Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Elusive Russell Smith - Post 7

I wrote a series of six posts back in January and February documenting my search for information about Russell Smith, the probable father of my third-great-grandfather, Ranslow Smith. Post 6 of the series is here, and has links to the earlier posts.

In post 6, I listed the Oneida County NY deeds that I wanted to review from the Grantor and Grantee indexes. I have methodically ordered, received and reviewed the microfilms of the deeds from the Family History Library at the San Diego Family History Center. I captured digital images of all of them also, and have spent this morning extracting information from those for Russell Smith.

My extraction from the first deed involving Russell Smith is below:

On 1 March 1806, John Lansing Junior, and Cornelia his wife, of Albany in Albany County, New York, and Abraham Lansing of Albany, sold land to Russel Smith of Western town in Oneida County, New York, for $256 of money of the USA in hand. The land was "...all that certain parcel of land situate lying and being in the town of Western in the county of Oneida being part of a certain lot of land distinguished in the division of Fonda's Patent as lot number eighteen and which parcel of land is in a survey made by Benjamin Wright. bounded easterly by the east boundary line of the said lot number eighteen southerly by the northern bank of the Mohawk River westerly and northerly by a line drawn from a point seven chains & fifty links from the north east corner of the said lot number eighteen in the eastern boundary line of the same south forty three degrees forty minutes west twenty five chains and eighty eight links to the northeast corner of a square of four acres granted to Prosper Rudd then along the east line of the said four acres south six chains and thirty three links thence west three chains and twelve links and thence south two degrees twenty five minutes west fifteen chains and fourteen links to the Mohawk river containing fifty eight acres and an half together with all and singular the hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining and the reversion and reversions remainder and remainders rents issues and proffits thereof and all the estate right title interest use trust property claims and demand whatsoever of the said parties of the first part either in law or equity of in and to the above bargained ..." John Lansing, and Cornelia his wife, and Abraham Lansing and Susannah his wife, acknowledged that this indenture was executed before Sebastian Visscure, Master in chy, and it was recorded on 23 May 1807 by Francis A. Bloodgood. (Deeds, 1791-1901, Oneida County, New York, Volume 12, Page 607, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,364,861).

Four subsequent deeds sell off bits of this land parcel to Henry Smith (a sibling or cousin or uncle?), Charles Leffingwell, Nehemiah Muscott and Benjamin Rudd. Russell Smith's last deed is in 1817, and sells all 58 and a half acres to Benjamin Rudd.

I still have several deeds to review - so far I haven't been able to connect Russell Smith with a specific David Smith, much to my dismay.

Several of the deeds mention neighbors and list witnesses, so those names have gone on my list of "associates" of Russell Smith. One of them may be related to Esther (--?--) Smith, Russell's wife.

I have had some experience with the metes and bounds type of land definition in New England, but I wanted to learn more about it. I cracked open E. Wade Hone's book Land & Property Research for the first time - it has been sitting proudly in my bookcase for several years. I especially wanted to refresh my memory about the measurements, such as:

* Chain = 100 links; 4 rods, poles or perches, 66 feet, 1/80th of a mile.
* Link = 7.92 inches
* Rod = 0.25 chains, 16.5 feet, 1/320 of a mile
* Acre = 160 rods square, 10 square chains, 43,560 square feet, 1/640th of a square mile.

I looked for a map of Fonda's Patent in Oneida County, and found several on the Oneida County NY USGenWeb site The 1829 map shows Fonda's Patent. The 1822 map shows the early towns, including Western and Lee just up the Mohawk River from the town of Rome.

If Russell Smith sold all of his land in Western in 1817, I wonder where he went from there? There are several Russell Smith's in the 1820 New York census, but none are in this area. Perhaps he and/or his wife went up to Jefferson County NY, where his son David settled around 1800, and where his sons George, Lyman and Ranslow Smith owned land in the 1830's.

Don't you just love the language in the older deeds? They don't use any punctuation other than a random period, it seems.

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