Land and Property Records 
Montgomery Co. Arkansas

Taken Dec. 2007 not 2008. Grapevine Mtn- looking west. Sun setting.

Learn where an individual lived and when he lived there!

After you obtain the legal description of the land, do a search, at the BLM web site, leaving off all names, just the legal description. This will tell you who the neighbors of the person you are researching would have been in the same section.

Arkansas General Land Office Records to 1908 search. After 30 June, 1908 the General Land Office commenced a new record keeping program.
Federal Land Records of Arkansas
Arkansas Land Records
Montgomery County Assessor's Office

Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, the Official Land Patent Site and for land laws. Land patents (a first title deed), often called grants, are documents issued under various land title transfer authorizes and acts of Congress to people who were considered the original owners of the land in federal land states west of the Appalachian mountains and this includes Arkansas. The BLM site allows a search of the land patentee database by name or by land description.  It is possible to search names of all patentees in an area. The patents have been digitally imaged and are available for viewing. You may also download a copy of the act of Congress, which authorized the program for the issuance of a particular patent. Check spelling variations. Note the patent number! Who held the first patent in Montgomery Co. AR? An individual was given a copy of the patent. Any patent certificates out there?

Land entry case files and applications of those who settled in Arkansas after the Homestead Act of 1862 are in the National Archives Order (NATF Form 84) inquire@arch2.nara.gov  [Land Entry Papers - for Federal lands only]. Pricey fee charged - $17.75 as of April 2000). Arranged by the legal descriptions of the land (state, land office, type of transaction, then case number). The applications will sometimes have more information and a signature.  There will be very little data for cash entries maybe one additional page.

Desmond W. Allen published Arkansas Land Patents Through (30 June)1908 (Conway, Ark.: Arkansas Research, 1990), a fifty-seven-volume series with information taken from the BLM database described above. e.g.:
WILLIAMS, AMANDA E.: Vol. AR3200.170, Land Office. Camden, 15-OCT-06, Doc#13205, Misc. Doc#24430, Homestead Original, Formerly Amanda Wacaster - Widow of Andrew Wascaster;
Part # 1 NWNW, Sec. 26, Twp.3S,R23W
Part# 2; NWNW Sec. 27, Twp.3S,R23W
Part# 3; S NE Sec. 27, Twp.3S,R23W160. 000 acres

What are land patents?

All of what is now Arkansas was once owned by the federal government--it is a public domain land state. People who purchased land from the federal government received documents called land patents. Land was obtained through purchase, military warrants, homesteads, scrip acts and other laws that allowed the land to be transferred out of federal hands. Land entry case files are most apt to have helpful details about families or clues that help piece together information from other sources.

Acts of Congress Authorizing the Land Patents 
June   4 1897: 	Forest Lieu Selection-Non 	(30 Stat. 11)
May   20 1862: 	Homestead Entry Original 	(12 Stat. 392)
March  3 1855: 	Scrip Warrant Act of 1855 	(10 Stat. 701)
July  22 1854: 	Private Land Claim 		(10 Stat. 306)
Sept. 28 1850: 	Scrip Warrant Act of 1850 	(9 Stat. 520) 
April 24 1820: 	Sale-Cash Entry 		(3 Stat. 566)

The land patent will give little other than the name and where the exact location of the land and with a general highways or ONF map with the sections you can plot out where the land was located.

Counts for parcels of land by the decade in which the corresponding land patents were issued:
1840s 62
1850s 178
1860s 128
1870s 130
1880s 752
1890s 846
1900s 1656
1910s 1659
1920s 394

How did homesteaders describe their land claim? 4 parts: the Meridian, Township, Range and section number

"The Homestead Act 1862 which became law on Jan. 1, 1863, allowed anyone to file for a quarter-section of public domain land (160 acres). The land was yours at the end of five years if you (were a citizen or intended to be one), had reached the age of 21, had built a house on it at least ten by twelve feet in size with at least one glass window, dug a well, broken (plowed) 10 acres, fenced a specified amount, and actually lived there (he could not abandon it for more than six months at any time) and paid certain fees (proving-up). The homesteader had to apply for a patent for a $15 filing fee" About 60% of those who applied for the homestead land never completed the requirements to receive a patent to the land. Description of the Section, Township, and Range surveying system  Later, families built larger homes and the log cabins were often converted into sheds or barns.

Cash Entry

With as little of six months residence and improvement, the homesteader could purchase the land by commuting his homestead entry to a cash entry. The price was usually $1.25 an acre. The aim of the Homestead Act was to promote land ownership by small land owners, tillers of the soil. The provision for quick purchase tended to nullify this aim and made it possible to purchase large land holdings.

