ROBERT K. BYRD & WIFE VS. GEORGE W. YOST, E.A. YOST &
Compiled by Robert L. Bailey
R.K. BYRD and wife Mary BYRD vs. George W. YOST, E.A. YOST and R.D. DUNCAN. Be it remembered that this cause came on for trial on Monday the 29 day of June 1868 before Hon. E.T. HALL Judge &c. holding the Circuit Court for the County of Roane and State of Tennessee and a Jury of the country and the following proceeding had to wit.
Samuel A. LADD a witness for the Plaintiff being sworn testified as follows. I lived in Kingston, Tennessee in 1861 & 1862 I know little of the arrest of the plaintiff Mary BYRD in 1862. I know that the rebels were talking of arresting her and they said she should not go to Kentucky the way she wanted to go across the mountains from here but that she should go by way of Cumberland Gap. I was tradeing one day at YOSTS and there was a lot of rebels there and YOST among them Washington YOST said that she was a smart and dangerous woman and she ought not to be allowed to go to Kentucky the way she wanted to go but out to be kept so she could give no information and sent by Cumberland Gap. She was in arrest at the time of the conversation I saw here in Arrest was going up the street in a buggy with her brother on her way to Knoxville dont know who arrested her After she left for Kentucky I heard a talk on YOSTS porch Wash YOST said she had rebel friends who run her through the mountains. She was under arrest when I heard the first conversation and had been so week at least Rebel soldiers had her and they told me she was in arrest Neither(?) YOST was along at the time I only know from what the soldiers said that she was in arrest. The soldiers were in front and behind and some of them at her side when she was going up the Street to Knoxville, Tenn. They did not touch her. (blank) of them had arms at and ???time LADD said saw her ??? in the street walking in the street with soldiers in front of her and at her side some of them armed and the soldiers said she was under guard. She seemed to be under guard. Deft. objected to heersay or witness impression.
Mr. J. BURNETT a witness for the plffs. being sworn testified as follows. I lived here in 1861 & 1862 Dont know exactly about Mrs. BYRD being arrested. I think I saw her under arrest in 1862 Dont know who had her in custody but think it was rebel soldiers. Washington YOST say two weeks before I saw her in arrest that she was a smart and dangerous woman and ought to be sent out of the country He said she could get letters across the mountains and could do devilment(?) to them that her husband was over the mountains and it was best to let her go to him. There were rebel soldiers present when he was talking. Cross Examination. J. GOODLAND W. WASHAM Taylor BOWLING and YOST were talking at the time together They were talking of Mrs. BYRD and not of Mrs. WESTER. Mrs. WESTER was YOSTS sister and her husband was in the Federal Army I do not know that Mrs. BYRD wanted to go to Kentucky but she did go I think she went to Knoxville to Zollecoffer to get a pass to go to Kentucky I think it was inside of a month from the time she went after the pass before she was arrested I think she had been sent there to get a pass and was arrested after she came back I only know that she was told go from hearing.
Zach TAYLOR a witness for the plaintiff being sworn testified as follows I lived here in 1861 & 1862 but I never saw Mrs. BYRD in arrest and do not know of her being arrested I heard G.W. YOST say in 1862 that they better send her off or it would call BYRD in here The conversation was with John GOODLAND a citizen. Cross Examination. I think it was in the spring I heard the conversation in March believe February March and April in 1862 It was in 1868 I said just now it was in 1868 said so because you kept derding(?) me about it see what you would say it was in 1862 in April or May Think it was in May.
Gilbert CHRISTIAN a witness for Plffs being sworn testified as following. I lived here in 1862 never heard Defts say anything about Mrs. BYRD arrest I did hear several persons say she and all other women whose husbands had gone across the mountains ought to be sent to them I saw her start(?) to Knoxville Saw Soldiers going before her and behind her and she and her brother Dr. Tom LEE were in a buggy together It was after I saw her going to Knoxville that I heard conversation hear Defts. say nothing. Question - What party did Defts. act with at that time. Question objected to by Defts. counsel objection overruled. Ans.-To the rebels.
Question. Did Defts. act a prominent part among the rebels - Objected to by Defts. and overruled by the court. Ans.--They did.
Joseph HAGLER a witness for the plaintiff being sworn testified as follows. I was in YOSTS store in Oct 1861 and heard G.W. YOST and Mr. KESTER(?) talking They said BYRD had gone and she ought not to be allowed to stay any more than he shot(?) be could not be allowed to return here. They thought all women ought to join their husbands.
