1887 Hancock County, TN Chancery Court Case - Rachel Farmer vs Jackson Reed and heirs of Stogner Bray
Location: Hancock County, Tennessee
Surnames/tags: bray farmer reed
In 1887 Rachel (Bray) Farmer brought a suit in the Hancock County, TN Chancery Court against Jackson Reed (also called Jackson Russell) and the heirs of Stogner Bray. The court case in two files is available at FamilySearch, starting with the image here. In the suit, Rachel claimed that several sales of land made from her to the defendants should be declared void because she wasn't competent to properly value her land. She won the case and the the defendants returned the lands in question along with payments for rents from the time they had held the land. In the course of the case, many witnesses were called by both sides and gave testimony, but the file on FamilySearch is both huge and sometimes out of order, making it difficult to glean important genealogical data from the testimonies. This page is an attempt to summarize the timeline of the case and the depositions of all witnesses. Currently it is a work in progress.
- 3 December 1886 - Complaint made by Jerry Griffin as "next friend" of Rachel Farmer signed
- 21 January 1887 - Original complaint is filed.
- 21 January 1887 - Bond taken by Jerry Griffin, A. J. Tyler, H. C. Jarvis, Wm B. Davis, S. Williams, and John Elrod.
- 2 March 1887 - McHenry Bray, Richard Greene and wife Polly Greene, and Jackson Russell summoned to respond to the bill on this date. Filed 3rd Monday of August, 1886.
- 12 March 1887 - Joint answer of Abijah Bray, McHenry Bray, William Bray, and Richard and Polly (Bray) Greene (children of Stogner Bray) filed.
- 14 March 1887 - Joint answer of Martha Bray, James Bray, Benjamin Bray, George Bray, And Charley Bray, minor children of Stogner Bray, is filed by their guardian, Richard Greene.
- 18 May 1887 - Agreement made that each side may take depositions of desired witnesses on July 12, 1887. Filed on 20 May 1887.
- 13 July 1887 - Copy of deed from Rachel Bray to Wm. A. Cook originally made on 6 December 1871 was filed as Exhibit B in case.
- 13 July 1887 - Copy of deed from William Cook to Jackson Reed originally made on 13 January 1872 was filed as Exhibit C in case.
- 13 July 1887 - Copy of deed from Wm Farmer and wife Rachel Farmer to Stogner Bray was filed as Exhibit E in case.
- 18 July 1887 - Bill of costs issued for depositions taken on 18 July 1887.
- 20 December 1887 - Agreement made that each side may take depositions of desired witnesses on 13 January 1888. Filed on 26 December 1887.
- 16 January 1888 - Agreement made that each side may take depositions of desired witnesses on March 8, 1888. Filed on 17 January 1888.
- 6 February 1888 - Copy made of original Abijah Bray grant.
- 9 March 1888 - Jerry Griffin states that he has had Preston Reed summoned for deposition multiple times and believes he is willfully ignoring the summons. Filed on 9 March 1888.
- 9-10 March 1888 - Depositions of Henry Lee, William Mannon, John Epperson, Isham Sutton, James Jackson, and Preston Reed alias Preston Russell (witnesses for the complainant Rachel Farmer) are taken.
- 18 May 1888 - Nancy Reed, Calvin Helton, James M. Perry, and W. H. Young summoned to testify on this day. Filed 12 March 1888.
- 19 May 1888 - Amended answer of Jackson Reed to complaint is filed.
- 12 March 1889 - Answer of Martha, Sarah, Mary and Margaret Sutton (children of Nancy (Bray) Sutton, child of Stogner Bray) by their guardian, Richard Greene. Filed 12 March 1889.
- 10 July 1894 - Depositions of John Clark, John Epperson, Wiley Cook, and John Elrod, witnesses for complainant, taken.
- 6 November 1894 - Bill of costs for case, and summary of Rachel Farmer's assets available for payment.
- April Term, 1895 - Decree made.
