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Do you have farmers in your tree? Do you know where the family homestead is (was) located? Since I have a rich Kansas heritage, there are two definitions for homestead:

  • a house, particularly a farmhouse and outbuildings
  • an area of public land in the west (i.e. Kansas) usually comprising 160 acres that was granted to any U.S. citizen willing to settle the land and farm it for at least five years.

My great great grandfather, Washington Marion Crawford was a homesteader — and the only ancestor for whom I’ve obtained a homestead record. To put this land on a map, I use the web site First Landowners Project at HistoryGeo ($).

Washington Crawford’s land is in the lower left of the above map. Toward the top of the map is land his brother, James H. Crawford owned. The two pieces of land just south of Dodge City were homesteaded by his nephew and his daughter. The purple dot on the map identifies the location of the land Richmond Hammond homesteaded. Richmond’s daughter, Josie, would later marry Judson, son of Washington Crawford.

Zooming in on the map, the original neighbors of Washington Marion Crawford can be identified.

In March of 1885, Washington M. Crawford paid $2 to register his claim at the Garden City Land Office.

Land Office at Garden City, Kansas
Mar 31 1885
Mr. Washington M. Crawford has this day paid Two dollars, the Reiger’s and Receiver’s fees to file a Declaratory Statement, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged.
A J Hoisington, Receiver
No. 125
Mr. Washington M. Crawford having paid the fees, has this day filed in this Office his Declaratory Statement, No. 125 for SE 1/4 section 31 township 28S of Range 26 W containing 160 acres selected March 31, 1885 being [?] offered.

In July 1889, Washington M. Crawford filed his “Testimony of Claimant’ by answering several questions. Interesting bits of information from these questions includes the following:

  • had made a previous filing for another tract of land but did not remember the description and never obtained title to it
  • there is no timber on the land
  • in March of 1886, he built a house and broke 5 acres of land
  • Description of buildings: house – frame shingle roof 15 ft x 15 ft with sod addition 10 ft x 12 ft; 3 doors & 4 windows; sod stable 16ft x 32 ft; hen house 8 ft x 8 ft; well 92 ft deep;
  • planted 2000 mulberry trees
  • owns a plow and a buggy
  • owns 1 cow, 1 calf and 2 horses
  • raised crops for 3 seasons
  • spent 4 months in 1887 in Dodge City working to earn money to support family

The final certificate for the land was received by the family in May 1890 after Washington M. Crawford’s death in August 1889.

The United States of America
To All to Whom These Presents Shall Come, Greeting:
Homestead Certificate No. 1180
Application 4505
Whereas there has been deposited in the General Land office of the United States a Certificate of the Register of the Land Office at Garden City, Kansas, whereby it appears that pursuant to the Ace of Congress appeared 20th May, 1862 “To secure Homesteads to actual settlers on the public domain,” and the acts supplemental thereto, the claim of Washington M. Crawford has been established and duly consummated in conformity to law for the South East quarter of Section Thirty one in township Twenty Eight South of Range twenty-six West of the Sixth Principal Meridian in Kansas, containing one hundred and sixty acres.
according tot he Official Plat of the Survey of the said land returned to the General Land Office by the Surveyor General.
Now know ye, That there is therefore granted by the United States unto the said Washington M. Crawford the tract of land above described to have and to hold the said tract of land with the appurtenances thereof unto the said Washington M. Crawford and his heirs and assigns forever.
In testimony whereof I, Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States of America have caused these letters to be made Patent, and the Seal of the General Land Office to be hereunto affixed.
Given under my hand, at the City of Washington, the twenty seventh day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and and fourteenth.
By the President: Benjamin Harrison
By M. McKean Sec’y
J. M. Townsend, Recorder of the General Land Office

His widow, Mary Foster Crawford, sold the homesteaded land in 1907. [Ford County Kansas, Deeds, Vol 31, page 570; Mary Crawford, et al to Peter Hinemann, 18 September 1907; Register of Deeds, Dodge City Kansas.]

From Mary Crawford et al
To Peter Hinemann
Entered in Transfer Record in my office this 18th day of Oct A.D. 1907
S H Cennaway, County Clerk
Filed for record on the 18 day of Oct A.D. 1907 at 4 o’clock P.M.
Geo A Stumph, Register of Deeds

This Indenture made this 18th day of September A.D. 1907 between Mary Crawford widow, Nelson G. Crawford and Cora Crawford his wife, J. F. Crawford and Josie Crawford his wife, Lida A LIghter and Alvin H LIghter her husband all of Ford County Kansas and Ida K Sherman and A O Sherman her husband of Tacoma Washington sole and only heirs of Washington M Crawford deceased of the first part and Peter Hinemann of Ford County, in the State of Kansas of the second part;
Witnesseth, that said parties of the first part, in consideration of the sum of Two Thousand ($2000.00) and no Dollars the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, do by these presents, grant, bargain, sell and convey unto said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns, all the following described Real Estate, situated in the County of Ford, and State of Kansas, to wit:
The Southeast quarter of Section Thirty-on (31) in Township Twenty eight (28) South of Range Twenty Six (26) West of the 6th PM containing 160 acres.
To have and to hold the same, together with all and singular the tenements, hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining, forever. And said grantors for themselves their heirs, exeuctors or administrators do hereby covenant, promise and agree to and with said party of the second part that at the delivery of these presents they are lawfully seized in their own right of an absolute and indefeasible estate of inheritance, in fee simple, of and in all and singular the above granted and described premises, with the appurtenances; that the same are free, clear, discharged and unincumbered of and from all former and other grants, titles, charges, estates, judgments, taxes, assessments and incumbrances of what nature or kind soever and that they will warrant and forever defend the same unto said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns, against said parties of the first part their heirs, and all and every person or persons whomsoever, lawfully claiming or to claim the same.
In witness whereof, the said parties of the first part have hereunto set their hands the day and year first above written.
Lida A Lighter
Alvin H LIghter
Ida K Sherman
A. O. Sherman
Mrs. Mary Crawford
Nelson G Crawford
Cora Crawford
J F Crawford
Josie Crawford

State of Kansas, Ford County, SS
Be it remembered, that on this 18th day of October A.D 1907, before me, the undersigned, a notary public in and for the County and State aforesaid, came Mary Crawford, a widow Nelson G Crawford and Cora Crawford his wife, J. F. Crawford and Josie Crawford his wife Lida A Lighter and Alvin Lighter her husband who are personally known to me to be the same persons who executed the within instrument of writing, and such persons duly acknowledged the execution of the same.
In Testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my notarial seal, the day and year last above written.
C. E. Smith, Notary Public
Term Expires Mar 15 1909

Along side of deed:
State of Washington, Pierce County, ss
Be it remembered that on this 24th day of September A.D. 1907 before me the undersigned a Notary Public in and for the County and State aforesaid came Ida K. Sherman and A. O. Sherman her husband is who are personmally known to me to be the same persons who executed the within instrument of writing and such persons duly acknowledged the execution of the same. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my notarial seal the day and year last above written.
Robert W Janes
Notary Public
Term expire April 10th, 1910

2 thoughts on “Homestead

  1. I hadn’t heard about HistoryGeo. I found one homesteader in Nebraska on my husband’s side. I was able to pinpoint his farm on Google Earth. This website sounds interesting. Not sure I will subscribe right at this time, though.

  2. I am envious of the American land records. While England has tithe maps (many behind a prohibitive paywall that insists you pay for their TOP full-year subscription in order to access them) which do show neighbours, I haven’t so far found the kind of land sale information that is so rich with genealogical data as well. I love looking at the maps and deeds 🙂

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