Valley Southern Claims Commission Papers

Southern Claims Commission: Claim of David W. Landes, 1879, Claim No. 19,565

Summary: David W. Landes filed this claim in 1879 for $150, claiming Union forces under General Hunter took one horse in 1864. David was a 43 year old farmer who lived near Middle River during the war. He hid in the woods to avoid Confederate service and helped others reach Union lines. Included is testimony from two men he helped to escape, Joseph Sheets and George White as well as a Dunker named Abraham Cline. Former Confederate Conscript Officer William J.D. Riley also testified that he attempted to capture David while rounding up deserters but David escaped. The commission allowed $140.

Items Claimed:

Item Claimed: Amount Claimed: Amount Allowed: Amount Disallowed:
One bay mare $150.00 $140.00 $10.00

Claims Summary:

Mr. Landes was a young man engaged in farming in Augusta Co. Virginia, when the war broke out in 1861. He voted for union delegates to the convention-was opposed to secession & did not vote on the ordinance. He avoided conscription, lay out in the woods for that purpose & aided union men to escape service in the unionConfederate army. He was known & reputed to be a union man during the war. He gave no aid to the confederacy whatever & our agent who investigaated the claim on the spot, reports favorably as to his loyalty.

A mare was taken from him by Gen. Hunter's forces in June 1864, soon after the battle of Piedmont.

We recommend the payment of $140.

AO Aldis, O. Ferris, JB HowellCommrs of Claims

Testimony: David W. Landes

Deps taken by Harvey Risk, at Staunton, Feby 26/73

David W. Landes Augusta Co.Va, No. 19565

Claimant was 25 in 1861 and now resides near Staunton. During the war he resided on Middle River, Augusta Co. on his farm of 91 acres-75 in cultivation.

Never was connected in any way with the civil or military service of the Confederacy was exempt by Medical Board for the first two years of the war and afterwards hid out in the woods. Aided union men to make their escape and to keep out of the rebel army-furnished them with nothing Sympathized with the union-his feelings were always for the union-voted for Union Candidates to the Convention. Did not vote for the ordinance of secession.

Account Bay Mare-$150 The mare was taken in 1864 (June) from the field of Wm Link

Witnesses-Wm A Houff, James T. Quick, JW Sheets, G.W. White

2 Ans. I resided on Middle river, Augusta County. I owned 91 acres about 75 acres in cultivation, the balance in timber. I was farming. I did not change my residence.

3 Ans. I never passed the military or naval lines of the United States during the war.

4 Ans. I never took an oath of any kind to the Confederate States.

5 Ans. I took an amnesty oath in Staunton, Va. after the close of the war, in 1865. I never asked for a pardon.

6 Ans. I never was connected in any manner, with the civil service of the Confederate States.

7 Ans. I never held any office or place of trust honor or profit under the Confederate Government or any State or territory.

8 Ans. I never held any clerkship or employment of any kind for the benefit of the Confederate States.

9 Ans. I never was in any capacity, in the military or naval service of the so-called Confederate States, State or territory.

10 Ans. I never was an officer or soldier.

11 Ans. I never was in the Malitia of any State during the war.

12 Ans. I had nothing to do with the home guard or any committee during the war.

13 Ans. I never was conscripted.

14 Ans. I furnished no substitute.

15 Ans. I had nothing to do with any branch or department of the Confederate Government.

16 Ans. I never was employed on any Railroad or to transport soldiers or to do any thing for the benefit of the Confederacy.

17 Ans. I at no time had charge of supplies, team teams wagons or trains of any kind at all for the use of the Confederacy.

18 Ans. I never was in any kind of service connected with the Confederate Government, Army or Navy, for the reason that I was exempt by the Medical board for the two first years of the war, and then I hid in the woods to escape service. I never give information.

19 Ans. I never was employed or assisted others in the manufacture of any thing for the use of the Confederate States, the Army or Navy.

20 Ans. I never was in any way employed in the collection, impressment or purchase or sale of stores or supplies, for the use and benefit of the Confederate Government or any State in rebellion.