Original Complaint of Rachel Farmer, by her next friend Jerry Griffin
- Rachel Farmer sues by her next friend Jerry Griffin. Both are residents of Hancock County, TN.
- Rachel's father Abijah Bray died sometime before the war in Hancock County.
- He left a widow who died about the close of the war.
- He left two children and heirs at law, Rachel and Abijah Jr.
- Abijah Jr. died while quite young and without issue.
- At the time of his death Abijah owned land lying partly in Hancock County and partly in Claiborne County, with the more valuable portion in Hancock County.
- The lands were held under grant number 24296 of the State of Tennessee
- They contained about 260 acres
- Describes boundaries of the land.
- Abijah left the land to Rachel and Abijah in his last will and testament
- Abijah made Peter Ogan executor of his estate
- The records of the will and probate were burned during the war.
- A portion of the lands are occupied by Jackson Reed under a pretended title obtained from one Anderson Cook.
- In about 1873, Rachel deeded the lands in question to Cook after he promised to marry her, which he never did.
- No valuable possession passed in return for the land.
- Jackson Reed knew the circumstances under which the deed was secured and pretended to buy the land or a portion thereof from Cook, and now occupies it.
- This portion of the land is worth $300-400.
- Jackson also secured a deed from Rachel sometime in the 1870s for another portion of the land worth $500-600, and paid Rachel a cow worth $12, a sheep worth about $1, and a calico dress worth about $1.50.
- This the only renumeration Rachel has ever seen for these lands.
- Cook only deeded a portion of the lands he received from Rachel to Reed and never exercised any possession or control over the rest, and is now dead without a widow or issue.
- Stogner Bray took possession of a portion of that remaining land (the most valuable portion), now worth about $1000 and never paid anything to Rachel for them. He lived on and cultivated them until the date of his death in about June 1886.
- After taking possession of that land, Stogner Bray did buy and pay for a small portion for the sum of $75; Rachel did not ask that this be declared void.
- There was also small portion of the land in possession of John Clark, for which a decree also would not be asked.
- Reed was uneasy about his title from Cook, and told Rachel he would get back the remaining land from Cook if she would allow him to remain in possession of that which he already had from Cook.
- Reed and Cook acted in their own interests and combined to defraud Rachel of her land.
- Rachel Farmer has been all during her life and person of unsound mind, without the capacity necessary to govern herself or her property.
- Rachel married William Farmer about November 1876 in Hancock County, where he still resides.
- Rachel was advised that jointly suing with her husband would be barred under the statute of limitations, as some of the parties had held their lands for more than 7 years. As such she sued via Jerry Griffin as her next friend, and William Farmer was made a defendant in the case.
- Defendants listed: William Farmer, heirs of Stogner Bray (Abijah Bray, Polly Greene and husband Richard Greene, William Bray, McHenry Bray, Martha Bray, James Bray, Benjamin Bray, George Bray, Charley Bray, John Sutton who married Nancy Bray (now deceased) and her four children Martha, Sarah, Mary, and Margaret Sutton), Jackson Reed
- Martha, Sarah, Mary, and Margaret Sutton are all under age 14, and without any regular guardian.
- McHenry Bray, Martha Bray, James Bray, Benjamin Bray, George Bray, and Charley Bray are all under 21 years of age.
- McHenry Bray and Richard and Polly Greene are residents of Grainger County; all others are residents of Hancock County.
- Jackson Reed is a citizen of Claiborne County.
- Remedy asked is that all deeds be declared void and lands be returned to Rachel, with remuneration for rents and profits in the years since they left her possession.
Original Answer of Jackson Reed, sometimes called Jackson Russell, to the Complaint
Note: the end of the statement seems to be missing.
- He knows Rachel Farmer inherited the lands in question from her father, Abijah Bray, but knows nothing else of the original acquisition of the land.
- He does know that the complainant owned in free at least a portion of the lands described, and that that portion was inherited from her father.
- He state that on the 28th of February 1867 for $200, Rachel Farmer (then a single woman whose maiden name was Rachel Bray) sold to him about 50 acres of the land.
