Casefile Clues

12 March 2014

Monteville Harness Deeds in the 1880 Era Newspaper

One of the things American newspapers used to publish with regularity were deeds and other various "courthouse" news. As more newspapers come online in digital format, it becomes easier to locate these references.

Such is the case with Monteville Harness of Adams County, Illinois, for whom I was able to find two deeds and a "master's sale" notice in the Quincy [Illinois] Whig from the 1880s.

It also becomes necessary for the researcher to realize that what they find in the newspaper may be incomplete, in a variety of ways and that these references were merely to alert the public that there was a new owner to a piece of property or, in the case of the master's sale, that property was going to be sold. The newspaper should not be considered a complete index to these records, but merely a convenient finding aid.

Three references were located for Monteville.

All three beg for further research. The 1885 and 1887 deeds may contain additional information--at the very least a more specific legal description. It may be that the name of Harness's wife is included on the deed and was simply omitted from the newspaper. Additional follow up on these references would suggest determining how Harness came to own the land in question.

The 1886 court case potentially centers on the 1885 deed since the parties involved are the same. The women are not listed in the deed entry in the newspaper, but they were parties to the suit. It can be reasonably assumed that the women in question are the wives of the two men. They would have had an interest in the property and the proceedings given their marriage to their husband.

Deed work was on the list for completing an exhaustive search on Monteville Harness. The newspaper work was easier to do because it could be done online and the location of these references made the point that a search of land records would not be for not.