Preston and Others v. George W. Coons, Administrator of the Estate of Milton Duty, et al.
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At one or more of the conversations with the
deceased, deponent states that he assured him that
he had made a will or would make one, freeing
all his slaves, at his death- and deponent is
strongly impressed that the deceased Stated that he
had made such will. Deponent states, that
the deceased further assured him that he had sold
a farm in the south, and that he had pay in the south from which he had coming
some ten or twelve thousand dollars; and that
he owed very few debts, or that his indebtedness
was in amount very small, except the demand
of deponent, for his material services, and that
this last debt he would pay, if it was exacted of
him, and to ascertain this, the deceased called
on deponent, just before the deceased left St. LouisSt Louis
for the south, which deponent thinks was in
the spring of 1838. Deponent is strongly impressed,
in memory, that deceased had sold in the south,
some of his slaves, for the reason, that he did not
wish to bring a part of them to St. LouisSt Louis, and that
some part of them did not wish to remove to StSt Louis.
LouisSt Louis, and that this impression was made by conversation
with the deceased.

Deponent, being crossexamined by defendant's counsel,
states, that the negroes of the deceased, went out and
hired their time, the product of which was the income
above referred to and that he has no exact means
of knowing the amount of income from
the Labor of the slaves aforesaid. Deponent understood
from deceased, that the seventy five cents and one dollar and
a quarter per , the amount of their earnings
as ranging from the first to the last sum. Deponent
had been told by deceased that he had large
quantities of pork in the winter fall of 1837. or the
winter of 1838. and that the prospect of the deceased
was, as derived from him in conversations
on the
subject, that he would lose by this pork operation, and
that one reason of this loss would be in consequence

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Depositions of witnesses produced, sworn and examined
on the eleventh day of November A.D.1841 between
the hours of 8 O'clock in the forenoon, and six o clock
in the afternoon of that day, at the office of
AlphonsoAlphonso Witmore WitmoreAlphonso Witmore Esquire in the City and CountyCounty of St Louis
of St. LouisCounty of St Louis, and state of MissouriMissouri, before me,
AlphonsoAlphonso Witmore WitmoreAlphonso Witmore a Justice of the peace within
and for the County aforesaid, in a certain
cause how pending in the Circuit CourtCircuit Court of
St. Louis County, State of MissouriMissouri, setting
as a court of Chancery, between Preston, Braxton
and others, complainants, and George
WashingtonWashington Coons administrator of Miton Duty, deceased, and others, defendant on the part of the

James V, Prathers, of lawful age being produced,
sworn and examined on the part of the complainants,
deposeth and saith; that, he was
acquainted with MiltonMilton Duty, deceased, from
April 1837, and from that time forward until the
time of his death, which occured in August 1838.
Deponent, in his professional persuits, and his visits
to the deceased aforesaid, had occasion to observe his
manner of living, and that he was a plain
economical man in his style of living, and from
his frugal manner of living this deponent thinks
that his annual expenses for himself and slaves, exclusive of could not have been
more than five or six hundred Dollars. Deponent
had frequent conversations with deceased,, as to his
income from the labor of his negros about thirty in
number, and that the laboring part of there probably fifteen or twenty generally
brought him in from their daily labor, from seventy
five cents to a Dollar and a quarter a day, cash. This deponent
further states, that his professional attendance on
the slaves of the deceased, brought him frequently to the
his residence, and that his knowledge of the
domestic concerns of the deceased was thus obtained.