- This deed will be brought in evidence.
- The statement that he paid only a cow and sheep and a calico dress in consideration of the land is false.
- He states this deed is valid and grants him a valid title to the land in question.
- He says he has been in continuous possession of the land since the deed in 1867, and has cleared and cultivated about 35 acres of it.
- He further states that the statute of limitations of seven years has passed for contesting the title.
- On the 6 December 1871, the complainant sold about 75 acres of land to one William Cook for $250.
- The deed states that the $250 was paid to her, and that the deed was registered in the register for Hancock County on 12 December 1871.
- He denies that he connived or confederated with Cook to coerce Rachel into making this deed.
* On 13 January 1872, he bought the 75 acres from Cook for $325. Cook made him a deed which was registered in Hancock County on 3 May 1880.
- He is advised that his title to this tract is also valid.
- Rachel knew of Reed's plans to buy the land from Cook and in fact encouraged him to do it.
- Since then he has been in the possession of the land and has cultivated and cleared it, except about 20 acres upon which the complainant was allowed to remain without paying any rent, as she is the sister of Reed's wife.
- He further pleads that the statute of limitations has also run out for this title.
- He denies that the complainant has ever been of unsound mind, or incapable of conducting business.
Amended Answer of Jackson Russell, alias Jackson Reed, to the Complaint
- That the deed from Rachel Bray to William A. Cook covered more land than she actually had claim to under Abijah Bray's original grant.
- The remainder of the land was held by a W.C. Kyle, from whom Reed obtained title.
- Cook failed to pay for the land and Rachel was unable to repurchase it. Thereafter she agreed with Reed that if he would purchase it he could hold back the $75 worth of land that he had purchased of Rachel. Two disinterested parties were to be chosen to select the $75 worth of land from the whole. This was done.
- Thereafter, Rachel then made a deed to Reed for the remaining portion of the land, about 40 acres, a description of which is included.
- Reed states he has been in possession of the land since.
- He further states that Rachel's case is void by the statute of limitations.
- He states that Rachel has no claim at all to 25-30 acres of land she conveyed to Cook and now in the possession of Reed as it was outside of the bounds of the original Abijah Bray land grant, and demands she provide proof of her claim.
- Having answered, he asks that the bill be dismissed.
Joint Answer of Abijah Bray, McHenry Bray, William Bray, and Richard and Polly (Bray) Greene (children of Stogner Bray)
- They state the bill is defective but nonetheless provide a response.
- They admit that the lands described in the bill were granted to Abijah Bray by the state of Tennessee, that he died in possession of the lands, and they passed to Rachel Bray.
- Stogner Bray (their father) took possession of a portion of these lands and cultivated them until the date of his death, which occurred in June 1886.
- Since the death of their father, they and their other siblings named in the bill have had possession of the land.
- The charge that Stogner Bray never paid "one cent" besides $75 for the land in question is untrue.
- They have in their possession conveyances registered with the county proving those charges untrue. The conveyances are as follows:
- On 22 December 1865, Rachel Bray sold 70 acres of land to Stogner Bray for $200.
- On 9 November 1868, Rachel Bray sold 25 acres of land to Stogner Bray for $50.
- On 13 February 1878, Rachel and her husband William Farmer sold 6 acres of land to Stogner Bray for $15.
- On 15 October 1879, Rachel and her husband William Farmer sold 2 acres of land to Stogner Bray for $10.
- On 26 January 1880, Rachel and her husband William Farmer sold 10 acres of land to Stogner Bray for $25.
- On 12 January 1885, Rachel and her husband William Farmer sold 8 acres of land to Stogner Bray for $75.
- While they have been advised that the amount paid for the lands is not material to the validity of the claim, they nonetheless argue that in all cases, Stogner Bray paid the fair market value for the lands in question.
- They state that of all the land he purchased of Rachel Bray, only about 20 acres had been cultivated, and even that was in very bad condition.
