Southern Claims Commission

Submitted by Lynn

(Many of these pages are extremely hard to read)

These notes are only a small portion of the information in this large file. I will try to add to it as I have time.

Claim of John D. Arbuckle of James Fork, Ar #13832 
May 9, 1872



Mules, Mares, Horses, Cattle, Hogs, Bacon and Corn - $10,000.

Item 1 - 8 mules.  No direct proof as to the taking of mules.  the probabilities are that most of the mules were taken to Texas when the colored people were sent South and what there was left on the place were most likely ridden to Ft. Smith by the negroes as soon as the Federal army appeared.

Item 2 - 10 horses.  Louisa Arbuckle says she knows that Col Clouds men took about one dozen mares, one mare was fat and the soldiers took the well rope to lead her off. After that there was some mules and colts taken, don't know how many they did take don't recollect anything about the taking of cattle corn or hogs they were taken at different time, one time the indians came and took some cattle, was robbed at different time by both sides.  Yankees robbed them the most.

Item 3 - 200 cattle.  No direct testimony as to this taking of cattle, probable there was not more than 50 head of cattle left there to take, as they appear to have been used up by the rebels before the federals got into the country.

Item 4.  550 head of hogs.  From the evidence of the negro hands on the place, it appears that the hogs were nearly all gone before the Federals came into the country.  The taking of any hogs by the U.S. troops is exceedingly doubtful.

Item 5.  5000 lbs bacon.  Colorerd witnesses the old hands on the place say there was no bacon there, as when the  yankees came they were using fresh beef and pork for meat.  A.A. Bridner? says he took 1100 lbs of bacon from claimants place in the spring of 1864, and the claimant got a receipt for it, from Capt Leland of 13th Kan Infts who was brigade QM at the time.

Item 6 - 4000 bush corn.  Harrison Reed(cold) was at claimants place in Dec 1863 with a forage train and there was nothing there to take.  A.A. Bradner in the spring of 1864 visited the claimants place twice with a train of 25 wagons each time and hauled them full of corn to Ft. Smith, always gave receipts for all property which was taken.  The receipts which witness gave to Arbuckle did not have written on them "payable on proof of loyalty" as was usual where loyalty was doubtful, Arbuckle was considered loyal.

Witnesses examined -

John Buchanan - 44-Farmer 2 m. E. of Ft. Smith.  tolerable intelligent and seems to tell the truth.  Is one of claimants previous witnesses 11727 Asa Clark. TESTIMONY - During the war witness once asked claimant to permit him to stay at his house all night, when the snow was on the ground.  Claimant refused because he said he heard that witness leaned to the Yankees.  claimant was reputed to be a strong southern man, and it was said he equipped his son to go into the rebel army.

Jas. C. Bourland. 42. Farmer. 1 M.W. Ft. Smith I.T. Captain in the rebel army was well acquainted in Ft. Smith in the time of the war. Is a man of considerable intelligence. TESTIMONY -saw claimant about every two weeks in the early part of the war at Greenwood and Ft Smith.  Claimant was considered somewhat of a union man.   don't know of his doing anything for the U.S. Witness had no reason for considering him union except the opinion of the people in his neighborhood. (Another testimony) Says that the social standing of John D. Arbuckel was fair with everybody.  Don't think that he was ever molested on account of his union sentiments, was well liked by everyone.

John T. Hurley. 36 - Attorney - Ft. Smith, was in the rebel army is a man of considerable education appears truthful. TESTIMONY - Always understood that Arbuckel was in favor of the south and gave quite litteraly towards fitting out his sons company for the Confederate service, it was a common report that he mounted all the men of his son's company with his own horses.  Claimants general reputation was that of an ardent southern man.

Edward Green . (cold) 21(or 28). Laborer Ft. Smith.  former slave of Mr. Arbuckles.  is a negro of more than ordinary intelligence and education. TESTIMONY - Lived on claimants place till the spring of 1862 and then went to live on the place of Wilkinson Clints? (another TESTIMONY) Says most of the mules were driven off to Texas.  And the greater part of the cattle and hogs on the place had been driven off or killed by the rebels at the time witness left for Texas. Saw the rebels drive the cattle to their camp, and kill them for beef, and they killed the hogs wherever they found them.