Proved Up

The land became taxable when the homesteader proved up (paid certain fees) but he could delay this event for two years. If he died before proving up the family inherited his rights to the land. He could not relinquish the land to any but the government until he had proved up. Only citizens of the United States could prove up.

Confederate Veterans 

From Jan. 2, 1867 Confederate Veterans could take homesteads by making the affidavit that they would bear true allegiance to the government of the United States. After 1872, soldiers, sailors and marines who has served 90 days during the Civil War were allowed six months after locating claims to establish settlement there on. Their military service, up to four years, could be deducted from the five years of required residence and they could make homestead entry by agent as well as in person.  In 1891 the law specified a residence of 14 months for commutation.

Sixteenth Section School Lands

The section of land known as the sixteenth section in every survey township in the state of Arkansas was set apart to benefit schools. The monies received were used to support public schools. This land good be leased. Under the provisions of an Act of the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas, entitled "An Act regulating the sale of the Sixteenth Sections, and to provide for the collection of all claims due the School Fund arising from the sale of the said Sixteenth Sections and for other purposes" approved March 31 1885; Act 231 conveyed the title to all sixteenth section school lands which were the property of the State of Arkansas to the school districts where the lands are located and authorizes the districts to sell the lands and use the proceeds for school purposes. Through the years the county school commissioners sold that sixteenth section land to build school houses and pay teachers. 

Yes, you can find the section!

montgomerygaston.gif (474295 bytes) William W. MAULDIN homesteaded 160 acres 15 October, 1906. NW 9 2S 25W [North west quarter of section nine in township two south of range twenty-five west of the fifth principal meridian]  That will be the northwest quarter of section nine on the Gaston map to the right of Mimosa.

Land between the invisible latitude and longitude lines was divided into townships. A township line ran east to west. Six mile intervals north and south of a base line. A range line ran north to south is also at six mile intervals and is determined by east or west measurements from a principal meridian. Arkansas only has the Fifth Principle Meridian which runs north from the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers. Arkansas is divided into two parts (north and south) by the base line which runs through Montgomery County and on through southern Pulaski County. Each township is a square six miles in each direction. A township was divided into thirty-six sections. Each section was one mile each direction - that's 640 acres, each section divided into quarter sections of 160 acres each. Township and range lines are normally adjusted every 4th line to correct for the spherical nature of the earth. Homesteaders would check with the Land Office and go out and locate and mark the corners e.g. with posts or a witness tree, a tree that had been blazed with an axe, and file the papers (an affidavit that the land was his or her exclusive use and benefit) so no one else could claim the property.

Mt Ida is located at T2S, R25W sec24

Range line

North
Baseline
South

T1N
R27W
T1N
R26W
T1N
R25W
T1N
R24W
T1N
R23W
T1N
R22W
T1s
R27W
T1s
R26W
T1s
R25W
T1s
R24W
T1s
R23W
T1s
R22W
T2s
R27W
T2s
R26W
T2s
R25W
T2s
R24W
T2s
R23W
T2s
R22W

Township
line

T3s
R27W

T3s
R26W

T3s
R25W
T3s
R24W
T3s
R23W
T3s
R22W
T4s
R27W
T4s
R26W
T4s
R25W
T4s
R24W
T4s
R23W
T4s
R22W

Cram's township and rail road map of Arkansas. 1895.

A township, 6 miles x 6 miles, is divided in 36 sections
6 5 4 3 2

1

7 8 9 10 11 12
18 17 16

15

14 13
19 20 21

22

23 24
30 29 28 27 26 25
31 32 33 34 35 36

Each section is divided into quarter sections of 160 acres each.

One township = 36 sections or 36 sq. miles =144 quarter sections = 23,040 acres

Indirect and Direct Index

warrantydeed.gif (334551 bytes)Land patents involved transfer of land out of the public domain. Future transfers are recorded in the county courthouse deed books and list the name of the purchaser (grantee or indirect) and the seller (grantor or direct) also lists the legal description of the land and the price paid. The Montgomery County books are labeled Indirect (Grantee) and Direct (Grantor) Index. From these indexes, the person searching the record will find a deed or mortgage book and page number where the copy of the deed or mortgage is actually located as of record. Mortgages are indexed as to the mortgage, and the mortgagor, the person who mortgaged the property. A Warranty Deed, the most common deed, is whereby someone sells absolutely and outright his property to another individual.

