Valley Southern Claims Commission Papers

Southern Claims Commission: Claim of Christian Landes, 1877, Claim No. 17,923

Summary: Christian Landes filed this claim in 1877 for $444, claiming Union forces under General Sheridan took 3 horses, 2 bushels of hay, 2 cattle, and sheep in 1865. Christian was a farmer in Mount Sidney and a member of the Dunker Church. He had two sons forcefully conscripted into Confederate service. Included is testimony on the Dunkers political and pacifist beliefs as well as testimony from John Yates, the local Postmaster and an "Ironclad Oath" taker. The commission allowed $300.

Items Claimed:

Item Claimed: Amount Claimed: Amount Allowed: Amount Disallowed:
3 Horses & 2 bus hay $360.00 $300.00 $60.00
2 Cattle & 2 Sheep $84.00 $0.00 $84.00

Claims Summary:

Claimant belongs to the fraternity of Dunkards who eschew Politics and war. He was opposed to secession and in favor at the Union. He did not go to the Election when the Ordinance of succession was submitted. He advised his son and sons in law to go North and aided them to do so. His neighbors testify to his loyal conversation & reputation. We find him loyal. Two of the Horses were taken by Gen Hunter's forces in 1864, and the other by Gen Sheridan's Command in 1865. He abandons the claim for the Cattle, on the ground that although he had bargained for them he had not paid for them and they had not been delivered.

We allow $300.

AO Aldis, JB Howell, O. FerrisCommrs of Claims

Testimony: Christian Landes

In answer to the First General Interrogatory, the Deponent says: My name is Christian Landes, my age 64 years, my residence Augusta County, in the State of Virginia, and my occupation a Farmer; I am the claimant, and have beneficial interest in the claim.

2 I lived all the time on my own farm at Mount Sidney in Augusta County.

3 & 4 No sir.

5 Yes sir. I went to Staunton and took it after the war.

6 to 24 inclusive No sir. I had nothing at all to do with them in any way. My age exempted me from military duty and saved me much trouble.

25 Yes, the Confederates camped on my place at Mount Sidney for 4 or 5 days in the fall of 1864 and used a quantity of corn from my fields. They never paid me anything for it.

26 Yes. When I have been asked by the Confederate soldiers to feed their horses and have told them I could not do it, they have threatened to burn my barn down.

27 to 29 inclusive no sir

30 Yes, I have one nephew named Levi Landes, two sons named Jacob and Daniel Landes. Jacob was in the secondhe carried to the county in a sick bed after he denied the Confederate cause and carried him away by force. He was 19 years old when he went. He was forced to go both times. Daniel was conscripted in 1865. He was living near my residence at the time, he was about 30 years old. I gave neither of them any equipment nor assistance when in the service, and would have kept them out if I could have done so.

31 to 39 inclusive No Sir

40 I sympathized with the Union Cause. I thought the rebellion was wrong. I did not vote on the question of Secession. Our church held that the brethren might not meddle with politics, and recommended that we abstain from voting or attending elections. After the state seceeded I still held for the union.

41 I was for the Union from first to last. I could never see any good cause for the rebellion. I never did anything against the cause of the U.S. and was always glad of its success. I am a member of the Dunkard Church.

44 I am a native born Citizen of the United States and I have not through Bankruptcy.

In answer to the interrogatories as to the Property deponent says

I was present and saw my property taken, all except the cattle.

1 & 2 The Black horse and bay mare were both taken at the same time one from a boy I had plowing with them. He was plowing with two and one of them was taken and another from the field. They were taken by the army of Gen Hunter in the summer of 1864, when they were passing through here towards Staunton. The main body had passed along and two soldiers came back while other portions of the army were passing. There was some 20 or 30 men stopped while the horses were being taken and they all passed on taking horses from other persons on the way. The black horse I valued at $125 and the bay mare at $135. They were both good animals and in good condition.

The cattle were taken from the farm of Mr Searight about 4 miles from my place. I had purchased them from him for to butcher, and was to take them at a certain day, but did not get them away and they were driven away by a portion of the army of Gen Sheridan in Sept 1864 as I am informed and expect to prove. The cattle were purchased by weight and I forget the exact amount, but think it was about $80 or $85 for the two.

