©Richard P. Sevier – March 2009
NOTE - The following data
is registered at the United States Copyright Office and is the property of
Richard P. Sevier (email@example.com).
It is intended for informational use only and may not be reproduced by ANY means
whatsoever without written permission from the author.
This article replaces and
updates an older, less complete article entitled Earliest
Madison Parish Landowners.
This article provides a list of Madison Parish’s earliest (original)
landowners beginning at the time when Louisiana became a sovereign state. These
public lands were sold by the United States General Land Office (GLO), and land
“patents” were issued to the purchasers, who were called “patentees.” In
addition to the patentee list of original property owners, detailed Township
Maps are provided that indicate the exact location of each property. An Index
Map of the parish helps locate each township.
In 1812, the year Louisiana became a state, the GLO was created by
Congress to manage all public lands. Some patentees bought their land for
cash; others homesteaded a claim or were “warranted” a claim based on their
service during the Revolutionary War. To purchase land the private claimant went
to the land office in the land district where the parcel was located, filled out
"entry" papers to select the parcel and paid his money. The GLO then
sent the paperwork to their office in Washington, which double-checked the
accuracy of the claim, its availability, and the form of payment. If everything
was in order the GLO issued a patent showing the owner’s right and title to
the land. Occasionally, for various reasons, the patents were cancelled. Most of
the cancelled patents in Madison Parish seem to have been cancelled on a
technicality since many of them were later repurchased by the same person or
persons. The GLO is the source of all patentee data in this article.
Patentee List shows every tract of land issued in Madison Parish by the GLO and
is sorted alphabetically by Patentee Name. The individual headings of the
Patentee List are explained as follows:
In the GLO roster many names were spelled several different ways. For the
purposes of the Patentee List the spellings of some names were changed such that
each name is always spelled the same way thereby causing like names to sort
The patentees included such locally and nationally well-known names as:
Nicholson Barnes – 3,318 acres. Builder of the house at Crescent Plantation, near Tallulah, one of the two or three houses in the parish that General Grant did not destroy.
Judah P. Benjamin – 80 acres. US Senator from Louisiana; Secretary of State of the Confederacy.
Jefferson Davis – 320 acres. President of the Confederacy.
Joseph E. Davis – 1,560 acres. Brother and benefactor of Jefferson Davis; owner of Hurricane Plantation, Warren County, MS.
Nathaniel Hoggatt – 3,464 acres. From Natchez, MS. One of the largest early landowners in Madison Parish.
Levin R. Marshall – 9,535 acres. From Natchez, MS. Largest landowner in Madison Parish. Owner of Richmond and Lansdowne Plantations in Natchez. Namesake for city of Marshall, Texas. Financier of the Texas Rebellion. One of only 35 millionaires in the US at the time.
John Millikin – 2,403 acres. Founder of Milliken’s Bend. One of Madison’s earliest landowners, and grandfather of John Milliken Parker (note spelling of Milliken), governor of Louisiana from 1920-1924.
Honoré P. Morancy – 2,763 acres. Responsible for the creation of Carroll Parish in 1832, named for his friend Charles Carroll – the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Haller Nutt – 404 acres (Conway R. Nutt had an additional 961 acres) Builder of Longwood, the well-known unfinished octagonal antebellum home in Natchez, MS.
Hypolite Pargoud – 2,721 acres. Large landowner from Monroe, LA.
John Perkins – 776 acres (several thousand more in Tensas Parish) Owner of the huge Somerset Plantation. At one time he owned “The Briars” the antebellum home in Natchez, MS where Jefferson Davis married his wife Varina.
Robert M. & Thomas B. Scott – 1,440 acres. Owners of Scotland Plantation from which much of Tallulah was later derived. Thomas B. Scott became Madison Parish’s first sheriff in 1838 and served until 1844.
Robert J. Walker – 4,048 acres. U.S. Senator from Adams County, Mississippi. U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under Polk. Namesake for Walker, County, Texas until he supported the Union during the Civil War.
Patentee Residence. This
is the residence of the patentee at the time he bought the land. This can become
very confusing in Madison Parish because the GLO started selling land long
before Madison became a parish. An excellent example of this is John
Millikin who, when he bought land
in 1826, was listed as living in Ouachita Parish. When he bought land in
1837 he was living in Carroll Parish, and when he bought in 1846 he was living
in Madison Parish. Of course his actual residence never changed. Many Madison
Parish patentees are shown as living in Concordia Parish when they bought their
land because at one time most of what later became central and southern Madison
Parish was located in Concordia. Patentee residences were not listed after about
No. of Owners. Many
people bought land in partnership with others, some for speculation. So this
just shows how many people had ownership in the patent in question. In a few
instances, all after 1900, as many as 30-50 individuals were awarded patents
together, and in one unexplained case 99 patentees held ownership in only 3.5
Issue Date. The
official date that the patentee received title to his land.
No. of Acres. The
total amount of acreage in each patent. Some patents contained many tracts, each
of which had a unique legal description.
No. of tracts. The
number of tracts in each patent.
NET AC PER TRACT. The
net acreage each person received on each tract assuming the owner’s
percentages were equal. It was calculated by dividing the number of acres in the
patent by the number of owners and then dividing that by the number of tracts in
TOTAL ACREAGE. The
total amount of acreage each person bought from the GLO. This is not necessarily
the total amount of acreage they owned, because many of the landowners added to
their holdings later. The ten largest owners of GLO acreage in Madison Parish
are shown below.
