Thursday, April 14, 2022


In a previous post, Joel Johnson, Finding the Facts, I learned about a land sale that occurred 187 years ago today where my maternal 5th great grandfather Asahel Johnson (67 years old) sold some of his property to his youngest son Joel Johnson (36 years old), my 4th great grandfather.  Here is the documentation of this transaction:

(click on image to enlarge)


This indenture Made the fourteenth Day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty five between Asahel Johnson of the township of Orwell in the County of Bradford Pa and Buleh his wife of the first part, and Joel Johnson of the township: county and state aforesaid of the second part, witnesseth that the said party of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred Dollars Lawful Money of the United States to him in hand paid by the party of the second part, his heirs executors and administrators by the present have granted bargain, sell, alien, enfeoff[invest with a fee], release and confirm, unto the said party of the second part and to his heirs and assigns all that certain message Lot, piece or parcel of land lying and being in the township of Orwell aforesaid and bounded as follows, viz-

Beginning on the line of lands owned by the heirs of the late Samuel Wells, thence north forty six degrees East two chains and twenty links[145.1'] to a large Beech post and stones for a corner-thence north north forty one degrees west forty seven chains and four links[3,104.64'] to Birch tree for a corner-thence South twenty-eight degrees west eight chains and eleven links[535.26'] to Beech saplin for a corner-thence south forty eight degrees East forty four chains and fifty links[2937'] to the place of beginning containing Twenty one acres fifty-seven perches[940.5'] and four tenths of a perch[6.6']

and allow and ? being a piece or parcel of land conveyed to the said Asahel Johnson by William Pointett and Marianna F. his wife by deed bearing date the Sixteenth day of August AD 1815 and recorded in Bradford County in Deed Book No. 2 page 200.  Together with all the singular the rights, privileges, hereditaments and appurtenances whatsoever thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining, and the servitudes[part of easement] and remainders[future interest in the land], rents issues and profits thereof: And also all the estate, right, title, interest, claim and demand whatsoever of the said party of the first part in law or equity of, in, to or out of the same.  To have and to hold the said hereditaments and premises hereby granted or mentioned or intended so to be, with the appurtenances unto the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns forever, and the said Asahel Johnson for himself, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns all and singular the hereditaments hereby granted unto the said Joel Johnson his heirs and assigns against the said Asahel and his heirs and against all and every person and persons whomsoever lawfully claiming or to claim the same shall and will warrant and forever defend by these presents In witness whereof the said parties of the first part have hereunto set their hands and seals Dated the day and year first above written

                                                                                                                           Asahel Johnson (seal)

                                                                                                             Beulah (X her mark) Johnson (seal)

Sealed and Delivered in presence of 

Chauncey Frisbie

Byron Flitcher

              Bradford County On the 14th day of April A.D. 1835 before me the subscriber one of the Justices of the peace in and for the said county the within named Asahel Johnson and Beulah his wife and separately acknowledged the within Indentured to be their respective act and deed and desired the same might be recorded as such The said Beulah being of full age and by me separate and apart form her said husband examined and the content made known to her declared she executed the same of her own free will and accord without any compunction[misgivings] or control of her said said husband Witness my hand and seal the day and year appointed 

                                                                                                             Chauncey Frisbie

              Recorded May 14, 1835 

Some thoughts:
  • There is always a challenge reading old land deeds and trying to understand them.  First, I needed to understand the measurements used in a Metes and Bounds survey system.  If you look carefully at the photo on the top of the page (above the word "deed") there is a picture of Gunter's Chain which was an English system of measurement introduced in 1620.  A "chain" is equal to 66 feet.  A "link" is 7.92 inches.  A "perch" is 16.5 feet. If the math is done correctly, I added the distance in feet for additional understanding above within the description of the land.
  • This piece of property was about 21 acres in size.
  • Beulah was unable to write her name and used a mark.
  • After some additional genealogy, I was able to determine that the recorder of the land deed and a witness to the signing, Chauncey Frisbie's father and Joel's father Asahel were two of the early settlers in this area.  An interesting connection between the families.
  • Care was taken by Chauncey to determine that Beulah was in agreement with the sale of the property and was not coerced by her husband to sell the property.
  • I always chuckle at the markers for the property description: the line of lands owned by the heirs of the late Samuel Wells, to a large Beech post and stones, Birch tree, Beech saplin.  I doubt the markers could be found today.
  • Asahel would live another 22 years after the sale of this property.

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

Enjoy the journey,


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