21 Ans. I had nothing to do with any blockade running, or illicit traffic, of any kind or for any purpose.

22 Ans. I never left the Confederate States during the War.

23 Ans. I had no interest in any vessel of any kind or upon any waters.

24 Ans. I never was arrested by the Confederate Government. Nor by the United States.

25 Ans. I had no property taken by the Confederates, except some Corn, for which I never received any pay.

26 Ans. Never, except as rumored.

27 Ans. I never was molested or injured.

28 Ans. I never made any contribution to the United States Government, or in aid of the Union Army or its cause

29 Ans. I done nothing more, except to aid Union men in making their escape and keeping out of the rebel army.

30 Ans. I had two brothers, Daniel B. & Henry Landes, they are now living near Mt. Sidney, Augusta Co.Va.

31 Ans. I never owned a Confederate bond or did anything to support the Credit of the Confederate States.

32 Ans. I never give aid or comfort to the rebellion.

33 Ans. I never was in Canada, and made no raids from anywhere.

34 Ans. I had nothing to do with any one held as prisoners or otherwise for political causes or otherwise.

35 Ans. I never was a member of any Society or association, for any purpose whatever.

36 Ans. I never was a parolled prisoner of the United States.

37 Ans. I never held an office in the Army or Navy of the United States, nor educated at any Military School.

38 Ans. I never had a pass.

39 Ans. I never was under any disability.

40 Ans. I sympathised with the Union. My feelings were always for the Union, and I voted for Union Candidates to the State Convention. I did not for the Ordinance of Secession, afterwards I adhered to the Union.

41 Ans. In conclusion I do solemnly declare that from the beginning of hostilities against the United States to the end thereof. My sympathies were constantly in favor of the cause of the United States, and that I did nothing of my own free will and accord nor offered, sought or attempted to do anything by word or deed to injure or retard its success, and I was at all times, when called or if called upon, to assist the cause of the Union, or its supporters, so far as my means and power and the circumstances of the case permitted.

Testimony on Taking Property

1 Ans. I was not present when the horse was taken. Nor did I see him taken, but saw him in the possession of a soldier.

4 Ans. The Mare was taken from the grass field of Wm. Link, on Thursday after the Piedmont battle, in June 1864. I knew no name. There were 6 or 7 soldiers, in company when I saw my mare, I supposed one to be a Captain.

5 Ans. There was no one present.

6 Ans. I think there was a Captain, but I did not hear his name. but I heard no regiment or Command. I did not say anything to any of them about my taking my Mare.

7 Ans. I did not see the Mare taken.

8 Ans. When I saw my Mare, she was mounted by a Soldier, with all the rigging on her.

9 Ans. I suppose she was taken to Staunton as they were going in that direction.

10 Ans. I do not know what use they made of the Mare.

11 Ans. I made no complaint to any one.

12 Ans. I asked for no receipt.

13 Ans. The Mare was taken in the day time about 12 Oclock when I saw my Mare in their possession.

14 Ans. The nearest encampment was at Staunton, about 6 miles distant. The Army was in Command of Genl. David Hunter. They had been at Staunton 2 or 3 days. I do not know how long it stayed. The battle at Piedmont on the previous Sunday. I knew no officer connected with the Army.

15 Ans. The Mare was a bay, about 7 years old, I suppose 15 hands high, every way sound, in good condition, well broken every way. I would not have taken less than $150.00. I never received any pay for her.

David W. Landes

Testimony: William A. Houff

Deposition of Wm. A. Houff

Ans. to first question My name is William A. Houff, my age 50 years, residence near Staunton, my occupation a farmer. I am not related to the claimant, and have no interest in the claim. I was present and saw the claimants Mare taken.

3 Ans. The Mare was in pasture in a field of Wm. Link, and about 1/2 dozen soldiers engaged in catching the Mare, after cathcing her, they took her out of the field and started leading her off in the direction of Staunton. They were probably a regiment of Soldiers a short distance around.

4 Ans. The Mare was taken from a field, about 12 or 12 Oclock, on Thursday after the Piedmont fight in June 1864. They were only a few minutes in the field.

5 Ans. There was no one present with me.

6 Ans. I do not know whether there was an officer present or not.

7 Ans. The Mare was caught in the field, and lead off. I heard them say they had gotten to good ones, (the other being the Mare of James Y. Quick)

8 Ans. The Mare was led from the field by a soldier who was mounted.

9 Ans. They left in the direction of Staunton, I did not follow to see.

10 Ans. I never saw the Mare after that time, and do not know for what she was used.

11 Ans. I know of no complaint being made. Nor of no voucher being given or asked for.

13 Ans. The Mare was taken in day time, about 11 or 12 oclock

14 Ans. I knew of no Camp nearer than Staunton, about 7 miles off. General David Hunter commanded the Army. I understood they got to Staunton on Monday, some 3 days previous to taking the Mare, I heard they left Staunton on Friday. The battle at Piedmont took place on the Sunday previous. I knew no officer connected with the Army.