ALIQUOT or PART. Lot
number or legal description of tract – e.g. SENE (SE¼ of the NE¼) or 1.
containing tract – e.g. 15.
where section is located – e.g. 16N*.
RGE. Range where section is located – e.g.
PATENTEE NAME. Repeat
of Name for clarity.
*To view the property on the township
maps, go to the Index
Map and click on the appropriate Township & Range. (It may be
necessary to click again in order to enlarge the image.)
maps used in this report were made from the original hand-drawn surveys prepared
in the early to middle 1800’s. Some are fairly crude and therefore are not of
very high quality. Some came from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office
and some from U. S. General Land Office. In a number of instances the survey map
data was very “busy”, making the landowner information extremely hard to
read. Because of this the information on the survey maps is presented such that
the background data has been subdued relative to the property line and landowner
information. This allows the patentee names, property lines and date of
acquisition to stand out and be more easily read, especially since the
landowners are color-coded. In spite of this some of the landowner information
may still be hard to decipher or the background information may be faint. In
this case reference should be made to the Patentee List which will always have
the correct names, dates and locations. Any land not showing a patentee was not
purchased during the initial GLO offering period. Some of the post-1900 dates
are probably the result of corrections made after the original sale.
many people do not totally understand legal land descriptions, a brief, basic
discussion of sections, townships and ranges
A regular township
(see below right) is six miles square and consists of thirty-six regular sections,
each a mile square and each containing 640 acres. Townships are measured north or south of a point of origin along a
central meridian (in this case the Louisiana
Meridian) and ranges are measured
east or west from the point of origin. For example Township 15 North (T15N or just 15N) - Range 10 East (R10E or 10E) is located approximately 90 miles north
and 60 miles east of the point of origin.
As mentioned above each regular section contains 640 acres; a quarter section (e.g. NW/4 or NW), 160 acres and a quarter quarter section (e.g. SE/4 SE/4 or SE SE), 40 acres. For a more detailed see the regular section below left*.
Typical Regular Section
Typical Regular Township
Acreage is described with the smaller
unit given first, thus SW SE is the SW quarter of the SE quarter, not the SE
quarter of the SW quarter as is sometimes mistakenly believed. Starting at the
northeast corner of the township regular
sections are numbered 1-6 from left to right, then down to 7 and left to
right across to 12, then down to 13, continuing in the same fashion to 36.
Madison Parish, due to its many bayous and its proximity to the Mississippi
River, there are many irregular
sections which are usually long and rectangular in shape and contain varying
amounts of acreage. Irregular sections
were surveyed along and perpendicular to streams and rivers, so that more
landowners would have access to the rich, fertile natural levees that parallel the streams. Natural levees are caused by seasonal flooding which deposits the
coarser, sandy material nearer the stream. Sediment deposited further from the
stream is usually increasingly finer and forms “buckshot” or “gumbo”
soils, typical of a backswamp
will immediately be noted that most of the lands purchased in the early GLO
sales were concentrated in the eastern portion of the parish near the
Mississippi River and the nearby bayous such as Brushy, Roundaway and Walnut.
Except for lands along Bayou Mason, buyers stayed away from the swampy western
portion of the parish.
addition to sections the maps also show some “private” lands that were not
part of the GLO sale or that were part of a French or Spanish Land Grant. The
only definite Spanish land grants in Madison Parish appear to be portions of the
Juan Mansol and Miguel De Soto grants in the extreme northwestern
part of the parish.
ease in locating the townships, an index
map** of Madison Parish was prepared that
indicates where each township is located relative to the rest of the parish.
Click on the individual townships for a detailed plat showing patentee names and
their color-coded acreage. For example if you wanted to see Township (T) 15N –
Range (R) 13E, click on 15N-13E.
If necessary, click again to enlarge the area.
maps are organized numerically from west to east by township and range starting
on the south with T14N-R9E through
T14N-R14E, thence up to T15N -9E and continuing in the same fashion to end at
T18N-R14E. Since these maps cover portions of four parishes and/or counties,
Madison Parish’s boundaries are shown with a heavy dashed line. Patentee names
and acquisition dates are shown and property boundaries are indicated by heavier
lines than survey lines and may cross survey lines, especially on larger
properties. As mentioned earlier, patentee acreage is color-coded for ease in
viewing the total properties of an individual patentee. Only a few patentees
outside of Madison Parish are listed, and those were probably in Madison when
the property was bought from the GLO.
maps showing Plantations and Land Ownership for the years 1875,
may be viewed by clicking on the desired date. The 1903
map was made primarily to show the vast holdings (shown in red) of the 70,000 acre Ashly Co. Ltd of Dundee, Scotland. Unfortunately,
due to the many land description mistakes and omissions in the 1903 tax rolls,
some property locations may be totally unreliable. An early-1800’s
Patentee Map is also available, but is not nearly as detailed as the
section details from General Land Office Primer
of Instructive Information Relative to Legal Subdivisions and Plats of Public
Land Surveys, 1921
** Modified after and used with permission of Shearer Publications, Fredericksburg, Texas. “The Roads of Louisiana.”