- After purchasing the land Stogner Bray cleared and prepared for cultivation 50 or 60 acres of land, built two houses, and made other valuable improvements.
- The land is now in consequence worth more than he originally paid, but he paid the full market value when he originally purchased them.
- They do not understand the charge that Stogner Bray obtained the lands by fraudulent means, as only one purchase is mentioned in the bill and it is admitted valid by Rachel, and furthermore several of the purchases were made from Rachel and her current husband, so clearly they were aware these conveyances existed. They argue that the fact that Rachel makes no mention of these conveyances in the bill is effectively an admission that she has no grounds upon which to make the charge of fraud.
- The respondents deny the argument that Rachel did not have the capacity to sell the land, and state that the proof of imbecility rests with the party who claims it (e.g. Rachel).
- They have been advised that unless there is an "essential privation of the reasoning faculties" or "an incapacity of understanding and acting with discretion in the ordinary offices of life" the charge of imbecility is not sufficient to invalidate the conveyances.
- They state that neither of those conditions applies to Rachel and that she has always had sufficient mind, discretion and understanding to make binding and valid contracts. The charges made in the bill to the contrary are untrue and are denied.
- Person without sufficient understanding to make ordinary contracts are incapable of agreeing to marriage contracts and their marriage contracts are void, but Rachel has been married as many as three times during her natural life.
- William Farmer to whom she was married in 1876 is her third husband.
- It is apparent that this is as much suit of William Farmer as it is of his wife.
- It is admitted in the bill that William Farmer is made a defendant solely for the purpose of avoiding the expiration of the statute of limitations.
- After entering marriage with Rachel and being party to the conveyances made after the marriage, he cannot truthfully aver that she is without the capacity to make contracts.
- William Farmer is effectively in the position of a witness that is impeaching his own testimony and they claim he belongs in prison for such action.
- The bill states that the final conveyance (that of 1885) to Stogner Bray is valid and is not included for relief in the bill, but this in inconsistent with charge of incapacity throughout Rachel's natural life. They state this is equivalent to a sworn admission that the sworn charge is untrue.
- The first conveyance was made more than 20 years ago, and the last in 1885, but there is no charge that she has had a change in incapacity over time, or has been more or less capable at one time or another. They state that under these circumstances, and with the original party she contracted with having died, it would take a very strong case not only of incapacity but also of fraud and imposition to find the charge true.
- The respondents are advised that Rachel's first two husbands were divorced from her by judicial sentences at their applications on the grounds of active misconduct by her subsequent to their marriages. These decrees were judicial declarations of her accountability.
- They argue that her entering into 3 marriages, having been examined at the time of the conveyances in question, and the general statement of her neighbors and acquaintances will all argue against the charge of incapacity.
- They are informed that both Rachel and her husband William Farmer have admitted both orally and in writing that the conveyances in question were fair and valid and that full consideration had been obtained for the lands in question.
- They are also informed that Rachel has stated the bill is filed "for aggravation"; that if she wins she will gain but if she not she looses nothing, and that she would procure witnesses to testify to her incapacity by giving the land or other things, and that she would appear in court and "act the fool".
- Stogner Bray left a will at his death in which he conveyed the land in question to the respondents and their siblings (also defendants).
- They are advised that under the will and the conveyances originally transferring the land, they have a good and valid claim to the land.
- They further plead the statute of limitations has expired for the suit, and they deny that the limitation can be avoided by making William Farmer a defendant, as attempted.
- They deny the right of Rachel to call for their private title papers, but they will nonetheless file them in evidence. If she decides to inspect them, she will find them duly registered.
- If the court should find in her favor, they request that she be required to account for all purchase money paid to her, and for the change in land value caused by the various improvements made by Stogner Bray.
Answer of Martha Bray, James Bray, Benjamin Bray, George Bray, and Charley Bray, minor children of Stogner Bray, by their guardian Richard Greene
- Having read the answer of their older siblings, they ask that the arguments made therein be applied to their answer as well.
- They state that their title is valid, and that the statute of limitations has run out.
