Monday, October 25, 2010

Releases to Michael C. McMahon

As detailed in the previous few posts, the 120 acres in Greene County, Illinois was owned by the Hoffmans for a little over 40 years. After the death of William and Margaret Hoffman, their youngest son sold the land to Michael C. McMahon. This was in 1881.

In order for Michael C. McMahon to get a 'clear title' to the land, all of the requirements of the inheritance had to be verified. This was accomplished with papers that were delivered to Greene County by all of those who received a portion of the money. These were recorded in Greene County Courthouse from 1881 to 1888.

William A. Hoffman had four sisters who were still living in 1881, and each of them was given $100.00. Two other sisters and one brother had died, but had living descendants. These descendants divided appropriate portions of the money due them. Here is a list of those to whom we know money was given, along with spouses and where they lived at the time.

The sisters of William A. Hoffman:

Caroline Gano and husband Charles Gano of Greene County Illinois - July 1881.

Harriet Witt of Jackson County, Texas. Widow of Preston Witt - Sept 1881. I hope to write about Preston Witt at some point in the future.

Sarah Perry and her husband Alexander Perry of Dallas County Texas - Aug 1881.

Eliza (Louisa) Wright and her husband Franklin Wright of Moultie County Illinois - Aug 1881.

The nieces and nephews who shared a portion were:

Sole heir of Mary Skeen:
Harriet Skeen of Greene County Illinois - Aug 1881.

Heirs of John Hoffman:
Clinton Hoffman, widower, of Dallas County Texas - 1884
Andrew Worth Hoffman and wife Mary A (Molly) of Dallas County Texas - 1884
Eugenia Claud Myers and husband Douglas Myers of Dallas County Texas - 1884
It is known that John had several other children, but these were the only three who filed a statement concerning the inheritance money.

Heirs of Mariah Jane Davis:
These folks require a little explanation. Mariah Jane Hoffman had married John Maxwell in 1837, but this marriage ended, possibly the earliest known divorce in our family history. Mariah then married William Davis in 1852. She died before 1870, so that her children are referred to as the 'heirs of Mariah Jane Davis' in the original Hoffman/Huffman Deed. All of her known children (4) were from the first marriage. So each of these children should have gotten $25.00 [1/4 of the $100.00 due to Mariah]. One of these, Narcissa, had 6 children prior to about 1875 and she also died before 1881. This meant that her 6 children split Narcissa's portion of the inheritance, $4.20 [1/6 of $25.00]. So here are the folks we know identified themselves as heirs of Mariah:

Nancy (Maxwell) Stoler and her husband Frederick Stoler of Marion County Kansas - 1882 (some evidence indicates this was Marion County Missouri)
Flavious Josephus Maxwell and his sister Zerriah Ann Maxwell of McPherson County Kansas.
Heirs of Narcissa (Maxwell) Ashford
William and Mary Ashford [probably brother/sister] of Greene County Illinois - 1886.
Kate Ashford - Kate co-signed the release with her cousin Clinton Hoffman listed above. Other sources indicate that the other three heirs of Naricissa were Hiram B. Ashford, Arthur Bruce Ashford, and Joseph Ashford.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Clinton Hoffman 'Inherits' 33 dollars!

Ok, we don't know for sure it was $33.00. And I'm sure the attorney took at least a couple dollars to file the proper papers!

Let me explain.

S. C. Hoffman had already moved to Texas before this 'inheritance' happened. Before he left home in Illinois, his mother had died in about 1875 and his father died in 1877. He was 18 years old at this time. He and his older brother, Andrew Worth Hoffman, went to Texas and are found living with the James Kennedy family in Dallas County in the 1880 census (going by their middle names). He also had one younger sister, Eugenia, who was 'adopted' by her Aunt Sarah Perry's family after their parents died. The Perry family lived near the Kennedys and Eugenia Hoffman is found with them in the 1880 census as a 15 year old niece.

By 1881 all three of these children had married folks that were part of the close-knit Baptist community in the Farmers Branch area, just north of Dallas. All three signed papers saying that they were the children of John Hoffman, and that they had received their portion of this inheritance. (see the Sept 23 post)

Here is the paper filed on behalf of our g-grandfather...

