Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 12 of the Seaver Family History Mystery Tour

Saturday was cool and pretty clear in southern Wisconsin - ideal weather to go exploring around the homesteads and cemeteries of Linda's Leland and Natvig families.  Here are the highlights:

*  We left the Super 8 in Madison around 9 a.m. and headed for Cottage Grove, where her Natvig family settled in 1862 and lived in Section 28.  Using the 1873, 1890 and 1899 plat maps, and then comparing Google satellite maps, I was able to identify where their land was located.  What is now Natvig Road was part of the road south from Cottage Grove to Pleasant Springs town.  We drove around, and took pictures of some of the houses now on the land owned by the Natvig family.  There are many dilapidated barns in this area, but I didn't see any buildings that looked like they were over 100 years old. 

*  The second stop was at the St. Paul Liberty Lutheran Church in Deerfield town, which is on Oak Park Road just north of US 12.  The church is absolutely beautiful, with large stained glass windows on the east and south sides of the building.  I knew that Linda's great-grandparents, Torger and Ann (Natvig) Leland, and her great-grreat-grandfather, Severt Leland, were buried there, along with Torger's brother, Frank Leland.  I just didn't know where.  We both walked it, and I finally found Severt in the back of the south section, directly in back of the church, almost to the cemetery line and on the right-hand side of the cemetery.   We then walked the right-hand section on the north side of the church, and I finally found the stones for Torger, Anna and Frank near the cemetery line in back and on the right-hand side of the cemetery.  I took pictures of the cemetery entrance and the stones.  They look pretty much like the ones on Find-a-Grave! 

*  We drove up to Deerfield and stopped at a gas station to ask directions to London.  The library was next door, so I went there and copies some pages from the 2005 Dane County government book, which was a plat map of each town with the current owner names, and the roads well defined. 

*  We drove to London (a small town in Deerfield town right on the Dane County border with Jefferson County) via London Road, and went down to Cambridge (in Christiana town south of Deerfield town).  We had lunch at the Lake Ripley small family diner - it was great and cheap.  Then it was back to London to find the Leland land in Section 23.  There was only one house on that 40 acres, and it didn't look 140 years old.   I took pictures, and other pictures of the countryside.  There sure are a lot of corn and soybean fields!

*  We were done exploring, so we headed for our next stop in Delavan in Walworth County.  We checked into the Super 8 there at 2:30 p.m. and I spent three hours on the computer reading my email, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.  I ran a little SNGF asking readers to guess where we were, based on the clues provided.  Kerry Bailey guessed the town we were in. 

*  We ate dinner at the Delavan Family Restaurant and had an excellent waitress who was very concerned about Linda's soy allergy problem, and bent over backwards to make sure she ate safely.  The wait staff at family restaurants seem much more attentive and concerned than the staff at chain restaurants. 

There were no great discoveries today - but it was interesting to walk around, and drive through, the areas where Linda's ancestral families lived and died. 

I probably should have taken the time to check the telephone directories for these areas to find the current residents and to call them for information.  I didn't have addresses for the houses however, so I didn't do that.  The Dane County plat maps provide the information so I can try to contact them when we get home.

On Sunday we will visit Old World Wisconsin, where the Four-Mile House, built by my third great-grandfather Ranslow Smith, has been moved to and restored, along with 50 other historic buildings. 


RBrass189 said...

If you haven't seen it yet, Access Dane has an application called DCiMap for Dane County that allows people to drill down to find property information, sort of an electronic plat map system. The Map content button on the right of the DCiMap app lets you overlay various things, aerial imagery from 1995 to 2010, topo, flood plain, drainage, etc. It's a little tricky the first time you use it, but it's quite powerful. You should be able to get owner names, unless they've opted out of the online system.

Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

Geolover said...

Randy, your posts have been very good examples of on-the-ground explorations - thanks for sharing your experiences.

When you get a chance, perhaps you can say why you have eschewed Courthouses -- perhaps you already have obtained land, estate, other Court, and tax records.

As for houses, often old houses have been drastically remodeled on exterior, changing windows and adding new-style siding or half-brick treatments. Often one can tell from roof shapes and overall proportions, but not always.

Have more fun!

Anonymous said...

The proper terminology for the civil towns in Wisconsin is "Town of Deerfield" (not "Deerfield town"), "Town of Christiana," etc. You might want to check how you have data entered in your genealogy software.