Answer of Martha Sutton, Sarah Sutton, Mary Sutton, and Margaret Sutton, by their guardian Richard Greene
- They do not know if they have any rights to the property under discussion, but if they do they ask for such orders and decrees as the facts and the law may warrant.
- They ask that the bill be dismissed at the cost of the complainant.
- Richard Greene, their guardian, took oath that the facts in their answer are true.
Deposition of Henry Lee, witness for Rachel Farmer
- Henry Lee is aged 55 years.
- He has known Rachel Farmer since she was a child.
- For about the last 15 years he has lived within 3 or 4 miles of her and has seen her in passing and at her home.
- From her childhood to the war he lived within about a half mile of her and saw her very frequently.
- From her childhood he has always considered her to be of a weak mind and silly turn.
- He does not think she has sufficient mind to deal intelligently in real estate or stock, on account of the way she has disposed of her lands and now has nothing to support herself upon.
- She was once in possession of a valuable tract of land but he now understands she is destitute of the necessities of life.
- He does not think she has sufficient mind to talk intelligently on any subject. He doesn't think she would know the value of a horse or a piece of land or anything of that kind.
- Recently he spoke to her and she looked up and didn't speak.
- On cross examination by Richard Greene, he admits he knows of people who have disposed of their property foolishly, in particular men who drink and then dispose of their property.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed, he says he has no recollection of every trading with Rachel Farmer.
- Prior to her first marriage, it is his understanding she had as a guardian Peter Ogan.
Deposition of John Epperson, witness for Rachel Farmer
- John Epperson is aged about 32 years.
- He has been acquainted with Rachel Farmer for about 20 or 25 years. He lived about 1-2 miles from her and has seen her several times each year. Both parties have moved about some.
- He doesn't consider Rachel a woman of good sense. He has heard her talk and talked with her and she doesn't speak intelligently.
- He doesn't know anything of her trading except what he has heard. He doesn't know of her having anything to trade upon except her land. He doesn't think she would know much about the value of land or of stock.
- He recollects the times she sold her land to Jackson Reed and Stogner Bray, or when he heard that she had sold to them. He doesn't recollect her buying any other property of any kind after the sales.
- Rachel has always lived in a log house and recently a "very sorry" one. She never had much about the house and was never extravagant in any way that he knew of. She has always been very commonly dressed when he has known her.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed, he states he has never traded with Rachel.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed, he states he has only ever talked with Rachel as a neighbor and never talked with Rachel on any particular subject to try the strength of her mind.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed, he states he thinks Rachel has always had some land all the time he has known her.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed, he states he doesn't know of Rachel having any crops, but that she may have rented some lands out since he has known her.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed, he states that Rachel Farmer has a family.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed, he states that he knows "nothing extra" about her being an economizing or industrious woman.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed, he states that a part of the time he has known Rachel she has had children with her.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed, he states that Rachel likely depends for at least a portion of her support on the land.
- On cross examination by Richard Greene, he states that it is 3 to 3 and a half miles from his house to A. Montgomery's.
- On cross examination by Richard Greene who asks if Rachel lived at A. Montgomery's or near there for about a year, states that he does recollect she lived there for a short time but he doesn't remember how long.
Deposition of William Mannon, witness for Rachel Farmer
- William Mannon is aged 31 years.
- He is acquainted with Rachel Farmer and has known her "about as long as he has known anybody".
- Most of the time he has lived inside of 2 miles from her.
- All of the time except a part of one year he has seen her every year and most of the years he has known her seen her frequently every year.
- He has talked with her at different times and on different subjects, and does not think she talks as intelligently as most women do.
- He doesn't think she would know much about the value of land or stock.
- He has heard her say she could not count money.
- About a year ago he was at a store and she stated that she did not know how much money she had and the clerk in the store counted it for her.
- On cross examination by Richard Greene, states that he doesn't know if the incident at the store occurred before or after the bill was filed.
