See previous posts here.
Along with the two witnesses, Zenophile was also required to sign an affidavit regarding his residence and cultivation of the land. His testimony is a little more in-depth than that of his neighbors, and contains quite a bit more information and consists of 2 pages.
Granted, these are not the easiest documents to read. The scanned copies are pretty terrible, but I’ll do the best I can. I have reformatted the question/answer portion for readability.
PRE-EMPTION PROOF – TESTIMONY OF CLAIMANT
Zenophile Lanctot being called as a witness in his own behalf in support of his pre-emption claim to the NW1/4 13-99-67 testifies as follows:
Ques. 1. What is your name (written in full and correctly spelled) and age?
Ans. Zenophile Lanctot. 25 years.
Ques. 2. Are you the head of a family, (if so, of whom does it consist) or a single person?
Ans. Head of a family. Wife and two children.
Ques. 3. Are you a native born or naturalized citizen of the United States*
Ans. Have declared my intention to become a Citizen of the U.S.
Ques. 4. Is your pre-emption claim above described, within the limits of an incorporated town, or selected site of a city or town, or used in any way for trade or business?
2d. Did you leave other land of your own to settle on your present claim?
3d. Have you ever made a pre-emption filing or entry for land other than that you now seek to enter? If so, describe the same. (Answer to the point and in deatil [sic].)
Ans. 1st. No
Ques. 5. When did you first establish an actual residence on the land you now seek to enter?
2d. What was your first act of settlement?
3d. Were there any improvements on the land when you settled? If so, state who then owned them and whether you purchased the same.
4th. What improvements have you made on the land since settlement, and what is the value of the same?
Ans. 1st. August 1st 1884
2d. Built home and broke prairie.
3d. Yes. I bought them of Emery Martindale
4th. House 12×14, Stable 12×16, 65 acres breaking, well, $600.00
Ques. 6. When did you first establish an actual residence on the land you now seek to enter?
2d. Has your residence thereon since been continuous?
3d. What use have you made of the land?
4th. How much of the land, if any, have you broken and cultivated since settlement, and what kind and quantity of crops have you raised?
Ans. 1st. August 1, 1884
3d. Farm and home.
4th. 65 acres, 45 acres flax, 5 acres wheat, 5 acres oats, 8 acres corn, and 2 acres potatoes and garden.
Ques. 7. Are either of the parties who have testified as your witnesses in this case related to you by blood or marriage? If so, state how related.
I hereby certify that each question and answer in the foregoing testimony was read to claimant before being subscribed, and was sworn to before me this 22 day of August 1885, as provided by amendatory act of Congress approved June 9 1880.
Clerk of the Probate Court in and for Charles Mix County, Dakota Territory, within and for the Judicial District of said Territory.
*In case the party is of foreign birth, a copy of his declaration of intention to become a citizen, or full naturalization certificate officially certified, must be filed with the case.
[see note on fourth page]
The next page gets a little tricky. The top of the page is clearly what they are referring to as “fourth page,” but I can’t figure out how that would become page 4 … unless they counted the pages as they were all folded up, making the cover page 1, the page transcribed above as page 2, the affidavit below as page 3, and then the note as page 4. In any case, I have transcribed it all as one page below:
Note – The officer before whom the testimony is taken should call the attention of the witness to the following section of the Revised Statutes, and state to him that it is the purpose of the government, if it be ascertained that he testifies falsely, to prosecute him to the full extent of the law.
Sec. 5392. Every person who having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer or person, in any case in which a law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true, is guilty of perjury, and shall be punished by a fine of no more than two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment, at hard labor, not more than five years; and shall moreover, thereafter be incapable of giving testimony in any court in the United States until such time as the judgment against him is reversed. (See §1750).
AFFIDAVIT REQUIRED OF PRE-EMPTION CLAIMANT
I, Zenophile Lanctot claiming the right of pre-emption under section 2259, of the Revised Statutes of the United States, to the Northwest quarter of section number 13 of township number 99 of range number 67 subject to sale at Yankton, Dakota do solemnly swear that I have never had the benefit of any right of pre-emption under said section; that I am not the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of land in any State or Territory of the United States, nor have I settled upon or improved said land to sell the same on speculation, but in good faith to appropriate it to my own exclusive use or benefit; and that I have not, directly or indirectly made any agreement or contract, in any way or manner, with any person or persons whatsoever, by which the title I may acquire from the government of the United States should injure, in whole or in part, to the benefit of any person except myself, and the reason why this affidavit is sworn to before the Clerk of the Court for Charles Mix County, is on account of the great distance from my residence on said land to the local land office at Yankton, D.T.
I, Adam Grimes, Judge and Ex-Officio Clerk of the Probate Court of Charles Mix County, do hereby certify that the above affidavit was subscribed and sworn t before me this 22 day of August A.D. 1885 as provided by amendatory act of Congress, approved June 9, 1880.
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