[transcribed from Thomas McKnight and Robert McKnight v. James Morrison and Jesse Morrison, St. Charles County, Mo., Circuit Court Case Files, Box 12, Folder 9 (Microfilm C54267), Missouri State Archives]
Deposition taken by virtue of a dedimus & rule out of the office of the clerk of the court of common pleas of the county of St. Charles, together with a notice, on Monday the Sixth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirteen between the hours of Six oClock and ten oClock in the forenoon of that day in the town of St. Louis at the office of Joseph V. Garnier a Justice of the peace in and for the Township of St. Louis, in the County of St. Louis, and to be read in evidence on the trial of a certain case now pending in court of common pleas aforesaid between Thomas McKnight and Robert McKnight Plaintiffs and James Morrison and Jesse Morrison defendants –
John McKnight agent for Robert McKnight being of a lawful age and duly sworn on his oath saith that sometime towards the end of September eighteen hundred and twelve, he wrote to the defendants to sell some pork left by the Plaintiffs with the defendants, fifteen or thirteen dollars per barrel is not sure of the exact price but believes it was not to be sold under thirteen dollars – and further saith not.
[signed] Jno McKnight
Sworn to & Subscribed this 6th day of September 1813 before me.
[signed] J.V. Garnier JP
And at the same time and place came William Becknell who being of a lawful age and duly sworn on the part of the Defendants doth depose and say that some time about the last [of] May or beginning of June eighteen hundred and twelve Robert McKnight one of the plaintiffs being then on his way to Santa Fe came to Boone’s Lick where the deponent then resided and informed him that he was in want of a horse and had been instructed by Mr. Morrison to take one of the horses they then had at the lick, that he the deponent then delivered him one, that the said Robert stated to him the deponent that he would not give more than Sixty dollars for said horse – that the deponent then observed that if he took said horse it must be at such price as the defendants should think of charging for the same, and that it could not be under Sixty dollars – that the said Robert then informed the deponent that he had a brother at New Orleans who was expected at St. Charles some time in July or August, that he had left pork at Mr. Morrison and some goods at St. Charles, and that if he never came back Mr. Morrison would sell the same and pay himself out of it.
And this deponent further saith that he had hired from Mr. Morrison a man by the name of Charles Mayett, and had agreed to pay for the same one hundred and fifty dollars, provided the said Mayett should cross the Missouri, on the contrary he was not to pay any thing for him – that the said Mayett did cross the Missouri with the said Robert McKnight and that he the deponent and some of his hands assisted in crossing there – that the said Robert delivered to the deponent a letter from Mr. Morrison instructing him to let the said Robert have a gun if he should want one – that he accordingly gave him one, which in his opinion might have then sold for eighteen or twenty dollars – that the said Robert informed him the deponent that the aforesaid Charles Mayett had left a gun at St. Charles and that Mr. Morrison might take it in exchange for the one then given to him by the deponent.
Question by Plaintiffs agent: Did Robert McKnight one of the Plaintiffs, tell you where the gun was left at St. Charles?
Answer: No. I did not inquire about it.
And this deponent further saith not.
[signed] Wm Becknell
Sworn to & subscribed 6th Sept 1813 before me J.V. Garnier J.P.
[additional deposition of William Becknell on June 22, 1814]
The deposition & questions put to William Becknell by counsel saving exceptions to [ ] on trial in the above suit.
You have stated in your deposition in this case that the said Robert McKnight informed you that he had a brother in New Orleans, who was expected at St. Charles sometime in July or August, that he had left pork at Mr. Morrisons & some goods at St. Charles & that if he never came back Mr. Morrison would sell the same & pay himself out of it. What sums or demands did you understand from the said Robert that this impression of payment applied to. State all you know.
A: I understood from Robert McKnight that if he came back that Morrison had [text missing] when he came & got the horse & told me he had assumed Mayetts debt I aske[d] him how Morrison was to get pay for this horse and [ ] if he should never come back he said he had made no other arrangements than that he had left pork with Mr. Morrison and if he never came back, his brother would be there, who would settle any of their debts, and that if he did not, Mr. Morrison could sell the pork and pay himself. He said he had other goods in St. Charles sufficient to pay all demands. I do not know that he told me any more. I let him have the horse on the conditions mentioned in the former deposition of his paying [ ]
Q by Defts: In case Mayette crossed the river, in which case McKnight was bound to pay the one hundred and fifty dollars on account of Mayette how did you understand that debt was to be paid?
I understood that if Thomas McKnight did not settle it, that it was to be paid out of the pork.
Q Pltf: Did he tell you so in any other way than as stated above the last question before this?
He told me so in no other way than as before stated when I asked him how Morrison was to be paid.
Q by Pltf: Did the Defendants know that this horse was for the purpose of going the trip to St Fee when they wrote to you to let McKnight have the horse?
I suppose they did they knew R. McKnight was then on his way to St. Fee.
Did McKnight get the horse for the purpose of that trip?
I reckon he did for he took the horse on the trip with him.
[signed] Wm Becknell
Sworn & subscribed to before the undersigned a Justice of the Peace for the County of St. Charles & Township of Femosage.
22 June 1814
[signed] John B. Callaway
Filed 24 June 1814
[signed] Uriah Devore Clk