Thursday, April 7, 2011

Using Land Records to Solve Genealogical Problems - Part 6

We have been reviewing the documents in the Military Land Warrant File of William H. Ballenger. While we are finished with that file, there is much more to look at in relation to William's property, particularly as it relates to answering the question of who were William's parents. Today we take a look at what William did with this particular piece of property by looking at the deed recorded at the time of the sale. I will start with a summary of what information was gleaned from this deed and follow with a transcription.

  • On 7 March 1854 William H. and Lucinda Ballenger sold 160 acres, with the same description as the land acquired in the file we have been studying, to Jeremiah J. Ballenger.
  • Price was $300.
  • Samuel Ballenger was the witness.
  • The deed was filed on 20 April 1854 and recorded 22 April 1854.
The significance of his transaction lies in who the land was sold to (Jeremiah J. Ballenger) and who the witness was (Samuel Ballenger). My theory is they are brothers or possibly some other relation.


[left hand margin is written “34-76-15”]

Wm H Ballenger etux
To Deed
JJ Ballinger

Filed for Record April 20th 1854 at 1
O'Clock PM & Recorded April 22nd 1854

For the consideration Three hundred dollars we hereby convey
unto Jeremiah J Ballinger the following tract of land Situated
in the County of Mahaska in the State of Iowa. Viz: the South
East Quarter of section Thirty four in Township Seventy six No

[page] 557

of Range fifteen West containing one hundred and Sixty acres
And we warrant the title to the same to the said Jeremiah J Ballinger
against all Persons whomsoever. Executed this Seventh day of March
AD 1854 in presence of
Samuel Ballinger

W H. Ballinger
Lucinda Ballinger

State of Iowa, Mahaska County ss
Before me Samuel Kirby a Justice of the Peace in and
For said County personally appeared the above named William H.
Ballinger and Lucinda Ballinger personally known to me to be the
identical persons whose names appeared in the foregoing Deed as grantors
and acknowledged the above instrument to be their voluntary act
and deed for the purposes there in expressed. Given under my
hand this 1 day of April AD 1854
Samuel Kirby
Justice of the Peace

Henry Blackburn recorder Mahaska County Iowa.

Iowa. Mahaska County. Deeds, 1853-54, Volume E.  County Recorder’s Office, Oskaloosa. FHL microfilm 972968. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT.

Note: When I obtained the copy of this deed, at the Family History Library, the copy was made on an 11x17 piece of paper which is difficult to scan, especially considering the quality of the original isn't that good. So I haven't attempted to put an image in this post.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum


  1. I noticed that there was not quite 5 yrs between the recorded "purchase" of April 10 1849 and the transfer date of March 7, 1854. Back then, was there a 5 yr limit to "prove" the land..(with a crop or house) before it was actually yours? I don't know the answer, but it seems like I read something like that in a novel. Do you know if this is true?

  2. Anonymous, Good question. What you are probably thinking of is the Homestead Act. The first Homestead Act was passed in 1862 and yes the applicant had to "prove" the land.

    In this particular case, the land warrant was awarded to Christopher Rian as payment or reward for his service in the Mexican-American War. He then assigned it (probably by sale) to William Ballenger. Once William completed the process and received his patent. He owned the land.

  3. Instead of trying to scan large documents and photocopies, I use a digital camera to capture the image. It's much faster!