15 Ans. The Mare was a bay. I suppose about 7 years old, of good size, she was a fine condition, perfectly sound as far as I knew. She was well broken to harness and saddle. I would have been willing to give $175. in good money for her. I have never consulted with the claimant about the value of the Mare. He never received any pay that I knew of.

William A Houff

Testimony: James Y. Quick

Deposition of James Y. Quick

Ans. to 1st question-My name is James Y. Quick, my age 37 years residence near Staunton, and a farmer. I am not related to the claimant, nor have no interest in the claim. I was not present when the Mare was taken and did not see her taken.

3 Ans. I saw the Mare in the possession of Soldiers, soon after not far from the field, where I know the claimants Mare was.

4 Ans. I suppose the Mare was taken from a grass field of Wm Link, for I know she was in that field. This was on Thursday after the Piedmont fight, June 1864. There were I suppose there was about 6 soldiers together when I saw the horse, but a large number not far off.

5 Ans. I was alone when I saw the Mare.

6 Ans. I know of no officer being present.

7 Ans. I did not the Mare taken.

8 Ans. A soldier was riding the Mare when I saw her.

9 Ans. I do not know where the Mare was taken.

10 Ans. I never saw the Mare after that day.

11 Ans. I never heard of any complaint being made.

12 Ans. I know of no receipt being given.

13 Ans. The Mare was taken in the day time I suppose about 10 to 12 Oclock.

14 Ans. The nearest camp was at Staunton about 7 miles. The Army camped there was commanded by Genl. Hunter. They remained in Camp about 4 days. I knew no officer in the Army.

15 Ans. The Mare was a bay, she was not old, of good Medium size. She was sound as far as I know. She worked well and rode tolerably I think she would have been cheap at $150- and would have brought more I think where she was known. I do not think I ever talked with the Claimant about the value of the Mare.

James Y Quick

Deposition of Same witness as to the loyalty of the claimant.

Ans. I have known the claimant 15 years. I was intimate with him during the War, we lived about 300 yards a part, we talked together about the war nearly every day. He was very bitter against secession. We have talked in presence of others, and he was always firm for the Union. His neighbors all had confidence in his integrity as a Union Man. He regarded me as a Union man. I never knew him to do anything for the Confederacy. I knew that he assisted all he could in feeding and keeping men out the rebel Army. This was in the two first years of the War, and the last he was hiding and escaping himself. I am sure that he could not have proven any loyalty to the Confederate States, had they gained their independence.

James Y. Quick

Testimony: Josiah Sheets

Deposition of Josiah W. Sheets.

Ans. My name is Josiah W. Sheets, my age is 30 years. My residence is near Mt. Sidney. My occupation a laborer. I have known the claimant some 14 years. We were intimate during the war, I lived about one mile, from the claimant. I was with him a great deal during the War. When I was hiding he sent for me to come to his house, he fed me, and helped me me all he could in keeping out the clutches of the rebels. He knew I was a Union. I have no recollection of hearing him talk in the presence of others. His Union neighbors had confidence in him as a Union man. I never knew him to do anything for the rebels in any way. I know that he fed and lodged Union men who were escaping the rebel service. I went North in 1863 April.

I would not have testified to his being at all loyal to the Confederate Government nor could he have proven by any of his neighbors, if the Confederates had gained their independence.

Josiah W. Sheets

Testimony: George W. White

Deposition of Geo. W. White

My name is George W. White my is 45 years, reside near Verona P.O. Augusta County, Va. I am not related the claimant. I have known the claimant about 14 years, I lived about 1/2 mile from him during the war. I was intimate with him, I talked a great deal with him about the War. He was always opposed to secession. I heard him express himself to others, and he never changed, he knew my sentiments. The general opinion of the neighborhood was that he was a Union loyal man. I know of nothing that he ever did for the rebel cause. I knew him him to use his influence to keep men out of the rebel Army, and he fed and lodged many, who were escaping from the rebel service. The last part of the War, he was hiding himself. He could not shown any loyalty by witnesses in his own neighborhood. I am satisfied from what I know of the claimant that he was and is a true friend to the Union cause.

