Appalachia, Charles M. Turley, Charleston, Cincinnati, circuit clerk, deputy sheriff, Devil Anse Hatfield, Guyandotte, Guyandotte River, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Henry W. Sentz, history, J.B. Buskirk, John R. Browning, Kanawha County, lawyer, Logan County, Logan Court House, M.B. Mullins, Marion Chafin, P.H. Noyes & Company, pushboats, sheriff, steamboats, traveling salesman, W.W. Adams, West Virginia
On October 27, 1891, P.H. Noyes and Company sued Anderson Hatfield and John R. Browning relating to an 1890 debt. The following depositions provide some details about the case:
NOTICE TO TAKE DEPOSITIONS.
To Anderson Hatfield Sr. and John R. Browning. You will take notice that on the 28th day of March 1892, between the hours of 8 o’clock A.M., and 6 o’clock P.M., at the Law office of Adams and Smith’s at the City of Charleston in Kanawha County, we will proceed to take the deposition of P.H. Noyes and others to be read as evidence in behalf of ourselves in a certain suit at Law pending in the Circuit Court of Logan County, West Virginia wherein you are defendant and we are plaintiffs and if from any cause the taking of the said deposition be not commenced on that day, or if commenced and not completed on that day, the taking of the same will be adjourned and continued from day to day or from time to time, at the same place, and between the same hours, until completed.
Respectfully, P.H. Noyes & Co., By Counsel
Executed the within notice on the within named John R. Browning and Anderson Hatfield Sr. on the 2nd day of March 1892 by giving to each of them a true office copy of the same.
J.B. Buskirk, Dept. for F.M. Chafin, S.L.C.
DEPOSITIONS of Witnesses, taken before the undersigned authority, in and for the County of Kanawha, in the State of West Virginia pursuant to the annexed notice, at the law office of Adams & Smith at the City of Charleston W.Va on the 28 day of March 1892 between the hours of 8 o’clock A.M., and 6 o’clock P.M., of that day, to be read in evidence on behalf of the plaintiff, in a certain suit pending in the Circuit Court of Logan County West Virginia, in which suit P.H. Noyes & Company are Plaintiff and Anderson Hatfield Sr. and John R. Browning are Defendants.
Present: W.W. Adams for Plaintiff and no appearance for Defendant.
Deposition 1: Henry W. Sentz
Q: State your name, age, residence and occupation.
A: My name is Henry W. Sentz. I am 25 years old. I reside in Charleston, W.Va. and am a traveling salesman.
Q: What connection if any have you with the plaintiffs P.H. Noyes & Co.?
A: I am employed by them as a traveling salesman.
Q: Do you know anything about the matter in controversy in this suit between plaintiffs and defendants?
A: I sold him the bill of goods and he paid me in cash the sum of $400 for the residue. He executed the note upon which this suit is based. Since that time he has paid $100 on this note.
Q: Did you ever have any conversation with the defendant Anderson Hatfield in regard to the claim for which this suit is brought? If so, when and where?
A: I am not positive as to the time, but we had conversations in regard to the claim on two or three different occasions before the institution of this suit. These conversations were had at Logan Court House.
Q: State what was said by you and by him in said conversations.
A: He spoke of the debt, and when the note became due he asked for more time on it. He said if we would give him a little more time he would pay it, and I agreed to it as far as I could and explained the matter to the house. This was before the note was sent to Mr. Turley for collection. At the expiration of the time Mr. Hatfield asked should be given him on the note, I had another conversation with him. He still wanted more time, stating that he had a land deal on foot with M.B. Mullins, and said he thought it would only be a short time until the note was paid.
Q: What if anything did he say in these conversations, about the acts on which this suit was afterwards brought?
A: He said the debt was just and he wanted to pay it.
Q: When did these conversations occur?
A: The first conversation occurred about the time the note was due. The note was for three months, I think. The second conversation occurred about two months after the first. Both of these conversations occurred before the note was placed with Turley for collection.
