebron Tackett, Pleasant Tackett, and others, in the month of April 1857, when they left the State of Arkansas, bound for California, upon his oath of foresaid deposed as follows, to wit; 

My name is Francis M. Rowan, I reside in the county of Carroll and State of Arkansas.  In April 1857, I was residing in the county of Washington, in this state, and the said John M. Jones and his brother Newton Jones, on their way to California, camped some 10 or 15 days within five or six miles of where I lived at that time. I had been acquainted with the Jones' boys for a number of years. Previous to that time, and when they camped there, I was frequently with the boys; I was at their camp, and saw their property, and being well acquainted with the boy's, Milam Jones, and Newton Jones particularly pointed out the property that they owned, showed me their cattle and oxen, of course I did not pay much attention to the property that I would have done, and I believed that I would have ever been called upon to testify about it, but my recollection, and belief is that the two Jones boys owned four yoke of work oxen, one large ox wagon - John M. Jones was married and had his wife and two children with him, and was moving to California. He had with him the widow Tackett and three or four of her children. Newton Jones, John M. Jones, his wife and two children, widow Tackett and three or four children, and Sebron Tackett constituted one company in family groups. The Jones boys owned the wagon, oxen and outfit, and the others seemed to be living with them and depending on the Jones boys for their support. The wagon was large and very heavily burdened; I suppose John M. Jones had a gun and other fire arms but of what value or number I do not know.  Newton Jones had a fine rifle gun; they appeared to be all well supplied with beds and bedding and wearing apparel for an excursion of that kind, and also with provisions.I know that there was in the corral, sixty six or sixty eight head of stock cattle, but how many they had, that is how many the Jones' had I do not now remember, but according to the best of my recollection, Milam Jones had only about 8 head of the stock cattle as near as I can now estimate. 
 

The value of the property owned by the two Jones' boys I would say that the large ox wagon was worth in cash: 
 
$     125.00
4 yoke of work oxen at 65.00 per yoke    
       
$     260.00
 
I would say that from my knowledge of the number of persons along, that the beds, bedding, wearing apparel, provisions, furniture, camp equipage, etc was worth
 

$     500.00
8 head of stock cattle at 20.00 per head   
 
$     160.00
 
They had cash on hand but how much I know not. Newton Jones had over twenty that I know of   
 
$       20.00
 
The rifle gun was worth; 
 
$       15.00
 
                                                                            (S/B $1080.00) $    1075.00

I have made the above statement according to my personal knowledge, recollection and belief, and I can not say how much of the property belonged to Milam, or how much to Newton, only as I was informed.  I think however that Newton Jones owned in his own right one yoke of oxen, and one half the wagon, and his gun; John M. Jones owned the other three yoke of oxen, the one half of said wagon and how the outfit was divided or owned among them I do not now remember. There were several other persons along, and who had separate wagons. There were 3 men by the name of Peleat, or Pilleats.  The oldest one of the Peleats was a married man, had his wife and children along; they had a separate camp and wagon; there was an other man, Pleasant Tackett, who had a separate wagon; and before they started George W. Baker drove up and camped near the others.  The Peleats and Pleasant Tackett had oxen and other property but I can not say how much.  They had horses, and camp equipage, provisions etc., and appeared to be well fixed for the outfit, but it is impossible for me to separate the several claimants, or the amounts that each one owned, only as I have above stated and I am well satisfied that the amount of property that said parties were owners of was worth several thousand dollars.  I have no doubt but what all the parties were murdered at "Mountain Meadows" in September 1857, except a few children who have been sent back to the states - and I further state that I believe that the property above described was lost or destroyed at Mountain Meadows in 1857 and further this deponent saith not.  So help me God.

                                                 F.M. Rowan 

Submitted and subscribed to before me this
24th day of October, 1860. 

                             C.C. Williams, J.P.
 


