The National Archives in DC very quickly turned around my request for a copy of the file that Levi submitted with details about his Indian depredation claims. I first looked to see what he claimed and what he was awarded.
His original claims, and the documents presented to the court don’t exactly match, but they are close.
||Levi’s Claimed value
||$30 each ($390)
|6 yearling cattle
||$11 each ($66)
|9 2 year olds
||$16 each ($144)
|Yoke of oxen
||$50 each ($100)
|19 young steers
||$28 each ($532)
||$75 each ($150)
|Carriage & saddle horse
|20 acres of land with improvements
|30 acres of land with improvements
|Fort with a house
The petition includes a notarized deposition by Levi Savage and two witnesses, a response by somebody in the government or court system which concludes the entire petition is based on unsupported evidence and testimony (incompetent is a favorite word), and the final court judgment (a lower value for the lifestock, no award for any of the land, improvements or crops).
The deposition is several typed pages and goes into a fair amount of detail, which will be discussed in more depth in the next post.
I have been reading the transcription of Levi Savage’s diary and am amazed at the amount of bartering that goes on. In hindsight I shouldn’t be surprised because it was on the frontier. I was also surprised at the amount of odd jobs that he did. In the census he gives his occupation at various times as laborer, gardener, dairyman. He really was a jack of all trades. At this point he was in his mid 50s.
Examples of bartering from January 1877:
Jan 4: “Ford let me have some cloth for my wool”
Jan 11 “Ford finishing paying me for my wool” [perhaps in cash or other goods?]
Jan 17: “I soled 860 feet of lumber to Burton Kimble for $5.00 per hundred..”
Jan 19: “I hawled the remainder…Kimble paid me $25 and gave me a note..for the remaining $18. I also got of C. Stapley an order of Foresythe for $6.37 for ditch work”
Jan 22: “Wife got 8 lbs Butter of Bryron Boundy. Pay fruit and bread for it.”
He also spent a lot of time tracking down people who owed him money/goods and was not all that successful in receiving payment.
Examples of work he writes about in January 1877:Jan 3: drove cows to be butchered
Jan 4: sold wool that his household produces
Jan 16, 23, 31 : got a load of wood
Jan 22, 26, 27: mended shoes
Jan 25: “worked about home”
In January he also mentions attending several church meetings, at least one town meeting and a few socials.
Pick a month or year in your ancestor’s life and think about what their daily life was like. You may not be lucky enough to have a diary, but you can look at the diaries of people who were in similar circumstances and make a guess.