Q: Has the house ever given Hatfield any other credit than the $100 credit above mentioned on the note?
A: Yes. At the time the goods were sold I figured up the amount of the bill. He paid at that time $400 and then sent in the note in controversy for the residue before the goods were shipped. When the goods were shipped, it was found that the amount of the note and the $400 was in excess of the amount of the bill for the goods, and credit was given on the note for this excess.
Q: What if anything did said defendant say in said conversations with reference to the condition of the goods for which this note was given? I mean their condition when he received them?
A: He said nothing.
Q: When did he first claim that the goods were damaged for which the note was given?
A: I can’t give the exact time but it was after the two conversations above mentioned, and before I had put the note for collection in C.M. Turley’s hands, that the defendant stated to me that some of the flour had been damaged, but that he did not blame P.H. Noyes & Co. for it as the goods had been a long time in transit and he did not get them home as early as he had expected to. Part of the flour had lain at Logan Court House for some time, I think in J.B. Buskirk’s stable.
Q: By what route and conveyance were these goods carried in Logan Court House?
A: They were shipped from Charleston to Guyandotte by steamboat, and from there to Logan Court House by push-boat, which is about 80 miles up Guyandotte River. The flour was shipped from Cincinnati to Guyandotte.
Q: When did you first hear of any claim on the defendant’s part and that he was entitled to an offset because said goods were damaged?
A: It was after the institution of the suit I saw the offset filed with the papers.
Q: Has the defendant made any payments on said note except the one of which you have spoken?
A: None that I know of.
Deposition 2: M.B. Mullins
Q: State your name, residence and occupation.
A: My name is M.B. Mullins, Logan County, West Virginia, Real estate dealer.
Q: Did you ever have any conversation with the defendant Anderson Hatfield in regard to the claim of P.H. Noyes & Co. v. him which is in controversy in this suit?
Q: When and where?
A: I think it has been some nine months ago at Logan C.H. We first had the conversation in Buskirk’s store and then in Turley’s office.
Q: What did he say about said debt in that conversation?
A: He and I were on a trade for some land. He said he owed this debt and asked me in connection with the trade to pay it. This I agreed to do provided he could make good title to his land.
Q: At that time, who held this note for collection?
A: C.M. Turley said he had the note for collection. He is an attorney at Logan Court House. And part of the above conversation with Mr. Hatfield was had in the presence of Mr. Turley.
Q: Do you remember anything else Mr. Hatfield said to you about this debt on that occasion?
A: He asked me to write P.H. Noyes & Co. and ask them to give him a little time on this debt until this trade went through and he would pay it, and not to sue him. I did this.
Q: How long ago do you say this conversation occurred?
A: Nine months or more and I think I wrote the letter before I left Turley’s office. The date of the letter will show the date of the conversation.
Q: Did C.M. Turley take part in said conversation between you and Hatfield?
A: Yes, sir. My recollection is that Mr. Turley said he would give us time and hold up on the suit until the title to the land for which we were dealing was examined. Turley also wanted me to write P.H. Noyes & Co. so that they would understand why he had not brought suit v. Hatfield.
Q: Did Mr. Hatfield say anything about the goods Noyes & Co. had sent him being damaged or having any offset against said claim?
A: He did not at that time and I don’t remember of his having ever told me so. My recollection of his language is that he said “it is a just debt and I want to pay it.”
Additional notations derived from the Logan County Circuit Clerk’s Office, Logan, WV:
Law Orders Book G, p. 277 (27 October 1891): initial entry
Law Orders Book H, p. 112-113 (24 November 1892): case continued
Law Orders Book H, p. 113 (25 November 1892): jury could not decide, jury discharged
Law Orders Book H, p. 254 (28 April 1893): no notation
Law Orders Book H, p. 254 (28 April 1893): plaintiff wins $321.95 with interest
NOTE: This case does not appear to have any connection to the Hatfield-McCoy Feud.