Clinton Hoffman
To release Deed Filed Nov. 30th [1888] at 4 o’clock PM
Michael C. McMahon

Know all men by these presents that Clinton Hoffman widower of the county Dallas and State Texas for and in consideration of one dollar and for other good and valuable considerations the receipt whereof is hereby confessed do hereby grant . . . and quit claim unto Michael C McMahon of the county of Greene and the State of Illinois all the right . . . whatsoever I may have as one of the heirs at law of John Hoffman deceased by virtue of a certain Deed of William Hoffman to William A Hoffman bearing the date the 11th day of June AD 1870 and recorded in the recorders office in Greene County Illinois in Book SS at page 383 in and to the described real estate situated in the County of Greene and State of Illinois to wit the north half of the north east quarter and the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section one (1) in Township nine(9) north Range Twelve (12) west 3rd PM in Greene County Illinois and I hereby acknowledge the receipt of my portion of the money directed in said Deed to be paid to John Hoffman now deceased. Witness my hand and seal this 15 day of July AD 1884.
Clinton Hoffman (seal

I don't quite understand why the document says 'one dollar'. There were at least 10 other similar documents filed by other folks who also received a portion of this inheritance. Some of the papers say 'one dollar', and some of them specify the exact amount the person was paid. Maybe our family attorney could answer that question (Tim?).

What we do know is that there were only three heirs of John Hoffman who filed papers related to this land, so it seems that they must have been paid $33.33 each (one third of the hundred dollars that was to go to John Hoffman). It is possible that there were other heirs with whom this $100.00 was shared, but no other living children of John and Jane have been identified in 1880 or later.

As I said before, there are other important details which confirm that this is 'our' Clinton Hoffman. He was married to Carrie Perry in 1880, using the name Sylvester Clinton Hoffman in the Dallas marriage register. She died in 1881 after having one daughter. Thus, when he states that he is a widower, living in Dallas, these details fit the other historical documents and family history as passed down through our family and the Perry family.

To a family historian, these types of papers are a true gold mine. The next post will list several of the other folks who claimed a portion of the money paid by William A. Hoffman in compliance with his inheritance.

Monday, October 11, 2010

William A. and Ann Maria Huffman sell the 'Family Farm'.

William had inherited this land as William A 'Hoffman', but he used the 'Huffman' name when selling it. See the Sept 13 post for more discussion about the spelling of names.

We don't know why he sold the land. As part of the requirements of his inheritance, he owed $700.00 to his siblings and their descendants. This might have been a factor. After selling the land his family moved to Texas, so they may have just wanted to move. (This family only stayed in Texas a couple of years, then moved to Missouri, and at least three of the children moved to the Seattle, Washington area in about 1900. I hope to detail how/what is known about this family in a future post.)

Whatever the reason, the land was sold in the same year as his Mother died, 1881. (His Father had died in 1871). The Deed of is dated July 29, and was filed in the courthouse on July 30, 1881.

William A. Huffman
To:: Warranty Deed
Michael C. McMahon

This Indenture made the Twenty Ninth day of July in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty One Between William A Huffman and Ann Maria Huffman, his wife of the County of Greene and State of Illinois party of the first part and Michael C. McMahon in the County of Greene and the State of Illinois party of the second part. Witnesseth that the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of Three Thousand Dollars in hand paid . . .

It looks like William and Ann Maria came out 'OK' on the sale of this land. It had been purchased for $150.00 by his Father in the late 1830s. After paying the obligations to his family, he would have still had $2300.00 from the sale. The Deed does not mention the money that was required to be paid to the other members of the family, but it is obvious that these payments had to be documented in order for Mr. McMahon to gain a clear title to this land.

In the next post I will share the document in which our g-grandfather inherited his portion of this inheritance.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Section One, Township 9 North, Range 12 West

It has become obvious that I need to back up and tell a little more about the chunk of land that is referenced in the Deed which is detailed in the previous post.

This land is in Greene County, Illinois. It was the location of our Hoffman Clan for much of the 1800s. The reason it is SO important to our family history, is that there are many historical documents related to it. Without these, we would have to guess about the path that was followed by this branch of our family.

William Hoffman purchased this land from the U.S. government as part of a westward expansion program of the early 1800s. The sale price for land in Illinois was $1.25 per acre. He first bought 40 acres, then about 4 years later bought 80 acres. The total purchases being $150.00. These were adjacent properties, both being in the northeast quarter of Section One, T9N, R12W. This land was farmed by three generations of our family: William and Margaret, their children, and several grandchildren. There were distant cousins in the area until just a few years ago, but this land was sold in 1881 to another family.

The drawing is a close up of the shape of this land. One section of land is 1 mile x 1 mile, 640 acres. The Hoffman land was 1/2 mile across the top border and 1/2 mile down the east side.

In the next few posts (and the previous post), I will detail some of the important documents related to this land and our family.