Joseph Robinson(cold) 36 Laborer Ft. Smith.  Former slave of Arbuckle.  is a yellow man of intelligent appearance, very careful in his statement. TESTIMONY - Was sent to Texas, just before the Federals came to Ft. Smith, was sent in charge of claimants son in law Carroll.  Claimant was on the southern side strong, he took care of soldiers widows and fed them.  claimant got Barney Macklins brother to go into the rebel army where he got shot at Oak Hill, also got Eli Brewer to go into the rebel army,  These were hired men who worked on his place.  Bought a fine horse for his son David to go into the rebel army ???, heard him curse and abuse the yankees when he got mad with his hands, he would throw up to them that they thought they were going to be free, but they were not.  claimant first sent his hands to Pope Co., Ark., and afterwards just before the Federals came to Ft. Smith, he went them to Texas with his son-in-law Carroll.  Never heard of claimant being threatened or molested by the rebels understood that there was some cotton burned on the place, and that claimant furnished cotton to the rebel hospital at Ft. Smith.  After the Federals came claimant professed to be with them and since the war he has been a republican and run for office. has a very slick tongue and could talk sweet to all sides.  There was a company of rebels came to claimants house one night and got supper, and breakfast, and when Arbuckle went what? to the gate in the morning, he knocked over one of their guns, and it went off and shot him in the let.  Witness was at home at the time, rebels always got their meals, and lodgings free at Arbuckels. (another TESTIMONY) Says there was very few hogs left on claimants place when witness was sent to Texas.  Claimant furnished the rebels some, and they took a good many themselves, there was not over 50 head left on the place, little and big.  Can't tell the amount of cattle there was left as they ran in the range there might have been 200 or 300 head.  There was some horses left on the place, don't know how many.

Robt. Green(cold. 43. Laborer.  Ft. Smith, former slave of John D. Arbuckle.  used to herd the hogs on the Arbuckle place, is a man of tolerable intelligence.TESTIMONY - Lays that Arbuckle was strongly in favor of the rebels.  furnished his son's company with provisions for two weeks before they joined the main rebel army. Witness himself by claimants order drove cattle to them, they used about two head a day for about two weeks.  At the time that David Arbuckles company was organizing there was two loads of shotguns and rifles brought to the claimants house and unloaded.  Arbuckle the claimant took charge of the guns till the company was formed when they came to the house and got them; the same wagons which bought the guns also bought 50 or 60 black felt hats for the rebel soldiers.  Rebels never bothered claimant on account of his Union sentiments.  Witness was sent to Limestone Co., Texas in charge of claimants son-in-law Wilkinson.  There was another lot of negores sent down with claimants son-in-law Carroll.  Arbuckle said they were sent away to keep the Yankees from getting them.  Mrs. Louisa Arbuckle was just like the calimnat, she made clothes for rebels.  Witness brother was a body servant of David Arbuckle, witness remembers that David came back home once or twice and that Mrs Arbuckle sent back clothing on a pack mule. (another TESTIMONY) Not many cattle left on the place when witness left there in Aug 1863 when the hands went to Texas they took 75 or 80 head with them, there was not over 50 head left on the place, and on the range little & big;  This witness used to attend to the cattle and hogs.  There was not many gentle hogs left on claimants place for the rebels would come and gather corn from the fields sometimes they would stay a week at a time and would kill hogs all the time, the colored people also got to killing hogs when witness left in Aug 1863, there was only a few wild hogs running in the bottoms, n o corn in the fields and cribs, the rebels had gathered it knows there was no bacon on the place as the colored people had been living on beef cattle for some months before they went to Texas. When the colored people were sent south they had 15 wagons, with from two to four mules hitched to each.  There was also some loose horses along besides the caddle horses used for herding cattle. 