Tract Books: Official recorded the individual's name and location of the land in tract books and on plat maps. Arranged by sections within townships. As each piece of land was sold the purchaser's name was entered on the page with the legal description of the land that corresponded to the parcel of land  purchased.

Township Plats: Plat books are maps of lots within the tract (township). After many years of being written on and over, the plots are often rather illegible and the tract books are a better finding tool for the legal description. There is an 1840s Plat Book B at the Montgomery Co. Courthouse in Mt Ida in the little brown metal safe on the wall to the right as you enter the vault.

Plats of Towns 1855-1929, 1855-1872 in County Court Record., entry 3; 1873-1929 and 1860-72 in Deed, Record entry 6. Recorded copies of plats of towns in entry 25.

        

Resurveying: Most of the forest lands in Arkansas and Oklahoma were required in the early 1900s before either State began to license land surveyors. Occasionally old property corners and boundary lines are found to be mis-located or obliterated enough to make a re-survey necessary so build structures away from the boundary line to avoid structure relocating and tree hazard from adjoining NF land. The resurvey record is coordinated with the original record. Surveyors were required to blaze each bearing tree with the number of the tier, range, and section in which it stood.  BT: A bearing tree is a marked tree used as a corner accessory; its distance and direction from the corner being recorded. Bearing trees are identified by prescribed marks cut into their trunks; the species and sizes of the trees are also recorded. Today notices are placed on the trees. 'Land Survey Monument. Please do not disturb.' The Forest Service shares responsibility with neighboring landowners in locating and protecting property corners and line markings along common boundaries. Property corners may be marked with a variety of objects including, but not limited to iron pins or pipes, rock mounds perhaps with wooden stakes and stamped monuments. Usually two or more marked and tagged witness trees reference a corner marker and the description of them are filed at the local land district office and a survey marker.


The two yellow metal signs mark the bearing trees so if you find one sign look for the other, it will be close by.

County Maps || Post 1917 Map ||  Civil Township Map ||
Twp 4 south range 23

  4S  25W  JPR 9-20-82   N80  40

    T3s  R25W- west of Norman. 
NW corner. Back, west, rq -boneyard Corral
SW corner. Dead south from boneyard SE corner. Nancy's. Dead east from SW corner

Boneyard- 2nd behind me and to the left.    Oct. 2010 before muzzleloading season commenced, a good time to hike through the woods. Straight south from bone yard, use a compass and counted strides. Spot on. The other bearing tree was to the left. 

Where to find records:

Personal Property tax lists show the taxpayers, their township of residence and school district so year by year searching can help pinpoint a death date or migration in and out of tax county and you can work out who is living in the same area. Sometimes you will find a comment e.g. gone to Texas or dead. The 1878 book contained twenty columns. 

Property Evaluation Montgomery County, AR:
In 1900 the estimated value of real property of the county was $882,041 and assessed valuation was  $282,100. Personal and real property assessed valuation reached a peak of  $2,079,254 in 1927, gradually declined to  $895,997 in 1938 but climbed in 1939 to  $936,232. The figure dropped in 1940 to $ 890,024.

Courthouse inside a framed copy.  Township 2 South, Range 26 West plat map contains the present day county seat and courthouse. The original plat maps were drawn from the field notes of the survey of the Louisiana Purchase which began in the fall of 1815 and continued until the mid 1850s. The notes at the bottom describe the parcel of land, when surveyed, by whom and the date when the plat was certified. The Commissioner of State Lands office, located in the historic state capital building, was renovated in late 2012 to preserve and showcase the historic land office records they hold in trust.

Tax lists, along with other sources, are being used to reconstruct the lost 1890 federal population census

Taxes extended against the personal property in Montgomery County, Arkansas or the year 1913.

A.C. Wilhite - Date paid 1/29
Number of: Value:
Persons 1  
Cattle 6 $30
Horses 1 $25
Mules 4 $100
Hogs 3 $5
Carriages 1 value of Car $10.00
School District 65
Total Taxes $4.37

List of Persons assessed for taxation in Montgomery County Townships in 1872
Big Fork | Caddo | Gap | Mazarn | Mountain Polk | South Fork | Sulphur Springs
Personal Property assessed for taxation included horses, sheep, cattle, number of gold and silver watches, pianos, value of money and credit balances, goods and merchandise. Transcribed from handwritten records in good faith from the 1872 book held at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Mount Ida, AR. Check original book to obtain further information
.

Links

History
Land Record Reference
1845 & 1846 Tax List Polk Co. AR
Yeargan

Montgomery Co. ARGenWeb Project

Little Brushy Creek near Oden, Montgomery Co. AR. October 2002.