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McMullen Co., TX - 10 Nov 1914 - Deposition of James Tope, for claimant, taken at Tilden, Tex.

Court of Claims of the United States

Indian Depredation, No. 1791.

William Talbert v. the United States et al.

Deposition of James Tope, for claimant, taken at Tilden, Tex., on the 10th day of November, A. D. 1914.

Claimant's counsel, Harry Peyton, Esq.; defendants' counsel, John A. Hendricks, Esq.

My name is JAMES TOPE; I am 75 years old; my post-office address is Crowther, Tex. I am not related to W. W. Talbert, and have no financial interest in this claim.

Direct examination by HARRY PEYTON, attorney for claimant:

Question. Did you know W. W. Talbert in his lifetime? If so, when did you first become acquainted with him?

Answer. I had known him before the Civil War. I served in the Confederate Army; was wounded in 1864, and came home, and was at home until the time of the surrender. I continued my acquaintance with him until his death. He was about the largest owner of horses in the Tilden County section during the time I knew him. I was well acquainted with him and had worked through his ranch and knew him well.

Question. Do you know anything of the loss of horses by Talbert, as a result of depredation by Indians?

Answer. Yes, sir. I know that he lost many horses by depredations of the Indians.

Question. Did you ever follow the Indians when they had captured Talbert's horses?

Answer. Yes, sir. I only now remember one time in particular, but suppose I followed them at other times, as I was a young man then and very active in such matters.

Question. Please state the circumstances of the raid and your following the Indains at the time you mention.

Answer. I remember at that particular time Bruce, Yarbobough, myself, and others - I can not now remember all who were along - followed the Indians when they made a big drive through Talbert's range, and got horses from him, and some from others, though Talbert, being a big horseman, was the largest loser in the raid.

Question. Do you remember about what year this raid occurred?

Answer. It was in 1869, and in the summer time. I think it was in August, but it has been so long ago I am not certain if it was august; but I feel positive it was in 1869.

Question. Do you know how many horses Talbert lost at that time?

Answer. It has been so long ago and there were so many horses lost that I can't say how many Talbert lost, but he lost a big lot of them, as he was an awful big horseman in them days.

Question. Do you know about how many horses the Indians drove out on that raid?

Answer. We followed them out through Talbert's pasture or range, and they must have been driving 200 or more horses when we quit the trail. Most of them must have been Talbert's horses.

Question. Do you know what direction the Indians went out of the country on that raid?

Answer. Yes, sir; they went out north, between the Frio and Uvalde and toward the mountains lying in the north part of Uvalde County. They were going kinder northwest.

Question. Do you know what Indians it was who committed this raid?

Answer. Said by the frontiersmen to be Comanches. They went out north or northwest, and we found one or two horses killed on the trail. They had arrows in them.

Question. Were you present when Sam Bruce and Nolan had a little fight with the Indians?

Answer. No, sir; but I was there the next day.

Question. What did you see and what did they say about the occurrence?

Answer. They said that about seven Indians came upon them; that one of the Indians rode out and dared them to come and fight them. This Indian was riding a well-known saddle horses belonging to W. W. Talbert - a horse that I had ridden many times. They said that Bruce wanted to shoot at the Indian, but Nolan would not let him. The Indian kept riding out from the others, daring them to come out and fight, and finally Nolan shot at him and killed the horse. The Indian then jumped on behind another on a horse and they rode off. I saw the dead horse, which I knew well, and Nolan had shot him just behind the head.

Question. Do you know how many of Talbert's horses the Indians got at this time?

Answer. No, sir; I did not follow them and don't remember. This occurred right in Talbert's range. I think the Indians were followed by a crowd, but they started too late and did not overtake them. That is my recollection of it.

Question. Do you know what Indians it was said that committed this raid?

Answer. My recollection is that Bruce and Nolan claimed they were Comanches, and I heard they went out of the country about the same as the others, up north, between the Frio and Nueces.

Cross examination waived.

Recieved from Melody Askins

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