And at the same time and place came Fielding Willows, a witness known to be of lawful age and memory, and who after being duly sworn in, regard to the matters in the caption hereof mentioned upon his oath deposed as follows that is to say;

I now reside in the County of Carroll, and State of Arkansas; I was living near the Indian line in Washington County, Arkansas, in the month of April 1857.  I was personally well acquainted with John M. Jones, and Newton Jones, Pleasant Tackett, and the widow Tackett mentioned in the foregoing deposition of Francis M. Rowan, when the parties above named, were on their way to California, and while they were in camp in the Indian line in Washington County, Arkansas.  I was at their camp and stayed with them two or three days.  I was well acquainted, and on intimate terms with the Jones boys, and saw their property.  I have had hearing of the tabulation statement of the amount, quality, and value of property as deposed to by said witness Rowan, and from my knowledge recollection and belief, I am satisfied that the estimate therein made is very nearly correct.  It may be even or under the real cash value of what the real cash value was in the market of Washington County at the time said parties left Washington County.  But my best judgement is that the estimate made is not an unreasonable one either way.  John M. Jones and his brother had to my own knowledge; one large good ox wagon, 4 yoke of first rate work oxen.  Their wagon was very heavily laden with clothing, beds and bedding, provisions, etc.  The fine stock cattle they had some six or eight in all were good cattle, and were all no doubt worth the prices named in the annexed evidence of the witness Francis M. Rowan.  I know that there was about sixty head of stock cattle over and above the amount owned by the Jones Boys, but to whom it belonged I cannot say.  The widow Tackett, Pleasant Tackett, Peleats, and several others were in the crowd and all left the State of Arkansas, for California, together.  They left sometime in the month of April 1857.  The Peleats, Basham, and Tacketts had three wagons, several yoke of good oxen to each wagon, and had one horse.  Had apparently plenty of provisions, clothing and a general outfit to make the trip comfortable, and further this deponent saith not. 

                                                 F. Willow 

Subscribed & swornto before me this
24th day of October 1860

                                                 C.C. Williams, J.P.


And at the same time and place came, Felix W. Jones, a witness known to me to be of lawful age, and who after being duly sworn according to law in regard to the matters in the caption hereof mentioned upon his oath, as aforesaid, deposed as fullows; 

I now reside in the county of Marion, and State of Arkansas, where I have resided for about nine years last past.  I was well and intimately acquainted with John M, and Newton Jones who left Arkansas in April 1857, for California.  They were my brothers.  John M was married and started with his wife and two children.  He was moving to California.  Newton was a young man, and was going with his brother, to California.  I only knew the wagon and one yoke of oxen.  I believe they had all the property mentioned in the statement of witness Rowan.  The wagon was worth at the time the parties left here, in cash, one hundred and twenty five dollars.  The yoke of oxen I knew were worth sixty five dollars.  The steers I mention, and one half the wagon belonged to Newton Jones.  The other half of the wagon belonged to John M. Jones, and the other oxen, and cattle etc, spoken of by witnesses Rowan, and Wilburn belonged to John M., I suppose and believe.  I do not know how much money the boys had when they left but Newton had thirty dollars or upwards.  Newton also had a rifle gun and John M. Jones had a shot gun worth perhaps fifteen or twenty dollars each.  I do not know what the provisions, clothing and general outfit was worth, but from all the information I have been able to get in relation to the provisions, tents, clothing and outfit, I would say that it was worth in cash between five and six hundred dollars, and further this deponent saith not, so help me God. 

                              Felix W. Jones 

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

                                                  C.C. Williams  J P

State of Arkansas

                    SS

County of Carroll 

I, C.C. Williams, an acting Justice of the Peace within and for the county of Carroll and State of Arkansas, duly commissioned and qualified  as such within and for said county, do hereby certify that the annexed and foregoing deposition of Francis M. Rowan, Fielding Willows, and Felix W. Jones were sincerely taken before me in the  county of foresaid, on this 24th day of October 1860, and that the statements, responses, and answers of each of said witnesses were reduced to writing in their presence and read over to them in their presence and hearing, and by them sincerely subscribed and swornto before me.  I further certify that I am well acquainted with said witnesses, Rowan, Willburn, and Jones, and that they are all reputable persons, and worthy of credit.  In witness whereof, I, as such Justice of the Peace as aforesaid, have hereunto set my hand this 24th day of October 1860. 

                               C.C. Williams, J.P.

State of Arkansas

                    SS

County of Carroll 

I, Sam W. Peel, as the clerk of the circuit court, and ex officio clerk of the county court of the county of Carroll, and state aforesaid, do hereby certify that C.C. Williams, whose genuine official signature appears to the annexed, and foregoing certificate, was at the time of taking said depositions, and the making of said certificates, and now is an acting Justice of the Peace duly commissioned, and qualified as such within, and for said county, and that his clerk certificate is in due form of law, and by the proper officer.  That his signature, thereto annexed, is genuine and in his own proper hand writing, and that full worth 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 affixed my private seal (The public seal of this court having been destroyed by fire).  This 25th day of October, A.D. 1860

                               S.W. Peel, Clerk

                                     SS

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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