Matilda LEE a witness for plaintiff being sworn testified as follows. I am a sister to plf. Mary BYRD. I know that she received an order through the Post Office in 1862 from Col. CHURCHWELL at Knoxville to report there in 48 hours [to] go out the lines. She went to Knoxville and came back. The order is lost. When she went off she carried it in her wallet and she brought it back in her pocket book and gave it to me. I gave it to Father and he lost it. I only know that he lost it because he said so and we searched for it. It has not been found in his papers since he died that I know of. I know that she went to Knoxville but she did not go right away. He applied to have the order rescIndexd for her to report at Knoxville & in the mean time would not let her go she asked VAUGHN to apply at Knoxville to have the order rescIndexd but CHURCHWELL would not rescind the order. She went to Knoxville because she was compelled to do so, she was sent back because they were fighting at Cumberland Gap. She got a second order to go from CHURCHWELL. It was in writing when Mrs. BYRD went to Kentucky she ran away. She slipped out through the lines Brother went with her to Knoxville and came back together. They told me what transpired at Knoxville is they way I know it. She staid at home ten days after coming back from Knoxville. She did not want to go to Ky. and Col. BYRD aid (sic) not want her to.
All heresay excepted to in the foregoing answer.
W. BARNETT a witness for plaintiff being sworn testified as follows. I invited Mrs. BYRD out to my house in 1862. I got a pass for her to go from the Rebel authorities. I live seven miles out. There were no lines about it the rebels had no lines about here. The pass was given me for her at this place provided. I would give my word that she should come back. I never saw her back here again after that she left my house that night. I was not ordered to appear and account for her now appearance. Never heard Defts. speak of Mrs. BYRDS arrest. She was at her fathers house at the time I got the pass for her. There was no guard about her. Everybody Rebels and all had to get passes. I had to get passes to go out. She was out with me at my wedding.
Frank WILEY a witness for plaintiff being sworn testified as follows. I know nothing of the arrest of Mrs. BYRD. I heard of the wedding at BARNETTS and she came to my house that evening and staid all night she said she was going to Kentucky to her husband. I live six miles out of this place. There was not one with her. My house is on public road to Kentucky. She would be coming towards town to pass my house from BARNETTS. She went toward Kentucky next morning.
Dr. Thomas LEE a witness for plaintiff being first sworn testified as follows. In April 1862 Mrs. BYRD my sister was notified that a letter was in the Post Office here for her. I got it. She gave it to father she said and he said he lost it. He is dead and I am Administrator of his estate. I have not hunted for the paper in particular but have looked all his papers over and it is not any where. The Defts. objected to the introduction of parol evidence of the centence of the letter or order as not the best evidence in the case without proof of loss. Objection overruled by court and witness continued. The letter was an order and was about as follows.
Head Qrs. Dist. East Tenn. Knoxville.
Mrs. BYRD you are notified to appear at these Head Qrs. within 48 hours to pass out side of the Confederate lines. By order of Gen. E. Kerly SMITH, Wm. CHURCHWELL, Col. & Provost Marshall.
We did not go for about 6 days to report to Knoxville Gen. VAUGHN was in around here at the time and kept her at her instance and would not let her go and tried to get the order revolked. He said he was opposed to making war on women and children. He failed and I got a horse & buggy and went with her to Knoxville and reported to CHURCHWELL. There was no guard sent with us from here. CHURCHWELL told us to go down to the Lamar(?) house at Knoxville and stay till he wanted us. We went down. I saw no guard or soldiers when we went into Lamar(?) house when we came out there was a guard in the hall in front of our room but he said nothing to us. Col. CHURCHWELL came out one room in the hotel with us. CHURCHWELL said Mrs. BYRD could not go through the lines at that time but must come back home. He ordered us to go as far as Campbells Station that day and home the next & we did so. After our return she was ordered to report back again to go out of the lines but I was sick and could not go with her and she did not go. A short time afterwards she went out to Col. BARNETTS wedding and did not come back. She went to Kentucky. She asked CHURCHWELL for an escort a company of cavalry as a guard if she went out. She wanted a company from here the VAUGHN had told her to ask for as they were all gentlemen and would use her well.
Samuel A. LADD a witness for Plff. recalled. Question. If at the conversation you spoke of you heard YOST say what they were trying to do with Mrs. BYRD state what it was. The defts. objected to the question and the court overruled objection. Answer--There was an ambition up among the rebels and they said they wanted all women whose husbands were across the mountains to go out of the lines to their husbands if they could VAUGHN who was in command at this place was present he said she ought to be kept safe when she could give no information and sent off Washington YOST said She was a dangerous woman and ought to be sent out and Eldridge YOST said to him You talk too much or too fast.
S.J. DEARMOND a witness for the Defts. being sworn testified as follows. I was a defendant in the case and was dismissed. The agreement between BYRD and I was that if I would pay the costs as to me that is, as to my witnesses, I should be released and in accordance to agreement I came into court and confessed the judgement which is entered against me for the costs I have costs. BYRD said he was satisfied I was not guilty and if I would pay the costs as to me he would let me out and I agreed to do so. W.B. STALEY a witness for Deft. sworn testified as follows I am acquainted with hand writing of Col. BYRD. The letters marked A & B were shown to be and witness said those letters are in the handing writing of Col. BYRD and signed by him. Defts. next introduced the following letter marked (A) written by Col. BYRD the Plf. from Camp Dick Robinson Ky. Sept. 9, 1861 to Gen. F.K. ZOLLICOFFER (here insert letter). The Defts. next introduced the letter following letter marked (B) written by Col. BYRD at Camp Dick Robinson Sept. 9th 1861 to Mrs. Mary BYRD (here insert letter marked B).
