Saturday, February 18, 2017

Land Rental Agreement 1819

Land rental agreements were not always recorded in early Kentucky and, thus, are sometimes hard to find. The following document between Edward Mitchusson Senr. and William M. Phelps affords us a look at the terms of a rental agreement in early Caldwell County .  It was located in the loose county court bundles of 1819. The original spelling and punctuation have been retained.

"Articles of agreement made & Entered into this 14th day of January 1819 between Edward Mitchusson Senr. of the one part & William M.  Phelps both of the county of Caldwell & State of Kentucky  Witnesseth that the Said Mitchusson hath this day Rented & let unto the said Phelps the farm on which he now lives together with all and Singular the priviledges & appurtenences thereunto belonging for & during the term of three years from & after the first day of february next on the following terms to wit  the Said Phelps binds himself to repair the fences and to leave the Same in good repair at the End of Said term, for which he is to have the Said farm & all the appurtences for the term of two years rent free and for the third year he is to pay Said Mitchusson two barrels of Corn or two dollars in Cash per acre for all the lands now under Cultivation and Should Said Phelps Clear any more ground on Said land he is to have it   two years rent free & pay rent the third year the same as or the lands now under Cultivation and leave the fences of the same in good repair, and Should Said Phelps make any improvements on the buildings on Said farm Said Mitchusson is to pay him a reasonable price for the Same at the End of Said term  Witness our hands Seals this date aforesd.  Teste: Reuben Rowland.  [signed] Edwd. Mitchusson, Wm. M. Phelps.

 Published 18 February 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Kentucky's Land Patenting Process

Acquiring land through the patenting process in Kentucky consists of the following steps:

1.  The Warrant - authorizes a survey. There are four types of warrants: Military Warrants, Pre-emption Warrants, Treasury Warrants and Exchange Warrants.  Warrants could be traded, sold or assigned.

2.  The Entry - signals the intention of filing for a patent and contains the name of the person wanting to patent the land, the type of warrant authorizing the survey and the date of the entry. The date can be very important, especially when there were conflicting claims on the same land.

3.  The Survey - describes the metes and bounds of the land and names the closest watercourse. The only exception to this surveying method is in the Jackson Purchase, which uses sections, townships, ranges in their surveys. The survey includes the names of the surveying party (chain carriers and markers).

4.  The Grant (Patent) - final step in the patenting process. The grant lists the name of the recipient of the land, date of the survey,  type of warrant, description of the land and date of the grant was issued. The grant could not be assigned.

"Land Distribution in Kentucky," Kentucky Dept. for Libraries and Archives leaflet, Dec. 1995.

"The Kentucky Land Grant System," Saddlebag Notes, Technical Leaflet, The Circuit Rider, Historical Confederation of Kentucky, Vol. 13, No. 3: May/June 1990.

"Non-Military Registers and Land Records," Kentucky Secretary of State Website , accessed 17 Jan 2017.

Published 15 Feb 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Emancipation of Slave 1819

Slaves in Kentucky were emancipated through the county court or through a provision in the last will and testament of the slave's owner. The following handwritten document provided for the emancipation of a slave woman, Mary, by Milintha Johnson. This paper was located in the loose county court papers, Emancipations, Caldwell County Clerk's Office.

"Caldwell County July 27  1819

                "Whereas for the many valuable servises rendered unto me  and my family by my negro woman Mary, who has assisted me through many of the hardships of life
                "I do hereby make known to all Persons that said black woman Mary is to be free at my death.  And I do by these presents emancipate and set free the said Negro woman Mary at my death hereby requesting the County Court of Caldwell to give this paper a place on their records together with her papers of freedom after my decease.
                "In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal the date above in Presence of                                                                             [signed] Milintha (X her mark) Johnson.
                Test  Thos. Beck   Joshua G. Church"


[Reverse: Bill of Emancipation  Negro Woman Mary  by}  Mrs. Johnson.  Proven by Beck & Church Augst 23d  1819.      1819  Emancipation]

Published 9 Feb 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - J.M. and Ettie Mitchell

Mar. 21, 1837
Jan. 19, 1919

Wife of
Feb. 26, 1917
74  yrs.

Buried Leeper Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstones photographed 19 February 2014.

John M. and Etta Mitchell are last enumerated on the 1910 Livingston County census. They were living on Lower Smithland-Dycusburg Road. Also in their household were Henry Mitchell, age 32, and Mack Mitchell, age 30.

According to Kentucky death certificate #23937 (1919), John Mitchell was the son of John Mitchell, born Virginia,  and Elizabeth Bennett.