Henry Taylor(cold) 35 - yellow man.  former slave and previous witness.  evidently friendly toward claimant seems to have been posted not to say anything against him, this witness is said to be a son of John D. Arbuckle. TESTIMONY - Thinks claimant was in favor of the north but when the confederates went there he stuck with them, to tell the truth it was hard to say which side he was on.(Another TESTIMONY) Knows of nothing supplied to the rebels soldiers except David Arbuckle came home once and got some clothes, his servant William also came back once and got clothes.  Claimant fed confederate soldiers, never knew of claimant doing anything to show that he was in favor of the U.S.  Claimants neighbors were friendly with him.  claimant was friendly with the rebel soldiers when the came about.

Chas. Tayler.(cold) 50.  Farmer and former slave of John D. Arbuckle;  was in 83d U.O. Cold. Infty.  Appears intelligent and observing. TESTIMONY - Claimant one day told witness that the war was about the negroes, and that the government would free them, and pay their masters 300 dollars apiece for them. (another TESTIMONY) Thought that Mrs. Louisa Arbuckle was in favor of the south from her conversation, knows that there was some guns bought to Arbuckles place in wagons, kept there for a time, and then given to David's company, witness saw the guns himself, witness children were all in favor of the south like Mrs. Arbuckle. (another TESTIMONY) Says there was a good deal of stock left on the place when the colored people were sent South, don't know how much.  Witness himself rode one of claimants mules to Ft. Smith when he went there to ??? the yankees.

Jas. Green(cold) 27 - Farmer, former slave of Arbuckle-is a stupid negro. TESTIMONY- Was sent sough with clmts daughter Mrs Wilkinson just before the Federals came to Ft. Smith.  went to Limestone Co., Texas and remained there two years.

Ben Kiah(cold) 27-Farmer-former slave of Arbuckle-is a young and stupid negro. TESTIMONY - Was sent to Texas before the yankees came to Ft. Smith

David Arbuckle .40. Farmer.  son of claimant, and a previous witness, is a man of weak character, and disingenuous look but probably came pretty near telling truth, altho an unwilling witness. TESTIMONY - Lays his father was in favor of the Federals. (Another Testimony) Claimant bought a horse for him to go into the rebel army from Mr. Luce.  When claimant went to Churchills rebel regiment of mounted infantry.  At the time witness was organizing his rebel regiment, he went to claimants farm, and got such supplies as he wanted, remembers that he got some blankets from home at one time, and such other supplies as beef ??? & meal.  claimant never made any objections witness taking what he wanted.  Witness command was camped near claimants place for about two weeks, witness sisters were all in favor of the confederacy.

Louisa Arbuckle - 60.  Widow of John D. Arbuckle and proseautor of this claim, is an elderly woman and seems intelligent enough to give very evasive answers to questions about loyalty, seems to have a short memory as to what claimant and herself did to help the Confederates. TESTIMONY - Claimant was a Union man - witness never heard him express himself. (another TESTIMONY) Can't say what she thought about the war, if she was going to die this minute can't say that she thought much about it.  claimant bought a horse for their son David to go into the rebel army.  When David was making up his own rebel company, he might have got some blankets and other supplies from claimants own plantation.  Witness don't recollect what he got.  Witness may have made clothing, and people in the neighborhood may have sent things to claimants house to be forwarded to David's company.  Witness doesn't recollect such little things as that, the rebel bushwhackers would come and take what they wanted, they could not help themselves.  sometime there would come two or three rebel scouts a day, then once or twice a week.  At the time that Claimant was shot in the leg there was a rebel scout at the house, they had staid there the night before.  All of the children took their slaves south just before the yankees came to Ft. Smith in 1863.  One of Claimants slaves who went south was named Wm. Green. (another TESTIMONY) Saw a great many of the things taken, but can't remember what was taken, nor who did it.  Barney Macklin who appears to have been principal property witness before was very sick and his mind weak at the time of agents visit to claimants.  Col Blount took some of the property.

J.B. Luce 60.  Attorney.  Appears to be a gentleman who intimate and confidential with John D. Arbuckle their families are friendly and visited each other. TESTIMONY - After the state of Arkansas had seceded, the claimant was decidedly in favor of the Confederates.  Arbuckle talked to witness on one occasion about raising a regiment for the Confederate service, this was early in the war. Afterwards the Claimant applied to witness for corn meal for one of the families of men in his son David's rebel company.  Furnished meal and flour to said soldiers familys up to some time in 1862.  Claimant paying for the same.  Witness sold claimant a good horse for his son David to ride in the rebel army.  Cotton was burnt in that neighborhood in compliance with an order from the rebel general Hindman without regard to the political sentiments of the owners.  Claimant told witness that he helped to chunk up the fire while his own cotton was burning.