The dark brown horse was taken from the stable on my farm at Mount Sidney, by a portion of Gen Sheridans army in March 1865 while going towards Staunton.

The Stable was locked and the men broke the door open while I was in my yard, across the road from the farm.

I urged them not to take him, but they told me the less I said, the better for me. There was a large company of men in the party, probably 100 or more. I valued him at $100. He was an excellent farm horse.

There were officers with the party who knew of the taking. I spoke to one of them about it, but it did no good, and further deponent saith not.

Christian Landes

Testimony: Elizabeth Garber

Deposition of Elizabeth Garber as to the taking of Property

I am 33 years old, I live in the same house with the claimant. I am his daughter. During the war, I lived in the same place where I do now until August 1864 when I went west where my husband was.

In the summer of 1864 when the Army of Gen Hunter passed through this place I saw some of the soldiers go to a field near the house where a boy was plowing corn and take the harness from one of the horses and put a sadle on him and ride him away another party next into a field on the other side of the road and took the bay mare from the field saddled her and rode her away. Also, both of them were taken along with the army. They did not leave any other horses in places of them.

The army was a portion of them passing through here at the time the horses were taken. My father was at the house on the porch at the time. It was the first union army that had passed this way during the war. And further deponent saith not.

Elizabeth Garber

Testimony: John M. Perry

Deposition of John M Perry as to the taking of Property

I am 50 years old, a farmer, live near Banks Mill in Augusta County Va.

D I am not related to the claimant and have no interest in this claim.

During the war I was present and saw a lot of cattle driven from the farm of John and George Searight by a portion of the Army of Gen Sheridan, in the fall of the year 1864. I dont know how many cattle were in the lot driven away. I supposed they were Mr Searights cattle. I did not know that Mr Landis had purchased any of them. I heard Mr Searight talking about them afterwards, and he said he had sold two or three head to Mr Landis, I forget which, and that they were left there at his Mr Landis risk, and that he should hold him responsible for them.

I dont know what kind of cattle Mr Landis had bought. Some of those driven away were cows. Some were dry and in good order. The troops were gathering up stock all about the neighborhood at the time and these were driven away with the rest. And further deponent saith not.

John M. Perry

Testimony: Lydia Miller

Deposition of Lydia Miller as to the taking of Property

I am 37 years old. I live 4 miles from Mt Sidney in Augusta County Va. During the war I lived on my fathers farm. The claimant is my father.

I was present and saw all his property taken except the cattle.

The black horse was taken from before the plow while plowing corn in the summer of 1864, by a portion of GenHunters command while passing on the Pike towards Staunton. One of the men put a saddle on him and rode him away with the rest of the Army. Our farm is immediately on the pike and the horse was plowing close by when taken. He was a good sized animal and an excellent saddle horse. He was valued at $125 when taken.

The bay mare was taken at the same time from a pasture field across the road by some of the same troops who went into the field and caught her. And one of them rode her away with the rest of the army. She was a medium sized animal, a good worker and rider. She was worth rather more than the horse.

The brown horse was taken in the spring of the year 1865 a short time before the surrender of Gen Lee by a party of Union cavalry, passing up the Pike toward Staunton. There was a large party of them; they were from 1 Oclk until after dark in passing, marching close to each other.

The horse was taken from our stable and rode away by one of the party.

I dont know who was in command of the troops. I understood they belonged to GenSheridans army.

He was very good horse, was valued at about 125.

And further deponent saith not.

Lydia Miller

Testimony: Abner Shumate

Deposition of Abner Shumake as to the Loyalty of Christian Landes

I am 50 years old a merchant in Mt Sidney. I am not related to the claimant, and have no interest in his claim.

I have known the Claimant 45 years, have lived within half a mile of him nearly all the time, was near him during the whole period of the war. I have heard him talk many times on matters connected with the rebellion. He was opposed to secession and spoke against it as long as it was safe to do so. He alway held that the rebellion was wrong and that it could not succeed. Said he was certain the south would be overrun and the rebellion crushed. He regarded me as a union man and spoke freely with me; sometimes we were alone and sometimes in company with other loyal men, but not publicly.

