26 February 2015

Focke Goldenstein's Farm Sale is Front Page News

Newspapers today don't usually publish prices for specific pieces of real property.

That apparently was not the case in Quincy, Illinois, when the sale of my great-great-grandfather's farm was front page news.

Focke Goldenstein sold 100 acres of Adams County, Illinois, farmland for $110 an acre and apparently that was worthy of note on the front page of the Quincy Daily Whig in August of 1905.

I'm not a fan of "inflation" calculators, so I don't even bother computing that value in today's terms. Besides what really mattered was the relative value of $11,000 in 1905 terms. How did it compare to the cost of other items?

And that's not what I'm really interested in anyway.

I need to locate where this property was and obtain the deeds of transfer to and from Goldenstein. The county should have grantor and grantee indexes which should help me locate those records. Based upon what I know about Goldenstein, he likely did not inherit the property, but most likely purchased it himself. Land records will tell me that. They also may tell me what he paid for the farm as well.

What I'm really curious about is what Goldenstein did with the money. He did not retire and did not leave the Golden area.

Goldenstein is known to have purchased "rice land in Arkansas," which his son farmed in the late 1910s. Is that what Goldenstein did with the money?

That's going to take longer to answer as "rice land in Arkansas" is vague and I'll need a more precise location to find those records as they'll be recorded at the county level.

First steps towards finding the location of that "rice land" should concentrate on:

  • locating the son who farmed the land in the 1920 census--that will give me the county
  • access Focke's 1913 era probate information in Adams County, Illinois, as it may provide the legal description of the rice land in Arkansas. Hopefully the Arkansas rice land was inventoried in his probate in Adams County, Illinois, and not only listed in a separate Arkansas probate. Even if there was an Arkansas probate it is possible that the location of the rice land is mentioned in the Illinois probate.
And that's more interesting (at least to me) than what $11,000 is worth today. 

Because my suspicion is that 100 acres of farm land is worth more today than that inflation calculator is going to say the $11000 is.