- On cross examination by Richard Greene, states that he hasn't had any dealings with Rachel that he recalls.
Deposition of Isham Sutton, witness for Rachel Farmer
- Isham Sutton is 51 years of age.
- He has been acquainted with Rachel Farmer for about 18-20 years or there abouts.
- A part of that time he lived about 1 mile from her, and the balance of the time not more than two miles from her.
- He hasn't had much conversation with Rachel, but from what he has seen would say she doesn't have much judgement as to what anything is worth but what someone would tell her.
- He doesn't think she would have sufficient mind to know about the value of land or stock. She might "know something about a little mess of meal and she might not".
- He doesn't think she has a mind sufficient to manage her affairs and would be very easy to be imposed upon.
- He thinks her mind has been about the same ever since he has known her.
- Stogner Bray came to his house and asked him to lay of $75 worth of land for Jackson Reed. It was to be laid off next to the land Reed was already in possession of there.
- His understanding was that Rachel Farmer was to give up $75 worth of land in order to get back the remainder of the land that was deeded to Cook.
- They laid off $75 worth of land and the balance was to go back to Rachel. Stogner Bray was acting a her agent.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed and a question as to how he formed the opinion Rachel was unable to manage her own affairs, states he has different reasons. One is that Nelson Epperson asked him why he didn't purchase the land adjoining him, and he stated that he didn't want it because when he purchased land he wanted it, and he didn't consider Rachel competent to make a title sufficient to hold the land, or words to that effect. He recalled that Epperson then stated "there would be no hereafter about it". Epperson said that Stogner Bray had a deed from the woman stating that there was $200 paid, but that there was nothing paid. Another reason he gave was that he hauled some fruit to Jarnigan's for Rachel and Stogner Bray and the clerk showed her some good and she said that she would see what Mr. Bray said about it or words to that effect, and he took it that she would not buy without his consent. He has other reasons, to wit: from the way she has conducted her affairs, her conversation, and her reputation in the neighborhood. "Report is that she deed the land to Cook for him to marry her".
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed and the question "when the land was laid off to me of $75, did you think she was competent to call in referees and attend to her business?", Sutton answered that he went there through the request of her brother Stogner Bray and did not think then that she was competent to attend to her own business.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed, states he has never had any dealings with Rachel.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed and being asked whether he and Wm H. Barner ran a line through what is called the Rachel Farmer land, states they ran one through there called the Nicholson and some one else not remembered, as his (Sutton's) land is bounded partly by said line. The Bray line is west of this line and he is informed that the Bray line strikes it at one place, but that it does not run through it. His own land lies on the east side of the line.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed and being asked whether the line run by Wm H. Barner ran through land claimed by Rachel Farmer, he states that it cut off a little corner she had under fence and that she claimed to the fence. He doesn't know what her deed covered what she claimed. His deed calls for the big survey line and he thought it was his land. States that defendant Jackson Reed stated Barner was running the line correctly in substance.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed and being asked if he knew whether the land he laid off for Reed for the $75 was Rachel Farmer's, states that it was said to be the Bray land and belonged to her "before she fooled it away" and this was what Stogner Bray has told him.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed and being asked whether he knew if the Cook deed was covered by the old Bray grant, states he never saw the Cook deed and does not know whether the Bray grant covered it. The land he helped lay off was said to be a part of the Cook land and was said to be a part of the Bray land before Cook got it.
- On cross examination by Jackson Reed, states that he doesn't recollect the words Rachel Farmer used on speaking to him when he and Barner were running the line through her old field, on account of the fact that he didn't consider her to have much sense. She said something about running through there, and he replied that it was his land on the east side of the line, or something to that effect.
- On cross examination by Richard Greene and being asked about how much he thought it would take to supply Rachel Farmer and her family in victuals and clothing from the close of the war until she married William Farmer, answered that he didn't know "how much it would take to run them plentiful". He wasn't there when they cooked or when they eat. The womenfolk would come to his house and beg for scraps and wanted to wash for them and he has known them to wash for others. He doesn't suppose that they have much plenty to eat. They go "very thin clothed and are very poor folks". States that he recollects they asked to wash for something to eat after she had married William Farmer.
