Thursday, November 24, 2022

Oh, Henry! What a mess!

Looks like Henry was already in trouble before he married Tennie Ferguson. The document below is a scan of a letter from the Dept. of the Interior asking Henry to verify his address.  He had written from Ozark, Arkansas which was not the address they had on file for him.  

From the 13th paper in the Henry F Hill Investigation Case File:

There are some pretty strong statements about Henry.  I've included a few below.

W T Brooks -Storekeeper-Gauger (Logan, AR) Mar 3 1885
To Hon. Wm W Dudley Comsr of Pensions Washington DC (Begins on Pg 10 of Case File)

I have just filled out blank for Mr. Samuel Highland, that he recd from the pension office.  I am no atty nor have I any interest in the claim more than that I think all disabled soldiers should be provided for and I am confident this is a deserving claimant and think he would long since have recd his pension if he had not fallen into the hand of one Hill that represented himself as a claim agent.  Hill I know to be utterly worthless as the Records of the U.S. Court at Ft. Smith this state will show.  It is a pity that such men are allowed to butcher up deserving men's claims.
Please give this matter attention until you find that I am mistaken in thinking Highland deserves a pension

T C Moore --Dept Clk Circuit Court Franklin Co(Ozark, AR) Dec 16 1888
To Hon Jno C Black Comsr of Pensions Washington DC(Begins on Pg 15 of Case File)

We would not have written upon this subject were it not for the fact that we wish to place ourselves right with you as far this man Hill we are more than willing that he should make any charge against which he deems proper for this acts are attributable more to his combined cupidity and ignorance than to other consideration and the record of the federal court at Ft Smith might throw some light upon his character.

J. A. McAfee- Special Examiner (Fort Smith, AR) May 6 1898
To Hon. H Clay Evans Commissioner of Pensions Washington DC (Begins on Pg 30 of Case File)

I have the honor to call attention to the irregular and illegal practice of one H. F. Hill an attorney and notary of this city, more particularly described in report in claim of Moritz Kagin No. 332.869 transmitted herewith in the above described claim.

The certificate held by this pensioner shows service in Co M 12 Regt KY Vol Cav but he denies such service and the above named attorney evidently found his name in the Adjutants Reports and claimed for all in sight. This book is his stock in trade and if a soldier does not know his service he selects one to fit the name. 

The pensioner states that H F Hill was more interested in the pension than the solder and induced him to apply and prosecuted the claim for a consideration.

(continuing on further down the page)

The attorney H F Hill is supported by the ignorant pension claimant who believes him to be versed in law and rules of practice when in fact , he is ignorant, careless and without principle or fear of law.
he admits that he regularly executes forty or more vouchers in this reckless manner notwithstanding the fact that he has been warned and instructed time and again and he has not yet awakened to the fact that he has violated any law and seems disposed to vary from the beaten path.

After he failed to answer to the charges against him, Henry was disbarred as a pension claim attorney on August 18, 1898. It appears he continued as a Notary Public. 

Source:  Case File of Henry F. Hill(Archive Catalog; Case Files of Attorneys, Agents, Pensioners, and Others Relating to the Prosecution of Pension Claims and the Investigation of Fraudulent Practices, ca. 1862-1933;Veterans Administration. (7/21/1930 - 3/15/1989),(Most Recent) Department of the Interior. Bureau of Pensions. 1849-1930 (Predecessor) Veterans Administration. Bureau of Pensions. Law Division. (7/21/1930 - 7/1/1931) (Predecessor)Record Group 15 (RG 15); National Archives Building, Washington, DC (NAB).

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