The 1917 Kentucky death certificate (#14909) of Etta Mitchell gives her birth date as 27 February 1841 and her parents as William Harp and Sallie Linley, both of whom were born in North Carolina.  Etta first married Reuben F. Marshall 24 December 1856 in Livingston County and then married John M. Mitchell 1 December 1878.

Published 7 February 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot./

Friday, February 3, 2017

Update on Capt. John Strother Chapman

This is an update on the death of Capt. John S. Chapman, who served under Col. Adam Rankin Johnson during the Civil War.  Even though it is nice to have some information on his burial, we still do not know for sure where he is buried. Tradition says he is buried at St. Ann's Cemetery in Morganfield, but no tombstone has been found there or any other cemetery..

The son of Thomas Strother Chapman and Prudence Huston of Morganfield,  John S. Chapman enlisted in 1861 in Co. B, 4th Kentucky Regt. Infantry, CSA.  During the battle of Fort Donelson, he was taken prisoner and sent to Camp Chase. After escaping, he served in Gen. William Preston's Brigade and later in Co. H. (later Co. F) of the 10th Kentucky  under Col. Adam Rankin Johnson.

After the war, John S. Strother returned to Union County, where he married Hettie Hite and five children were born to them. Hettie died in 1882 and John S. died in 1885. Below is the article[1] published after his death.

"The obsequies of Capt. John S. Chapman attracted a large crowd to town to-day, and his funeral is said to have been the largest seen in Morganfield for years. He was a son of one of the old pioneers of the county. He served in the Confederate army, first as a lieutenant of Company B, Fourth Kentucky infantry, and afterward, raising a company, he entered the Tenth Kentucky cavalry, under the command of Col. Adam Johnson. He went through Indiana with Morgan, and was present in many of the engagements in which that commander participated. His remains were followed to the grave by a large number of his former comrades in arms."

[1] "Death of Capt. Chapman," Evansville Daily Courier, Thurs., 27 August 1885, p. 1

Published 3 Feb 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Short Marriage of Young Couple 1846

He was 22 and she was 15 - young by today's standards, but within marrying age in 1846. Because she was not legally old enough to marry (21 or older), her father personally gave his consent to the county clerk.

Marriage Bond and License[1]
Wm. H. Crawford and Polly Ann Green

Who were they? William H. Crawford and Polly Ann Green.  Unfortunately, their marriage would last less than three years. Polly Ann died in 1849, perhaps in childbirth or perhaps of a disease with no known cure at that time. Polly Ann  was buried in Piney Fork Cemetery, which tradition says was the site of the last Indian battle in western Kentucky. Her parents, George and Polly Green,  both outlived their daughter and are buried next to her.  Nearby is Piney Fork Cumberland Presbyterian Church, organized in 1812, the same year church members  "erected a log church on the knoll in what is now the cemetery."[2] Polly, indeed, rests in hallowed ground.

  Tombstone of Polly Ann Green Crawford  [3]

William H. Crawford was a widower less than two years and then married Sarah J. Dollins in Caldwell County 3 December 1850.[4] He and Sarah made their home in Livingston County and are buried in Hopewell Cemetery in that county.     

[1] Original marriage bond and license 1846, Crittenden County, Kentucky Clerk's Office, Marion, Kentucky.
[2] Piney Fork Church Historical Committee. The Second History of Piney Fork Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Crittenden Co., Kentucky 1812 - 1992, (n.p., 1992) 2.
[3] Tombstone of Polly Ann Green Crawford, Piney Fork Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky; photographed 25 January 2017.
[4] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriages 1833 - 1853, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1997) 137.

Published 31 Jan 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Petition For Tax Relief 1875

When a man reached an advanced age and/or was in feeble heath, he might petition the county court to be relieved from the payment of poll taxes. Often the petition was granted, but not always. It appears petitions were granted or rejected on an individual basis rather than specific guidelines or rules.  The petition of James P. Joyce in 1875 was rejected. Below is his original petition, which was found in the loose county bundles in the Crittenden County Clerk's Office. This document should have been recorded in County Court Order Book 1874 - 1878, but it was not.

"To the Honorable Court of Crittenden County:  The  undersigned would respectfully Petition your Honorable boddy to be relieved from the payment of Poll Tax, for the reason of his advanced age; and the allmost help less condition of body, which he is in, from the effect of Parralysis  his age will be severnty one years next June &c  given under my hand this Jany 11th 1875 -   Jas. P. Joyce "

James P. Joyce was born 11 June 1804 and died 29 May 1876. He is buried in Shady Grove Cemetery, Crittenden County.

Published 26 Jan 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,