Deposition of James Jackson, witness for Rachel Farmer
- James Jackson is aged about 56 years.
- States that he was acquainted with Stogner Bray, that they were raised up as boys together, lived in the same neighborhood about a mile and a half apart, and that he married Jackson's sister.
- He never heard Stogner Bray say he had paid anything for the lands he got from Rachel Bray.
- Stogner Bray told him he had a receipt for a $200 tract and another $50 or 50 acre tract that would cover the whole place, but didn't say how he got the receipt. It was since the war as near as Jackson could recollect the time.
- He was acquainted with William A. Cook, but doesn't know what became of him.
- Cook stated that he was going to marry Rachel and let Jackson Reed have the land.
- Cook stated that he had or was going to marry Rachel, and Jackson's understanding was that that was why she deeded the land to him.
- Cook didn't say anything about Jackson Reed being instrumental in helping him get the deed, or in marrying Rachel.
- He is acquainted with Rachel Farmer and has known her since she was a child. He does not think her mind is as good as other women "by a whole parcel".
- He does not think Rachel is competent to manage her affairs. He is of the opinion that if she had her lands back he could go to her with five calico dresses and procure a deed for the two tracts of land before mentioned.
- On cross examination, states he has heard of Rachel being married four times. Her present husband William Farmer is a hard-working man. One of Jackson's brothers married her. All of her husbands have done their own trading as far as he knew.
- He never heard Rachel Farmer say anything about her land trades.
- He thinks he was present at Jackson Reed's last fall and had a talk about this law suit. His son Samuel may have been there or not, and he also does not know whether Cornelia Russell was there or not.
- On being asked whether when at Jackson Reed's he stated that if he would give him a certain milk cow and four hogs, he would be a witness for Reed and help him win the case, states that he did not.
- On being asked if he did not further state that if not given the milk cow and hogs, he would go to John Clark's and get a mule to testify for the other side, and that there was money in the case and he intended to be a witness, states that he never made either of the statements.
- On being asked if last fall in the presence of Cornelia Russell, Rucha (?) Bray, Martha Bray, and Abijah Bray, stated that if they would give him a side of bacon he'd be a witness for their side, states that he doesn't "recollect about that".
- On being asked if last fall in the presence of Richard Greene at James Myers stated that if he would pay him, he would testify on his side and gain him the case, and if not he would get a mule to testify for the other side, states that he never made either of the statements.
- On being asked if at the above meeting he tried to get Richard Greene to buy him some coffee in payment for testifying in this case, states that he did not.
- On being asked to state when he was summoned on this case and how he came to be a witness, states that he does not know and that he was summoned at this place today.
Deposition of Preston Reed, witness for Rachel Farmer
- Preston Reed is 57 years old.
- States that Jackson Reed and he are said to be brothers, and that Stogner Bray's wife and Preston Reed's first wife were sisters.
- States that he doesn't recollect that Jackson Reed had much of anything at the close of the war prior to his purchase of the land from Rachel Bray and that if he had anything it was very little. He thinks they had taken his horse from him and that he had no land. He doesn't know of his own knowledge that Jackson Reed had a horse.
- He was raised upon the land deeded to Jackson Reed by Rachel, or near it and knows it well. He doesn't know what it was worth then; lands are higher now than they were then.
- He thinks much of the lands was in woods and thickets when Jackson Reed purchased it. There had been some patches cleared up and fenced. The balance of the timber on the land was standing on the land. There was some good poplar and walnut timber and it was as well timbered as the common broken valley land as he recollects. The present condition of the land is that nearly all that is tillable is cleared. Some of the cleared land is washed and worn. There is an acre or two in the bottom in good fix. Reed has three log houses on the land, a corn crib and a double stable made with two log stables covered with one roof. One of the houses, the big one in which he lives, is about 18 by 20 feet, has a stone chimney at one end and a puncheon floor. The other two houses are smaller and out of repair. He would rather have the land as woods as he purchased it than as it is now.
