Monday, December 7, 2020

Jacob Hamman’s Land Deed

One of my goals for my Genealogy Road Trip 2020 was to find and stand on my maternal great-great grandfather’s land in Fredonia Township, Plymouth County, Iowa. While traditional searching (see previous posts Finding Jacob Hamman’s Land-First Understanding Iowa Land and Searching for the Will and the Land of Jacob Hamman) on Ancestry, FamilySearch, Bureau of Land Management, etc. yielded no results going to the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars, Iowa this summer allowed me to accomplish my goals of finding and standing on Jacob’s land.

While I knew now  where Jacob’s land was, I wanted to be able to get a copy of his actual land deed. Would this deed give me more information about Jacob and the land? I knew the actual deed would be in Book 5 page 280 of Land Deeds. I have been disappointed before to find the ledger I am looking for to have disappeared or the print in the ledger to be difficult to read. I don’t get too excited until I have a copy of the actual deed in my possession. What would happen his time?

Copy of Plymouth County, Iowa Land Deeds Book 5 page 280:

(click on images to enlarge)


This indenture made this Twenty second day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety five between The Western Land Company a corporation created and organized under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Iowa party of the first part and Jakob Hamman of Plymouth County State of Iowa party of the second part, Witnesseth, That the party of the first part in consideration of the sum of Six Thousand four hundred ($6,400) Dollars paid by the said party of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged does thereby grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns forever all that tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Plymouth and State of Iowa described as following to wit:

The West half (W ½) of Section No. of the second part this Eleven (11) in Township No. Ninety three (93) North of Range No. Forty four (44) West of the Fifth Principal Meridian containing according to the United States Survey three hundred twenty (320) acres be the same more or less being the same premises contracted to be sold to Jakob Hamman by The Western Land Company by contract executed the 20th day of September 1886 in pursuance and fulfillment of which said contract this conveyance is made and executed.

To have and to hold the same, Together with all the hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging, or in anywise appertaining to the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns forever, and the said The Western Land Company, party of the first part, does covenant with the party of the second part his heirs and assigns that it is well seized in fee of the lands and premises aforesaid, and has good right to all and convey the same in manner and form aforesaid that the same are free from all incumbrances; created, and the above _? and granted lands in the quiet and peaceable possession of the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns, against all persons lawfully claiming or to claim the whole or any part thereof, the said party of the first part will warrant and defend. Excepting however from the operation of the foregoing covenants all taxes and assessments levied or imposed upon said premises or any part thereof since the 20th day of September 1886 and also all titles, interests, liens or encumbrances, created, suffered or imposed thereon by said Jakob Hamman or his assigns.

In testimony, Whereof the said The Western Land Company, party of the first part, has by Ephraim McMurtrie Its Attorney in fact, duly appointed in writing under the seal of said Company, caused these presents to be signed and sealed the day and year first above written.

The Western Land Company (seal)

By Ephraim McMurtrie

Attorney in fact

State of Illinois

County of Cook on this 28th day of October A. D. 1895 before me, F. L. Brown a Notary Public written and for said County personally came Ephraim McMurtree personally to me known to be the identical person whose name is subscribed to the foregoing instrument as attorney in fact for the Western Land Company, the grantor therein named and acknowledged said instrument to be the act and deed of The Western Land Company grantor, by him as its attorney in fact thereunto appointed, voluntarily done and executed.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my Notarial seal on the date last above written.

F. L. Brown

Notary Public


Filed for Record October 31 A.D. 1895 at 8 o’clock A.M.

G.W. McLain


Some thoughts about this find:

About 320 acres of land at a cost of $6,400 would mean that the land in 1895 cost $20/acre.

What was The Western Land Company? After doing some additional research I learned that “it was a corporation created and organized under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Iowa". In my previous post Searching for the Will and the Land of Jacob Hamman I have a copy of the ledger which shows this was the first transaction for this piece of land. Everything fits!

  • Except…after doing some research at the State level with an archivist I found out more about The Western Land Company. I learned that “Section 11, Township 93N Range 44W was part of a large grant of land by the State of Iowa to the Iowa Falls and Sioux City Railroad for railroad construction. It appears that there were at least a couple of transactions involving this property prior to the Western Land Company selling the W 1/2 of the section to Jakob Hamman in 1895. The Real Estate Transfer Books kept at the County Auditor's Office in Plymouth County should record all transactions for T93N R44W, Section 11.” Interesting.

As a blogger I like to share my blog posts on Facebook with groups from the area where I am researching. Sometimes you may find a ‘cousin’ you didn’t previously know about, a new source to search for documents or a researcher in the area may find an idea from something I have done that helps them in their research.

I posted my last blogs on the Iowa Genealogy Facebook page. Several people made suggestions or even found a record I previously was unable to find. The following is one such record. (Thank-you Alan Cable for yet another piece of this puzzle.) I have searched Bureau of Land Records for years trying to find Jacob’s land. I have used a variety of spellings and even after finding out the Township, Range and Section numbers I was still unable to find Jacob’s land. This find adds another piece to the puzzle:

Transcription of second listing on page:

All of Section 11 Township 93 Range 44 /640 acres/ Selected for the Dubuque and Pacific Rail Road and Branch under Act May 15, 1856 / Approved December 27, 1858

  • The Act of May 15, 1856 was an Act of Congress making a grant of lands to the State of Iowa, in alternate sections to aid in the construction of certain railroads in the State. The railroad was slated to be built from Dubuque, Iowa on the Mississippi River west to the Missouri River near Sioux City.
  • The Iowa Falls & Sioux City Railroad was incorporated 1 October 1867 and was a subsidiary of the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad.

I have gained so many pieces of this puzzle about Jacob’s land.  More then just 'land purchased' and dates.  I am very grateful to everyone that helped on this journey!

Now I’d like to know what the ‘covenant’ was and if I can obtain a copy of that?  Any ideas?

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.

Enjoy the journey,

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