James T. SHELLEY a witness for the Plfs. being sworn testified as follows. I was present when Col. BYRD in S.J. DEARMONDS presence stated the agreement between them. It was that he would dismiss the case as to DeARMOND if he would pay the cost as to him it not to effect anything as to the other parties to the case It was not to effect the suit as to the other parties to the case only as to DeARMOND.
This was all the evidence in the case.
The court charged the jury as follows. (Here insert the charge). The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for one Thousand Dollars and the cost of the cause against George W. YOST. And therefore the said defendant by attorney came and moved the court for a rule(?) to show cause why a new trial should be granted and said motion coming on to be heard on the 1st day of July 1868 the same was by the court overruled and disallowed to which action of the court the deft. excepts and in law and tenders this his bill of exceptions which is signed and sealed and ordered to be made a part of the record in this case. E.T. HALL, Judge &c.
Note: In 1871, the case was appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court and the verdict was reversed. A new trial was ordered. It is not stated in the file if a new trial was undertaken as there are no documents from 1871. It may have been dropped.
ROBERT K. BYRD vs. GEORGE PRICE, JAMES FULLER, LARKIN
WARRICK, J.M. PRICE, ALLEN DURHAM, __EDGEMAN, EDWARD MARTIN
- CIRCUIT COURT - 1866
Compiled by Robert L. Bailey
In the Circuit Court Roane County Oct. Term 1867. Be it remembered that this cause came on to be tried on this 14th day of Nov. 1867 at a Circuit Court in and for the county of Roane & State of Tennessee begun and holden at the Courthouse in Kingston in said County on the first Monday after the fouth Monday of October 1867 before the Hon. E.T. HALL Judge &c. presiding and a jury of the county where the following proceedings were had.
The plaintiff introduced James BURNETT who testified that he knew the school house and the school kept by Mrs. BYRD wife of the Plaintiff in the year 1862 knew that the School house was taken possession of by Kincaids Company of Confed. troops Dont recollect who had command at the time. (The Defts objected to all testimony as to the acts of Kincaids Co. or of third parties and the court overruled the objection and permitted testimony to go to the jury) They had headquarters in the house Kincaid and the officers staid in the house. The men camped out side of the house in tents They did not take off the benches kept the arms in the house. There were soldiers there after Kincaids Co. left the house George PRICE was in the Co. FULLER James M. PRICE & Lieut. MARTIN were there WARRICK staid at Blacksmith shop DURHAM was not there EDGEMOND did not see Mrs. BOYD was teaching when they took the house and had a good school 20 or 30 schollars Her income must have been 20 or 30 dollars per month. After the Co. left she did not get possession until the Yankees came in her in 1863.
Col. BYRD was in Kentucky in the army at the time the house was taken Col. BYRD left her in Aug. 1861 Kincaid took possession about a year after Did not see them when they took possession Dont know who took possession There was enclosure about the house where these men left the house the[y] had not injured it they took mighty good care of it.
The Plaintiff introduced A.T. LEE who testified that he was the brother of Mrs. BYRD and was here when she was teaching school in 1862. She was teaching one day and went back the next day and Kincaids Co. had taken possession of the house I went to the house the next day Lieut. MARTIN was there and spoke huckly about Col. BYRD and ??? said he was a rebel Said they wanted the house and were going to keep it. Some of the men of the Co. were in the house Dont know the other defendants. They took possession of the house in February 1862 Mrs. BYRD had no other means of support at the time. She had 40 or 50 schollars & the same amt. of income. The benches were all destroyed by soldiers. She had been teaching 2-1/2 months of a five months term when they took the house I left here in July 1862 they held house them benches all belonged to my sister. House would rent for 5 Dolls. per month. X Examined. They called MARTIN Lieut. was not at home when they took possession Dont know who took possession only it was Kincaids Co. Up to the time Sister left for Ky. 13 weeks after they came Kincaids Co. held the house BYRD and sister married 2 weeks before he left for Ky in 1861.
John TIPTON a witness for the plaintiff testified that he was living here and going to school to Mrs. BYRD at the time the soldiers took the School house I did not know the men but know the Capt. of the Company. It was Kincaids Company. The building was clean and neat where they took it and furnished with seats and desks. They took the Benches to feed their horses in and horses eat them up There were between 40 and 50 pupils in the school.
Note: The outcome of this case is not indicated in the court file.