Whenever the Union forces were victorious in battle, the claimant was rejoiced and would express it when I saw him.

He was generally known and regarded as a union man all through the war. And further deponent saith not.

Abner Shumake

Testimony: John Yates

Deposition of John Yates as to the Loyalty of Christian Landes

I am 65 years old. I am Postmaster at Mt. Sidney. I am an "Iron Clad" Union man. I was imprisoned in Castle Thunder for aiding refugees across the lines, and was sent form there to Staunton for trial and before the time came on, I was released by the Army of Gen Sheridan. I am not related to the claimant and have no interest in his claim.

I have known the claimant 30 years lived about half a mile from him, during the whole period of the war, except when a prisoner. I had frequent conversations with him about secession and the war and all such matters, and he always expressed union sentiments when talking with me. he was opposed to secession and the war. He thought as I did about it, that it was an unrighteous affair, and that it could not prosper. He was a decided union man at heart but like most of us was obliged to be very prudent and cautious in his expressions. In consequence of his union sentiments, his barn was not burnt by Sheridan. And further deponent saith not.

John Yates

Claimant is a very simple minded and peacable old Dunker. Never meddles with public affairs. Is perfectly harmles and innocent.

Isaac P. Baldwin Special Commissioner

Testimony: Christian Landes

Deposition of Claimant

1 My name is Christian Landis. I am 68 years old, a farmer and live at Mt Sidney where I have resided 26 years.

2 I am the claimant.

3 I was born and raised in this county.

4 Where I now live

5 I sympathized with the north all the time from beginning to end.

6 I never did.

7 & 8 I was willing and I did give all the aid in my power. I sent my son and two sons in law to the north through the mountains, and one of my daughters down the valley and they all staid north until the war closed.

9 Two cousins of my first wife named Wenger and several others one a David Landis.

10 No Sir

11 I gave the union troops when camped near me at the time of the burning hay, Oats, bacon and provisions, and my wife cooked for them all day.

12 I stood by the union all the time. I am no polititian. I belong to the Dunker Church. I did not do anything.

13 I adhered to the union all the time.

14 I was always sorry for the defeat, and glad of the success of the union forces as I believed that was the only way to peace, and because the union cause was right. Of course I was sorry for so much slaughter and suffering.

15 I never asked for any

16 I never had occasion to take it.

17 John Yates, Abner Shumate, Daniel and John Miller, John Wampler & Joseph Click were all union men living within one to two miles of here. Some of them wil testify to my loyalty.

18 They threatened various things if I did not feed their horses, for nothing. I did not want to do it.

19 No sir.

20 They took from me 100 bushels of wheat I had at Klines Mill, they never paid me a cent. They made me give them a tenth of my crop one year.

21 to 35 No Sir, to each and every question.

36 My youngest son was conscripted the second year of the war. He was taken by armed men from my house and was killed in the Wilderness. He was taken against my will: I went to Mt Jackson and also to Staunton to try to get him off, but could not succeed. His name was Jacob Landis. I had two cousinsNephews in the service also, one named Henry and one Daniel Landis. They lived about 2 miles from me. I had nothing to do with their going, and contributed nothing towards their support while in the service.

37 & 38 No Sir

39 I took some kind of an oath after the war in Staunton. I reckon it was the amnesty oath.

40 to 43 No Sir, to each question.

44 I have no recollection of voting during the war. There was no union candidates. I did not vote at all on the secession question at eather election. Our church advises us to take no part in elections.

45 to 51 No Sir to each question.

Concerning the property deponent says During the war I carried on buchering and had purchased the threetwo cattle charged in my claim from a man named George Searight who had agreed to deliver to me three head, but butchered one of them himself, and before the others were delivered to me they were taken by the Union forces, and Searight charged them to me and insisted that I should pay for them because I had not taken them away at the time agreed on, so I charged them to the government. I have since been advised that he cannot compel me to pay for them, and I therefore have thought it best to abandon the claim for the cattle, altho I have had no settlement with him.

