Levi Adams' Deposition - 1873

1873 Deposition of Levi Adams (col’d) in the
Southern Claims File of Sterling Cato
Compiled by Linda Durr Rudd
Deposition Obtained from Cynthia Benua

Levi Adams being duly sworn doth depose and say my name is Levi Adams. I am 39 years of age reside upon the plantation of Mr. Sterling Cato...and am by occupation a farmer. I resided upon the plantation of Mr. Cato all through the war, and one morning in the spring of the year during one of the years of the war I do not now recollect the year — Genl Grierson came thro here—I had been down to the horse lot and had just fed the stock and was on the point of returning when my attention was called to a body of cavalrymen who were coming up the road. They rode up to where I was and on by. Some of them in the mean time stopped and went into the horse pasture they opened the big gate as they went in, they caught the two mules that were in the lot and a blaze-faced sorrel horse changed their saddle and bridles from some worn out mules that they were riding to Mr. Cato’s and immediately rode out and joined the main body. Three of the mules that they left we fed and took care of that year and we managed to plow them a little—I also saw the Grey horse that Mr. Cato used to ride—one of the soldiers rode him in the yard. I think he came in for the purpose of getting water. He stopped but a short time when he rode off with others who had come in the yard with him, later in the year another raid came through here. There was about 40 or 50 men two of them stopped at our horse lot and took out two mules, and put saddles and bridles upon them that they had upon some broken down horses that they were riding—and rode them off. They had got but a short distance when they met Mr. Marshall Clark who was riding a bay horse. He was returning home from Mill and had a sack of meal upon his horse. They stopped him pushed the sack of meal off—took the saddle and bridle off from one of Mr. Cato’s mules and put them on the horse and rode along — Mr. Clark knew the mule and rode him here and gave him up to Mr. Cato — who gave him one of the old horses that the soldiers had left—the other horse that was left was old and broken down, we kept him—he was worth about $25. I would not have given that for him he was an old baldfaced brown—we kept him I do not know what ever became of him—…..the two mules taken were a dark and light bay I broke them both and they were worth anybody $200 a piece…..The last raid stopped here about an hour and fed their horses from the corn crib. Came in the house and took the plates off from the table and toted off what there was upon the plates and took all down to where their horses were eating and they they got through they left the plates lying upon the side of the road. I do not know how much that they fed but they could not have fed less than 10 barrels or bushels. Both of the times that the stock was taken it was early in the morning. Mr. Grierson took off the grey horse and the sorrel horse and the two mules and the last raid took off one bay mule making five altogether—from the looks of the stock that they left behind them I think they needed the horses and mules that they got from Mr. Cato—….I cannot tell what year it was both of the raids came through in one year—Mr. Cato and all of us were bothered a great deal for plow stock them a week or two and then sent them on home. These were the only two raids that came out here during the war—they were Yankee soldiers—We never got any of the horses or mules back that they took from us, and we did not look for them. We heard that the sorrel horse was left at Brookhaven but we never found him—I have no interest in this claim of any kind—I recollect everything that happened very well—it was not often such sights were to be seen—

Levi Adams Sworn and subscribed 28 day of Oct 1873 before CN Wilson Special Commsr

LEVI was a slave of the Cato family. Levie was deeded as a gift to Henry Cato from Burrell Cato November 4th, 1842. The next day on November 5th, 1842, Henry Cato made a deed of gift of LEVI to Frances Cato. The negro boy LEVI about 16 years was deeded as a gift to Sterling Cato from Frances Cato on January 27, 1849. Burrell and Frances Cato were the parents of Henry and Sterling.
Jefferson County Deed Book E - Pages 451 & 452 - (Deeds of 1842) - Microfilm Number: 12012
Jefferson County Deed Book G - Pages 89 & 125 (Deeds of 1849) - Microfilm Number: 12013 Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Federal Census for Levi Adams

1870 - Jefferson County, Union Church, Mississippi - Page 23
Levi Adams, 38, MS -- Amanda, 35, KY -- Kentuck, 11, MS -- Web, 9, MS -- Mary Jane, 2, MS

1880 - Lincoln County, Caseyville, MS - Page 121
Levi Adams, 48, MS, MS, MS -- Amanda, 36, wife, KY, KY, KY -- Mary, 14, dau -- Webb, 20, son -- Jane, wife, 20


Sterling Cato, born August 12, 1817, in Wayne County, Mississippi to Burrell and Frances Cato, died December 06, 1878, buried in the Union Church Cemetery, Jefferson County, MS. Sterling married Mrs. Rebecca Barlow McLaurin December 16, 1846 in Jefferson County, MS. Sterling applied for church membership to Union Church Presbyterian Church in November 1832. He was elected an Elder of the church September 01, 1855, ordained by Rev. H. McDonald. Sterling owned 15 slaves in 1860 per the 1860 Jefferson County Slave Schedule.

Union Church Presbyterian Church Session Records recorded this in memory of Mr. Sterling Cato.

...It is the sense of this Session that in the death of Mr. Sterling Cato the Session and congregation and community of Union Church have substained a loss which cannot easily be repaired - For years Mr. Cato voice was heard in our congregation leading the songs of the sanctuary and giving to our worship that freshness and life which can only be imparted by scared song and which under the blessing of the spirit we trust has been a lasting benefit to our people...
Union Church Presbyterian Church Session Records - Microfilm Number: 36274
Mississippi Department of Archives and History


Research Notes of Cynthia Benua, Cato Descendant

NARA. Record Group 123. United States Court of Claims--Congressional Jurisdiction.
Southern Claim File of Sterling Cato. Case # 865.

All microfilms were found at Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Jefferson County Marriages

Cato and Related Families of Mississippi

Cato Family's Slaves of Copiah & Jefferson Counties, Mississippi

Henry Cato and David McRee's Freedmen Bureau Labor Contract - 1866

Remembering Their Names