07 December 2014

Aldrich the Attorney-in-Fact Gets Forty Acres

In "Did the Lawyer Use the Facts to Seize the Moment--And the Land?," we mentioned the fact that an attorney-in-fact for the heirs of a War of 1812 military veteran obtained federal land within close proximity to where the land for the heirs was located.

That raised the question of how he obtained the land.

He obtained it via a military warrant but, like many who obtained federal land through a military warrant, he was not the actual veteran. He purchased the rights to the warrant from the holder of the warrant--in this case the widow of the veteran.

Mary Spooner's husband's service allowed her to obtain a warrant for 40 acres of property in the federal domain as evidenced by the certificate from July of 1853. Mary was a resident of Washington, DC. at the time.



On the back of the warrant Mary Spooner has assigned all her rights in the warrant to Cyrus Aldrich.


It was this warrant, which had been assigned to him by Mary Spooner, that allowed Aldrich to obtain federal property. It seems reasonable that Aldrich noticed the land was available when he completed the Kiles' claim. How the Dixon, Illinois, resident obtained the warrant is another matter.

Since Aldrich had no direct connection to the Kile family--he appears to have specialized in handling land transactions at the Dixon, Illinois, land office--further research probably isn't necessary.

But these are still really interesting documents. Personally I only obtained it so it could be used as an illustration in a blog post and some lectures. I wouldn't normally obtain copies of these documents in similar situations as they aren't going to tell me any thing about the family of interest. Let's be honest, Aldrich was an attorney-in-fact for a ancestral family who probably never even saw or met him personally.

Aside from that transfer of the warrant can be a really good place to locate ancestral signatures. If I were a Spooner relative then this would have been a great find.

We've been discussing the Kile military bounty land materials in Casefile Clues.
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