Thos H. Carter - 57 - Farmer 21 miles E. Ft Smith.  Appears a reliable and honest man. TESTIMONY -Claimant assisted to organize a company of rebel home guards of which his own in law Wilkinson was an officer - understood that claimant furnished arms from his house for the company.  When witness went south a few days before the Federals came, Claimant sent one of his slaves with him.

Arnold O'Bryan - 70 -Farmer.  Crawford Co. previous wittness in this case.  lived 14 m. from Arbuckle during the war, on the other side of the Arkansas River. TESTIMONY - called claimant a union man, because he always talked like he was a union man. (another TESTIMONY) Knows of claimant doing no acts to show that he was in favor of the Union.  Witness rode with David part of the way to the Oak Hill fight and brought his horse back, did not see claimant again till after the Federals came to Ft. Smith.  claimants children always expressed themselves as the deepest ??? rebels and claimants wife always expressed herself in front of the children and upheld them.

A.A. Bradner? 50 Carpenter-Van Buren was 1st Lieut, 13th Kan Infty. previous witness in case.

Wm. Sewell 40(cold) laborer, Little rock.  appears to be intelligent and truthful. TESTIMONY - Says that claimant was in favor of the rebels in the early part of the war.  Witness was with B?? McGeo when he was in the rebel army when he was on the Lucas place about half way to Arbuckels place.  The rebels went ??? King? place to eat up the corn that Mrs King offered to feed the rebels ??? understood at that time that David Arbuckle took his company down to claimants place to feed them two or three weeks.  Always understood from what the colored people said that claimant was in favor of the rebels until the Yankees came and then he went in and took the oath and acted with the Yankees.

Eli Sewell(cold) 30 - Teamster. Little Rock. appears to be an intelligent and observing negro. TESTIMONY-Claimant was in favor of the rebels.  Often heard him talk in favor of the rebels, and understood that he was engaged buying corn for them, remembers that after Gen Lyne? was killed they had a big celebration in Van Buren and claimant came up from his place and shopped at McGees.  Witness heard him say that the rebels had whipped the Yankees and he seemed to feel good over it.

N.W. Cox 52-Little rock.  Late special Commissioner.  was during the war, clerk in the commissary Department, Ft. Smith. TESTIMONY - was clerk in post C.S. Depot under Capt Adams at Ft. Smith from Oct 63 to Jun 64.  the general instructions were to give receipts for all property taken, heard Capt Adams give such orders and witness has given them himself to the wagon masters.  Citizens were direct to apply to Provost Marshals and on proof of loyalty vouchers were issued and paid by post Q.M.

Harrison Reed - 35(cold) Barber, Little rock, was orderly sergeant E Co. 79th U.O. Cold. TESTIMONY - Was down in claimants place in Dec 63 with guard of ??age train, was told at the time by the colored people in the place that claimant was a rebel. (another TESTIMONY) Was on claimants place in Dec 1863 and recollects that if was stripped of everything at that time, witness things that the train which he accompanied as guard was the first Federal f???e  train which had been on claimants place, and that Cabbell and Marmeduke's rebel forces had taken everything for there.



"John D. Arbuckle being duly sworn states that he is 65 years old that he had his leg broken in May 1863 by a ???chab.  which has rendered him a cripple for life and that he is unable to do much walking and that he is otherwise ??? and that he verily believes that it would  ?? ??? to his health to attend the claims commission at Washington D.C....." "Received as memo with this claim 2 pages brief in writing of J. D. ??dem - 1 office slip dated Sept 1873  ??? Dell.  Report on Claimant - Claimant loyal now dead, heirs disloyal.  Both  ??? herewith - J.D.E."

"This claim was investigated in the fall of 1877 at Ft. Smith, and in the neighborhood of claimants plantation. As fact of evidence with remarks thereon is herewith submitted." (See "Witnesses examined")