The charge for the cattle is Abandoned.

The last horse that was taken from me, was a dark brown, or some would say a black horse. He was taken by a party of Union Cavalrymen from my stable. They broke the door of the stable open, and one of the men rode him away with the others going towards Staunton. This was in the spring of 1865. He was a good horse worth at least $100. And further deponent saith not.

Christian Landes

Isaac P. Baldwin Special Commr

Testimony: Elizabeth J. Landes

Deposition of Claimants wife concerning property.

My name is Elizabeth J. Landis I am 40 years old. I am the wife of claimant and live with him. I was married to him in 1871.

In the Spring of 1865 I was living with my own family keeping house about one mile from the claimant on the pike towards Staunton. Claimants first wife was then living, and my sister was living with them where where we now live. Claimant had at that time a dark brown or black horse which my sister used to ride when she came to see me, and which I used to see at claimants place very often, and knew the horse well.

In the spring of 1865, I dont remember the month, a party of union cavalry, said to be a part of Sheridans Army passed up the pike going towards Staunton; and in passing my residence, I saw the brown or black horse of claimants with them, rode by one of the men in uniform, and called the attention of one of my sisters who was visiting with me to the horse, saying "there is Mr Landis's black horse that you have rode many a time." She looked and immediately recognized the horse as belonging to claimant. There were probably two or three hundred in the party, and they all passed on towards Staunton which was the last I ever saw of them. He was a veery fine looking horse, and was called a good one by those who knew him. I saw no other of claimants property taken.

And further deponent saith not.

Elizabeth J. Landis her mark

Isaac P. Baldwin Special Commr

Testimony: John Miller

Deposition of John Miller

1 My name is John Miller. I am 64 years old. I am a farmer and a preacher in the Dunker Church and live near Mount Sidney in Augusta CoVa where I have lived for 30 years past.

2 I am not related to the claimant and have no interest in the success of his claim

53 to 55 I have known him for 30 years or more, have lived within about 1 1/2 miles of the Dunker Church. I frequently saw him during the war, sometimes at Mt Sidney sometimes at church and elsewhere.

56 I had some conversation with him on matters relating to war but not much. He is not much of a talker at anytime, is more than ordinary quiet. When I did talk with him he generally expressed union sentiments, but was rather reticent except when in the company of well known union men.

57 I was not a witness to any acts of his that would indicate his sentiments I have understood that he favored the going north of several members of his family and that they did escape and remained away until the close of the war.

58 & 59 I do not. I dont believe he did any thing in aid of the rebellion that he was not of need to do.

60 I have never heard him spoekn of a great deal he did not meddle with politics. If all were like him there would have been no war. He was generally regarded as a union man by those who knew him as far as I know. And I think he was in favor of the Union cause. I am quite sure he had no sympathy with the Confederate cause.

61 Abner Shumate John Yates, Joseph Glick John Wampler & Daniel Miller were all good union people.

62 I have had a claim allowed by the commrs of claims. I was a decided Union man at all times.

63 to 65 At the time of the burning his barn was spared.

And further saith not.

John Miller

Attest Isaac P. Baldwin Special Commr

Testimony: John Wampler

Deposition of John Wampler

1 My name is John Wampler I am 49 years old, a farmer and live near Mt Sidney where I have resided over 20 years.

2 I m not related to the claimant and have no interest in the success of his claim.

53 to 55 I have known him about 30 years, part of hte time intimately. We are members of the same church and often met during the war.

56 We had some considerable talk about the war and such matters. He was opposed to the war and spoke against it, and against secession. I cant relate conversation, but from his language I always took him to be a union man. When the news of a battle came, it was most always in favor of the rebels. I remember his saying you cant believe that side, I expect when we get the news it will be that the Confederates were whipped. He expressed union sentiments when speaking of these things. He is not much of a talker at any time, and we all had to be on our guard in those days.

He had one son and two sons in law and one daughter who went north during the war and remained there until the war closed. Some of them started from claimants home and he helped them away. I know this because the were started on horseback but found they could not make it, and sent the horses back to claimants house and then took to the mountains.