- Of his knowledge he doesn't know that Jackson Reed purchased any lands of Rachel Farmer. He couldn't say when exactly but he heard Pleasant Johnson and Capt. Hence Barn* say Reed's lands were worth $700-800. Reed said he'd paid Rachel a cow and his wife gave her a black dress.
- He had heard Stogner Bray say about a piece of land between his field and John Clark's in the woods that he gave $10 for it. He said he bought some cleared land part of the Vaughan field and gave Rachel a rifle gun for it. He purchased another piece northwest of his home running from his spring to Jackson Reed's line and said he paid $15 for that. Preston Reed heard him say this about the time he purchased it.
- He recollects Stogner Bray only having one two year old sorrel calf at the time he purchased the land.
- That he knows of, Stogner Bray has never owned any land other than that he got from Rachel Bray.
- He moved to where he now lives about twelve years ago and lived within a half or three quarters of a mile to where Stogner Bray lived before that move.
- He was acquainted with the land before Stogner Bray purchased it. The larger part was in timber when he bought it and there is timber on it now. The land would be worth more in the condition that it was in then than it is now, in his judgement.
- He has known Rachel Farmer since she was an infant and has seen her frequently at all times except for about three years during the war.
- He thinks that some persons could persuade Rachel into doing almost anything, and others couldn't do anything with her. She has no judgement about anything. If she were to go trade about land or stock she wouldn't have any judgement about it.
- He has not seen Rachel in any other state of mind from childhood up and thinks it has always been about the same.
- On cross examination, states that he has never tried to buy any of Rachel Farmer's land. He has heard her say a few times lately that she was going to have her land back, or have pay for it. Her last husband works about some and does his own trading as far as he knows. The idea he has of the land Jackson Russell got including the Cook land is that in the condition he got it it would now be worth about $300-400. He doesn't know what it was worth when he purchased it, but lands were less then than now. He doesn't know what the difference would be.
Deposition of John Clark, witness for Rachel Farmer
- Witness is 58 years old.
- Witness has known the Russell Land and Bray Land since it was deeded by complainant to them, and some time before. He lives about a 1/2 mile to the closest part of the lands and about a mile from the furthest part.
- He has heard Stogner Bray say he paid nothing for the land.
- He thinks that the taxes and improvements on the land are worth about $22.50 annually.
- He originally understood the deed to Jackson Reed to have been a deed of gift. He told Reed that he considered that deed worth nothing as the complainant was a married woman at the time. He wrote the deed showing a consideration of $200 as he recalls, but he doesn't know of anything actually being paid.
- After paying taxes and interests, he believes the rents and sold of timber would be worth at least $15 per year on Reed's lands.
- Abijah Bray, Polly Greene, wife of Richard Greene, Wm Bray, McHenry Bray, Martha Bray, James Bray, Benjamin Bray, George Bray, and Charley Bray, heirs of Stogner Bray have had possession of the land in controversy. Rachel Farmer recovers these lands, and furthermore they owe $176 for rents and proceeds of the land for the eight years they held it.
- Calvin Helton and wife Manerva, Robert Jarnagin and wife Minnie (?), Andrew Falis and wife Lizzie Jane, Joseph Davis and wife Cinda, John Reed, Samuel Reed, Jackson Reed, and Stogner Reed, heirs of Jackson Reed, deceased, have been in possession of the lands in controversy. Rachel Farmer recovers these lands, and furthermore they owe $200 for rents and proceeds for the four years they have been in possession of the land.
- They defendants are also liable for the remaining costs of the bill, to be determined.
- Rachel Farmer owes $50 to Ingersoll and Peyton, $175 to A.J. Tyler, $75 to Samson Williams, $75 to Wm B. Davis, and $75 to H.C. Jarvis as her solicitors in this case. She is to pay these costs within 90 days or the lands recovered will be sold to cover these costs.