10 – William McCoy

1: Please state you name to the reporter?
William McCoy is my name.

2: Where do you live Mr McCoy?
In Independence.

3: In Independence, Missouri, – here in this city?
Yes sir.

4: How long have you lived here in Independence, Missouri?
For fifty years and over.

5: What is your business?
I am engaged in the banking business now. I have been at different times engaged in various businesses, but at the present time I am engaged in the banking bussiness.

6: Are you the president of the McCoy Banking Company.
I am.

7: I will ask you if at any time during the early period of your residence here, you were acquainted with a party known by the name of Edward Partridge?
I was not personally acquainted with him but I knew of him.

8: I will ask you if you are acquainted with the property in controversy in this case, known as the temple lot or property?
Yes sir I am acquainted with it.

9: You know where it is located?
Yes sir.

10: How long have you been acquainted with it?
Well ever since my residence here. I have known it all the time I have resided here.

11: I will ask you what the peole generally call that property in speaking of it?
Well it was known by that name, –

12: What name?
It was known by the name of the “temple ground” or the “temple property”, or “temple lot”, or “the old temple lot”, for it was variously called by these varying names by different people at different times, but it has always been distinguished as a part, or as the temple property in some way or as a part, or as the temple property in some way or other, – at least ever since I have been here.

13: That is the name by which it has been known for fifty years, – the name by which it had gone during that period of time?
Well it was known then by that name, but it has changed around there a great deal since that time for at that time there were no houses out around there. It was at that time just and open piece of ground, and was for some time afterwards, regarded as a very handome piece of property or site, and it was called the temple lot, and has been ever since so far as my knowledge goes.

14: how much of the time Mr McCoy has the property been vacant?
How much of all that interval?

15: Yes sir?
Oh I couldn’t tell you. It was for some years just lying out there a vacant piece of ground. I couldn’t tell you how many years, but quite a number of years anyway, it was there vacant without any improvements on it, and then Woodson and Maxwell had or made some claim to it, and were in possession or claimed to be and there was a suit over it in some way, and it was continued through several years.

16: What time was that?
I can’t say what time that was but it was a good many years ago, – at any rate I think at that time it had been enclosed with a fence by some one, – I think probably they did it.

17: Did Woodson and Maxwell put any improvements on this piece of ground, or the part of it that was enclosed by this fence?
I don’t know that they put any improvements on it, but there was lots sold in Woods’s and Maxwell’s addition, and I presume that was a part of what was known as the temple ground, or rather known as the temple lot.

18: I will ask you if the present fence around the temple lot is not the first fence that was ever put around it that you recollect anything of?
I could not say.

19: Well what is your best recollection as to that?
I could not answer that with positive certainty. That is something I could now answer with absolute certainty but it seems to me that there was a fence around it before, but as to that I cannot say positively. That piece there is now occupied, – that is the first fence that was put around it I am pretty sure.

20: Well that is what I am asking you about, – that is the only part of the lot that is in controversy in this suit. Is that piece of the property in question that is now enclosed by the fence, is that the first fence that was ever put around that piece of the property?
I don’t know that with absolute certainty, – that is I cannot speak with positive knowledge, but I think that is the first fence that was put around it.

21: That is the first fence you say, – according to the best of your recollection?
yes sir, but there may have been other fences around it before that. I would not say positively there was not, it may have been enclosed before this time, for I am not at all certain that it was not enclosed, but it may have been enclosed some way with an ordinary rail fence at one time, but I cannot say as I paid no particular attention to it. Of course I could not remember all these things through all these years, for as I said at that time there were no houses down that way, and since then the city has grown up, and all the various extensions of the town have been made in different directions, but mainly in that direction for the Missouri Pacific depot is down there and as that was: the first railroad in the city it had a great deal to do with attracting the growth of the city in that direction. Streets were opened and the whole thing changed, and I never thought enough about it to keep my mind fixed on it or pay special attention to it. Now I remember very well the old temple ground, but it was supposed to embody a much larger portion of ground than there is there now under fence.

22: Well what is in litigation here now Mr McCoy is just the lots where that are under fence, – that is all. And that is all that I am asking you about, for it is all that is in litigation?
Well my recollection is not sufficiently distinct to state posistively that it has never been fenced up before, but I do know that for many years previous to the time that it was fenced with the fence that is around it now, it had been lying open unfenced.

23: This piece of ground borders on the north-west does it not, on what is known as the old ‘Westport Road”?
Yes sir, on the north-west it does. north west it does.

24: It does?
Yes sir.

25: And can you not call to mind that traveling along that road which was known as the “old Westport road” can you not remember that way back before the war that piece of ground that you have been testifying about here, was in a field fenced, and that it was under cultivation?
Prior to the war?

26: Yes sir, – and growing pumpkins, potatoes and corn, – that piece of ground, including this temple lot or ground as you call it in litigation here, was all under fence in a field and in cultivation. Do you not remember that?
At the beginning of the war a man that went by the name of “Doc Irvine”, I forget what his initials were, – everybody at that time knew that man, but I don’t remember what his name was now.

27: Doc who?
“Doc” Irvine was the name he went by. He was not a physician, – it was just an appelation or name given him by the people, – what you might call a nick name.

28: Well what were you going to say about him?
He lived right about opposite that ground some where, and he had that ground that afterwards Major Vernon sold, – well he had quite a tract of ground here and it finally passed though several hands, and I very well know by special associations, – or by a certain event that he was living there at the opening period of the war in the spring of 1861m and he had ground cultivated there at that time, and possibly that lot might have been in an enclosure there on the oppoistie side of the road, for the Westport road run right straight along there beside there where that fence is now.

29: Very much where it is now?
Yes sir.

30: It is about or was about in the same place where it is now?
Yes sir, about in the same place where it is now, or very near the same place it now is. There was a long period of years that there was no fence there at all, – in fact I do not remember its being fence until this present fence was put there, but as I said before it may have been fenced before that time. When I first came here there was a great deal of talk about this temple lot, – everybody most was taking about it, for it was a beautiful piece of ground, and it was beautifully located, – the situation was beautiful, and the temple lot was much spoken of; and I remember that finally there was a man hung upon it, and that gave it a great deal of notriety. The man that was hung there was a man by the name of Gasser, and it was the only execution that had ever taken place in the county, and that event brought in about all the of population of the county adjoining it, but after that it still remained there as it was, – still known as the temple ground. I never knew the exact locality of where the temple was to be built but rumor had it that there was a temple at some time to be built on it, and it was a beautiful situation for anything of that kind.

31: That was a part of Woodson’s and Maxwell’s addition?
I do not know exactly that Woodsons and Maxwells addition embodied or covered that precise location or site, – that is the special prominence in the site that is in controversy here as I understand it, but I rather think it did not.

32: You do not know that it did or that it did not?
Yes sir that would be my answer to that question for I do not know.

33: Now at the time you say there was a man hung on that property was there a fence around it?
No sir.

34: Do you have any distant recollection of ever having been a fence around this distinct piece of property, – this particular piece of property that this fence is now around, until the time that this fence was put around it that now surrounds it?
No sir I answered that before and I said I did not know absolutely. Now I might be mistaken in one thing, – I said there was a man hung on that property. I do not know that he was hung on the temple lot, – I rather think upon reflection that he was not hung there. I think now it was down further towards town, but I remember that it was a general open place there, and was called the temple lot.