58 & 59 No Sir

60 He was regarded generally by those who knew him as a union man. I have heard him called a union man by the secesh and probably by others I dont remember; the members of our church were generally union people. There were some secesh among them.

61 John Yates, Abner Shumate, John Miller, Daniel Miller, Joseph Click were all union people.

62 I profess to have been one.

65 Claimants farm was spard during the burning. And further saith not.

John Wampler

Attest Isaac P. Baldwin Special Commr

Testimony: Commissioners' Note Regarding Claim

In the absence of any special commissioner, the Commissioners authorize the taking of further testimony in this case by the clerk of the nearest court of record, but strictly in conformity to the rules for taking testimony for the uses of the Commissioner.

Chas F. Benjamin Clerk.

Commissioners Office, Harrisonburg Virginia, November 22d 1876

Depositions taken, sworn to, and subscribed before the undersigned G. F. Compton, a Commissioner in and for the County Court of Rockingham County Virginia to be used as evidence for, and in behalf of, Christian Landes, upon a Claim No. 17923, before The Commissioners of Claims, under Act of Congress of the Untied States of date March 3d 1871.

Christian Landes, a witness of lawful age, introduced in behalf of himself, being first duly sworn by Affirmation, deposes, and says,

Answer To Question No. 14, on annexed printed Sheet.

I was always in favor of peace, and while I was grieved to see so many persons killed or wounded, I believed in sustaining the Union, and rejoiced in the final termination of the War, but I was too old to take arms, and remained quietly at home.

And further this deponent says not.

Christian Landes

Attest G. F. Compton Comr.

Testimony: Andrew M. Yates

At the same time and place. Andrew M. Yates, a witness introduced in behalf of Christian Landes, being first duly sworn by Affirmation deposes says.

Answer to Question 52, on annnexed printed Sheet. In Christian Landes' farm.

Answer to Question 53. I have known him about 20 years, and have been intimate with him during the whole time.

Answer to Quest. 54. I lived one fourth of a mile from him during the late war and still live at the same place.

Answer to Question 55. I met him a number of times, perhaps once in every two months, or oftener.

Answer to Question 56 I had frequent conversations with him during the war, about the war, and he always expressed himself as a Union man. I can remember his exact words but he always spoke in favor of Union Cause, and desired that there should be no separation.

Answer to Question 57. I know of no particular act done by the Claimant he was an old man, and stayed at home.

Answer to Question 58. I do not.

Answer to Question 59 I have heard John Yates, Peter Sheets + Abner Shumate speak of his being a Union man.

Answer to Question 60 People in the neighborhood said he was a Union man.

Answer to Question 61. John Yates, Abner Shumate & Peter Sheets were all Union men during the War.

Answer to Question 62 Not at first, I lent that way toward the close of war.

Answer to Question 63 No Sir I do not.

Answer to Question 64 I know his language was laways against the Confederacy.

Answer to Question 65 No Sir, I do not

And further this deponent says not.

A. M. Yates

Attest G. F. Compton Comr.

I G. F. Compton do hereby certify that the foregoing depositions were taken sworn to and subscribed before me at the time, and place named in the Caption. Given under my hand as Commissioner of the County Court of Rockingham County, this 22nd day of November 1876.

G. F. Compton, ComrChy.Co.CtRo.Co.

Virginia, Rockingham County, to wit-

I, Joseph F. Logan Clerk of the County Court of Rockingham County a Court of Record, for said County & State do hereby certify that G. F. Compton the person before who the foregoing depositions were taken, and whose name is signed to the foregoing Certificate, is a Commissioner of the County Court of Rockingham County duly authorized, empowered, and sworn, to perform the duties of such Commissioner.

Given under my hand and the Seal of my said County Court of Rockingham County this 22d day of November 1876, and the year of the Commonwealth.

J. F. Logan, Clerk of the County Court of Rockingham County

Bibliographic Information : Southern Claims Commission: Claim of Christian Landes, 1877, Claim No. 17,923, Source copy consulted: National Archives, College Park, RG 217, claim #17923.

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