Geo. W White his mark

Testimony: Abraham Cline

19565 David W. Landes, Augusta Co. Va. Staunton, Va. Oct 15/79

Abraham Cline being sworn deposes & says:

I am 55 years old, farmer, & live on Middle River about 7 miles from Staunton, & about 1 1/2 miles from where claimant lived during the war. I have known him ever since about 1852. During the war there were two little farms between us. I had to pass right through his place to go to Cline's Merchant mill, and would nearly always see him then, and I often met him at other times & places, & the most of our conversation in those days was about the war. I do not know how he voted, or whether he voted at all on the ordinance, but I remember that I went to Mt Sidney that day intending to vote against it, but I found the excitement so great that I went home without voting. I cannot now recall any particular conversation that I had with Mr Landes in 1861 or at any other time during the war, but I know that I thought he was a union man all the time, and his neighbors thought so too. I heard some of the neighbors abuse him for not going into the rebel army or service. As early as February 1863 the conscript officers got after us, and I left house the 15th of February & went west, and was gone about 6 months, paid my fine as a Dunkard & then came home & staid there. After that I knew that Mr Landes & some others were hiding out in the cliffs along the river. Their head-quarters was a part of the time were on the hill near my house. They would stay there in the day time and go other places & stay at night. From that time on to the end of the war I know Mr Landes was hiding out whenver there was any danger from conscript officers. I know that he hid Jo Sheets in his own house for several weeks, and this was before I went west. Geo. White was with Jo Sheets, and they were hiding together. Mr Landes did not go into the Rebel Service at all as I know of, and I never knew of his doing any thing for the rebels, and don't believe he ever sympathized with the rebel cause.

Abraham Cline

Attest Wm Richards, Special Commr & Agent

Testimony: William J. D. Riley

Staunton Oct. 15, 1879

William J. D. Riley, being sworn, deposes & says:

I am 44 years old, plasterer by occupation, and live in this town. I first knew Mr David W. Landes in 1863 or 1864. I was then in the service of the Conscript office & it was my duty to go after conscripts & look up deserters. I went into Mr Landes' neighborhood after him and 6 or 7 others. Mr Landes was pointed out to me. He saw me and ran. I pursued him and hallooed "halt." He wouldn't halt. The I shot at him & got down off my horse & took after him, but he escaped. I continued to look after him up to the surrender but never caught him. I was told all the time that he was a Union man.

William J. D. Riley

Attest Wm Richards, Special Commr & Agent

Testimony: David M. Landes

Staunton Oct. 15, 1879

David W. Landes being sworn deposes & says

I am the claimant in this case, am now 43 years old, & live now in Staunton. I was a democrat before the war, & voted for Stephen A. Douglass for President in 1860. I never believed in the doctrine of secession, nor in the Virginia doctrine that it was my duty to go with my State. I beleived that my first allegiance was due to the National Government. I think I voted for the Union candidates for the Convention; if I voted at all I voted for them. On the day the vote was taken on the Ordinance, I did not go to Mt Sidney at all, which was the voting place of any precinct. But I came here to Staunton and was here in front of the voting place at the Court House. My neighbor, Peter Houff, tried to persuade me to vote for the Ordinance. At that time I could have voted at the Court House. But I refused, and did not vote at all. My name is not on the Staunton poll-book, & it ought not to be on any book, and I have not seen it on any book. The names of D. Landes, and David Landes that appear on any of these poll-books are the names of other persons, and all relatives of mine. I was a Union Man from the beginning to the end of the war, was always opposed to secession, and I always wanted the Union causee to succeed.

David W. Landes

Testimony: William Richards


Washington, Oct. 21, 1879

I saw the claimant in Staunton, Va., where he now lives on the 15th instant, and took the deposition of Abraham Cline, a former neighbor, who happened to be in town that day, and who testified to Claimant's loyalty. I also took the deposition of Wm D. J. Riley, who was a conscript officer for the Confederates, and testified that he got after claimant at one time and shot at him because he would not "halt," and says that he continued to look after him till the Surrender.

I also took the deposition of claimant mainly for the purpose of having him explain fully as to his voting or not voting on the ordinance. He said that he left his home precinct (Mt Sidney), and went to Staunton that day, and did not vote at all any where. I went with him and his attorney, A. H. Fultz, Esqr, and examined the poll books in the Clerk's office containing the Votes on the Ordinance in May 1861. I took particular care in reading the names on the Mt Sidney and Staunton poll boooks, and several others, and did not find the name of David W. Landes on either of them. Mr Landes is carrying on a grocery & provision store in Staunton, and seemed to me to be a substantial business man, straightforward + truthful. I beleive he was loyal to the cause and governmet of the Union throughout the entire war.

Respectfully Submitted

Wm Richards, Spel. Agent

Bibliographic Information : Southern Claims Commission: Claim of David W. Landes, 1879, Claim No. 19,565, Source copy consulted: National Archives, College Park, RG 217, claim #19565.

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