Casefile Clues

18 April 2013

Where Is the Land the Estate Record Mentions?


This is part of the receipts from the estate of Thomas J. Rampley in Coshocton County, Ohio, in the 1820s. The $45  for "...Amount recd from Sale of real estate" had never made sense to me as I could not find any mention of Thomas in the local land or property tax records.

It could have been that the real estate mentioned in the estate record was in another location and that I simply needed to look outside Coshocton County.  That was on my long-term "to do list."

It turns out Thomas did not have real estate outside Coshocton County. Thomas had started the purchase of federal property in Coshocton County on credit and had not finished the purchase by his death. His estate had an interest in the property at the time of his death, but because the purchase had not been completed, he did not have title. The $45 is the same amount that is paid for his claim as indicated by records of the former General Land Office.

The lesson?

When I see amounts in an estate settlement that are received from real estate and cannot find local records documenting that real estate, and the time period and location is right, I should determine if the person involved had purchased federal land on credit. They could be living on the land and would be a resident of the county in which the land is located, but would not appear in the local land records or property tax records until they had completed the purchase.

I also need to consider that the person had land in another county.