Saturday, June 20, 2009

Clermont County Roots

For over a year I have had a copy of the deed to property William Wainright had in Clermont Co., Ohio. He purchased it in December 1819. I had always wanted to know where the land was located and what was on the land now. What a history lesson I got investigating this!

The first thing I learned was that all of Clermont County and 22 other Ohio counties were once part of the Virginia Military District. This was land set aside by the Commonwealth of Virginia to reward her Revolutionary War soldiers. Land was awarded on the basis of rank and length of service with bounties ranging from 100 to 15,000 acres. The veteran would be issued a certificate noting the amount of land to which he was entitled. The book Property Transfers for Clermont County, 1791-1830, the process of redemption is described in this way:
"Next, the soldier made an entry (a general description of the tract on which he was locating the warrant). This entry was numbered, dated, and recorded in a book in the Principal Surveyor's Office. He then had the tract dated, and recorded in a book in the Principal Surveyor's Office. He then had the tract surveyed by an authorized deputy surveyor. Following the acceptance of the survey by the Principal Surveyor, he sent the warrant and survey to the Federal government for a patent."

Alma Aicholtz Smith published a book in 1985. In many cases the veteran who qualified for the land as a reward for his service had no interest in relocating from Virginia to a wilderness area that still occasionally had to subdue the native Indians to stake their claim. They often sought to sell their claim.
It was necessary to acquire the services of a Deputy Surveyor. The surveyor in turn was responsible for hiring and maintaining his surveying crew, "consisting of two chain carriers, a marker man, a pack horse, a spy, and a hunter to supply food. Until the Indian Wars were concluded in 1795, stealth was necessary, and every man was armed with rifle, tomahawk, and scalping knife."

A surveyor by the name of John O'Bannon ran the first survey in what is now Clermont County in the year 1787. (He was also the surveyor for the land later purchased by William Wainright). In my posting for "William the Wanderer," I included a copy of the deed for the property. The deed included this description of the property: ". . . said half part of said original tract containing three hundred and sixty-nine acres of thirty-two perches be the same more or less, and was conveyed to said Kemp by Samuel McChesley of Lexington and conveyed to him by John Mc Dowell of the same place . . ." With this information I was able to track down the survey number pictured below.

After finding the information shown in the image above, I wanted to know where, in Clermont County, William Wainright's property was located. I knew from Alma's book that the Recorder's Office in Batavia had a book called the Clermont County Virginia Military Survey Book. Since I already had the survey number, it should have been easy to go to the Recorder's Office and get a copy of the original survey. It was not easy.
Initially they acted as if I didn't have sufficient information and referred me to the Tax Map Office in the same building. There I met Randy Jefferson and supplied him with all of the information I had. I had a map of Stonelick Township that cited the survey number and property for the property surveyed for McDowell.

Randy worked with their tax maps and tried to match up features of my map with those he had in his data base. I am grateful to him for the amount of time he was willing to give to me as the books he had only dated back to 1870. This land was purchased in 1819.
I returned to the Doris Wood Library in Batavia and tried to bring back additional clues. With this information, Randy located the approximate area of the plot. Most of the land is in a subdivision off of Route 131. He supplied me with both an outline map and a map of the surface features of the land as it exists now. 

I had so much information that I returned to the Recorder's side of the office. At this point, I was very specific about what I needed. Two of the employees again were very helpful. They located a very fragile copy of the Clermont County Virginia Military Survey Book and carefully made copies of the original survey. I know if you're not "into" this stuff, it's hard to understand how satisfied I was at the end of the day.

Before I complete this posting, I can't leave out what I know about William Lytle. William is known as the "Father of Clermont County."

William was one of the original surveyors of Clermont County. Deputy Surveyors typically made their living by accepting a portion of the lands surveyed as compensation. Surveyors typically charged between 1/4 and 1/2 of the land surveyed. Because of his extensive work as a surveyor, William Lytle owned thousands of acres of land and at one point owned the second-largest amount of land in the state. While surveying he was struck by the beauty and possibilities of land located in present-day Williamsburg. He started a town there originally called Lytle's Town. The town was about 30 miles east of Cincinnati and he helped establish a road linking Cincinnati, Williamsburg and Chillicothe.

In 1809 William Lytle built his home in Cincinnati near what is now Lytle Park. He is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery. One of the pieces of property purchased by William Wainright was originally surveyed by William Lytle.

I still have Clermont County questions, such as where the property purchased by William's brother, Daniel was located. Many of the Wainrights from Clermont County are children and grandchildren of Daniel and his wife, Nancy Hall. I'm amazed at how uncovering the origin of a piece of property could teach me so much about the county to the east.

The picture of William Lytle and information about Williamsburg came from a book called Olde Williamsburgh, 200 Years of History, a book put together to commemorate 200 years of history from 1796-1996. It can be found in the Doris Wood Branch of the Batavia Library.

P.S. I just spoke to Alma Aicholtz Smith to include the quotes, illustrations and pictures from her book. It was a delightful conversation. When I get back in town, we've agreed to get together so I can show her what a blog is. Permission granted.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Join the conversation. Comments are appreciated and keep me motivated.