Casefile Clues

20 July 2014

Trip to Winnebago County, Illinois, Courthouse

The elusive Clark Sargent purchased 40 acres of federal land in Winnebago County, Illinois, on 1 March 1848. It is known that his widow, Mary Sargent, married Asa Landon on 6 January 1849 in Winnebago County.

It was hoped that some record showing how the property was transferred after Clark's purchase could be located--either a deed of sale from Clark himself or some court generated document after his death.

None was located despite a search of grantor/grantee indexes through 1860. The microfilmed indexes were difficult to read and it is possible that a reference was overlooked. It is possible that the record was indexed under another name and not located, although indexes were also searched for Asa and Mary Landon during the same time period (1848-1860). The family left Winnebago County in the mid-1850s and it is possible that the record was recorded decades after they left. 

The county did not have tract indexes during the 19th century, so using those materials was not an option. That would have facilitated the search.

There was no probate for Clark Sargent (or any Sargent of interest during the time period), no minor probate for any of Clark's children, no divorce, and no court action where Clark Sargent was a litigant. Those records were located in the Circuit Clerk's Office.

A deed was located where Clark Sargent and two other men purchased an 83 acre parcel of property in Winnebago County, but no deed of sale could be located. 

Asa Landon and Mary sell two small parcels of property in Winnebago County on 21 April 1855 and are styled as being of the county as of that date. A deed of purchase could not be located, but the property does not match the legal description of Clark's federal purchase in 1848. 

We'll have an update with information on the properties in a later post. I'm hesitant to draw too many conclusions about being unable to find the "other ends" of the transfers at this point, mainly because the index was so difficult to read. It may be that another trip is in order to look at the indexes again. The grantor /grantee indexes are not available on microfilm through FamilySearch