Getter Letter 1888
submitted by John E. Gilbert

This is  a copy of a letter my great-grandfather, John Henry Getter
(Goetter) wrote to the Department of the Interior  regarding his ranch
being overrun by the Nez Perce indians in 1877. Although he stated the
incident happened in July 1877, I suspect from what I have read he must
have meant June 1877.

I know very little about his man and have had some trouble fitting him
in with other Getter-family historians. He returned to Michigan after
his ranch was destroyed and there he married Kate McKenna; their only
child was Mary Louise Getter who married my grandfather, Mort Callahan,
in Lenawee County, Michigan.


(GETTER)

STATE OF MICHIGAN               }
                                                      }  SS
COUNTY OF LENAWEE            }

        John H. Getter being by me first duly sworn upon his oath says that he now resides in the county of Lenawee State of Michigan

        That he formerly resided in the Territory of Idaho in Idaho County two miles west of the Sammon (sic) River on the North branch of Deer Creek

        That he resided there on the 27th of July AD 1877 and had so resided there for six years previous, That he owned and occupied a Ranch or Farm there and was ingaged (sic) in farming thereon on the said 27th day of July 1877

        That at this last mentioned date a Tribe of Indians known as the Naz (sic) Perce Indians had left their Reservation and were engaged in a war with the United States and that said Indians came upon his Ranch on said Deer Creek at this time with some 7000 horses and many men and remained there some ten days and that said Indians without any fault or reason given them by this deponent destroied (sic) or carried off all his personal property and burned his house and barn then standing on said Ranch and that the following Statement of losses is made by him to the Interior Department of the United States for the purpose of obtaining satisfaction or payment from the United States for his said loss

        That such Statement contains a true and correct description of said property destroyed by said Inidans or carried away by them and that the valuation of each and every article of said property is just-correct-and true as there set-down and that he has not received any pay for said losses so incured (sic) or any one for him.

Items of Loss

One Dwelling house Sixteen feet by 22 one and half stories high, constructed of Pine Logs Hewed inside and out - Roof of Tin shingles, Floor above and below of Pine plank, gables clapbourded (sic), There was used in the construction of said house of sawed Pine lumber upwards of one thousand feet - cost on Sammon River 40# per M all of which was, and had to be, halled (sic) up the mountain one hundred feet-at-a time consuming ten days to do it.  The house was well and substantially built with a quarried Stone chimbley (sic) and fireplace, glass windows above and below of the common size and the deponent further says that this house cost not less than 700# and could not have been replaced at that.  Deponent further says that there was burned with said house the folloiwng property belonging to him to wit - one cook Stove and furniture all nearly new worth 50#, Five pairs of woolen blankets but little worn worth 9# per pair = 45#.  Sheets and ticks and pillows for two beds worth 15#, also dishes, forks and knives and spoons sufficient to set a table for six persons worth 10# also two suits of clothes and two changes of woolen underwear worth not less than 20#, Also one Chronometer Silver watch and chain nearly new, cost-in Sacramento 55# and worth when destroyed fifty dollars making the total loss on this dwelling house and contents burned up not less than (890#) eight hundred and ninety dollars.
        
        One Barn 26 feet by 36 built of Pine logs by taking pine logs from 18 to 24 inches in diameter, sawing them through lengthwise with a whip saw, Rendering the body of the Barn smooth and even on the inside.

        That said Barn was fifteen feet from sill  to the eaves, the roof covered with pine shingles and the gables sided up with pine boards sawed with a whip saw

        That there was a granery in said Barn sealed up with boards sawed in the same manner as said Barn had been build when burned but one year at a cost not less than one thousand dollars and that it was worth that sum.  There was in said Barn and burned with it one plow new worth 20#, two log chains 8#, one square drag worth 15#, one grain cradle 5#, 2 Pitchforks and a hand rake 3#, also 100 bushets of wheat worth at the time 75 per bushet = 75# and one set of double harness 45# 2 Bucaro (sic) riding saddles 2 Halters 2 Bridles and 2 pairs of spurs one set not used over one year the other set new and cost 125#.  These two rigs were in good condition and worth not less than 125# and could not have been purchased for that sum and deponent says that the total worth of said Barn and contents as above stated was worth at the time 1296.

        Adn deponent further says that he then, on the 27 day of July 1877 had and owned one hundred head of cattle, 4 Horses- and one ox used and kept in connection with said Ranch or Farm

        That of the cattle were killed or driven away 10 cows and calves worth 17# per head = 170, 10 five years old steers worth 20# per head = 200# and also 20 4 years old Steers worth 18# per head = 360, 20 steers 3 years old worth 15# per head = 450# and 30 2 years old worth 12# per head = 360 one ox 60#, 4 horses 17.50 per head 70#.  All was killed or driven away by said Indians and total worth was at this time 1670#.  And deponent further says there was at this time on said Ranch or farm and owned by him 30 acres of wheat which deponent says he surely believes would have yealded (sic) 25 bushels per acre and that it was worth on the ground when destroied 225# and deponent also says he had at this time four acres of oats growing on said farm worth 5# per acre standing = 25 & 5 acres of meadow worth 15#.  That the total of growing crops destroied in worth was 265#.

        And that the grand total of all his losses by said Indians as before enumerated is the sum of four thousand one hundred and twenty one dollars (4121#) as near this deponent can estimate the same and further this deponent saith not.
                
                                                        his
                                                John     X     H. Getter
                                                        mark
Witness:
G. I. Thomposon
Morris P. Swaney

Sworn and subscribed to 
before me this 20th day
of June AD 1888.

s/ Gamaliel I. Thompson
Notary Public Lenawee Co. Michigan


 

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