Last update:Tuesday, 22-Sep-2009 07:58:42 MDT
LAND RESEARCH IN BERTIE COUNTY
Pre-Revolution | Land from Virginia |Legal Terms
Helpful Page on understanding Land Research as well as terms used in Deeds.
Early Land Settlement
Established in 1664, Albemarle encompassed the newly formed Lord's Propietors' province of Carolina. The land under a royal charter from King Charles II all belonged to eight Lord Proprietors. Settlers could only obtain land by their GRANT, and it was thereafter subject to quitrents paid to the Proprietors who in the most part were absentee landlords.
Proprieters could give Land Patents in two ways:
In 1728, all the Proprietors (except Lord Carteret - Granville) sold their rights to the Crown. This Granville District was bounded by Virginia on the North and ran from the Coast, along the southern boundaries of Chatham, Randolph, Davidson and Rowan Counties. (You might need to know this if your ancestors migrated from that area to Bertie)
From 1728, land grants (in what would be Bertie County), were made from the King and approved by the Council. After Independence one of the first acts of the General Assembly (1777)was opening Land Offices throughout the state of North Carolina.
Each County appointed a Surveyor and an Entry Taker.
Basic procedure was this:
- Person locates the desired land and makes application to an entry taker.
- The petition was read at a meeting of Governor and Council (called Court of Claims) (These petitions no longer exist)
- Person then petitioned the Council for a warrant
(order) to the provincial surveyor to set apart certain land which was
loosely described on the face of the warrant.
- The Court appointed Surveyor for the area makes the survey using metes and bounds and relating it to natural barriers,
rivers, streams, identifiable trees as property corners.
Surveyor set down a detailed land description –direction in degrees;
distance in poles and created a plat (map)
- Person pays the fixed fee per acre and the Council issued a land patent (document)
- The land warrant and the survey were filed in the Secretary of
the colony and eventually recorded in bound volumes.
- Patent also was recorded in office of the Crown auditor so that the officer
would know who was to pay the annual tax on the land called the quit
Bertie County Court Minutes (transcribed by Wynette Haun) record this as:
"14th Feb 1743. Mordecai White proved his Rights to wit 7 whites". Thus he brought in 6 other people and was proving his headright. In some instance the Court Minutes actually lists the names of the people he brought in and claimed.
NC has 3400 land patents of the Proprietary period. Sec of State Land
Grant Office, Raleigh . Books Hoffman used were 1,2,3,5,7,8,9,13.
No original papers survive, but they are amazingly complete. There
may be some missing years, but in some instances the Lord
Proprietors actually closed the land office so there may not have been
any land patents during those years anyway.
The King purchased land back from Proprietors in 1729, but transfer to the
agents of the Crown took several months, so office didn't open again
until Feb 25, 1731. Proprietor's officers continued to issue patents
through Nov 1730.
The land office opened by Gov. Gabriel Johnston was on May 12, 1735.
Published Resources for Land Grants
Margaret Hofman's Book Page
- Province of North Carolina 1663-1729
Abstracts of Land Patents by
Margaret M. Hofman, 1979
- Colony of NC 1735-1764 Abstract of Land Patents Vol I
Margaret Hofman 1982
- Colony of NC 1765-1775Abstract of Land Patents Vol II Margaret Hofman, 1984
Format of these books:
Abstracts in this book set up in this format:
Abstract # (work is indexed by this #)
Patent Bk #
Name of Patentee
# of acres
Location in county/precinct on a creek or river as well as adj land
List of names of rep of Lords Proprietors who granted the land.
Sometimes list includes any lapsed patent (failure to pay patent price)
Ms. Hoffman consulted the Sec of State Patent books; British Public Record
Office in London, Provincial Auditor's reports in NC Archives and Sec
of State's office in Raleigh, and records of colonial Court of Claims
It is possible to obtain the full patent and surviving warrants and plats by writing to the :
Land Grant Office, New Legislative Office Bldg
300 N. Salisbury St
Raleigh NC 27611
Sample of Land Grant
1624 pg 21
10 Aug 1720
440 acres in Chowan Precinct on the S side of Cassia River, joining the
N sideof Rocquis Swamp, a pocosin, a Branch and John Williams.
Witnesses: C. Eden, Thos Pollock, Wm Reed, Richd Sanderson, Fra
Foster (They sign almost all of them!)
Cost of Land Grants
"Even though the land might be free under the Headright system, the
paperwork was expensive. Average farmer earned 100 pounds/yr.
Cost of patent alone cost nearly 12 pounds if the tract of land was one
square mile 640 acres.
The governor received 10 shillings for signing the patent; governor's secrtary
got 5 shilling for putting a wax seal to the document;
Colonial secretary's underclerks got 1 shilling 5 pence for registering the patent;
clerk of Court of Claims got a shilling for his trouble and another 7
shillings 6pence for the petitioning process; auditor was entitled to 3
pd ofr entering the patent in his records; the attorney genearl receivd
2 pounds for examining the patent to be certain that the wording was correct
and that the title was clearly and accurately conveyed; colonial
secretary charged 5 pounds for having written out the original patent and
10 shillings for his trouble. This whole process probably cost several
months earnings to obtain a clear title to the land." - M. Hofman's Province of North Carolina 1663-1729.
Practices Leading to Large Holdings
Primogeniture - All land of those dying intestate (without a will) descended to the eldest son
Fee Entails - Inheritance restricted to lineal descendants
Although not always paid, "quit rents" were due the Proprietor or the Crown. Prior to 1730 the usual rent was 2 shillings/100 acres for "rental land" and 1 shilling/100 acres for "purchase land"; this doubled after 1730.
These grants were numbered consecutively for each county until about July, 1885. The Land Grant Record Books beginning in 1811 are in chronological order by date of issuance within the County. These books have since been copied (beginning as early as 1801) and you may find a duplication of grants. Microfilming of the volumes followed this same order.
Terms in Deeds AFTER Revolution
- Deed of Sale (Indenture) Usually refers to property, but can be livestock or household goods.
- "fee simple". This may also be called "estate of inheritance" (but it has nothing to do with his inheriting the land!). The Seller (grantor) has unconditional ownership and is able to convey the land without any conditions.
- Deeds of Gift. May say "love, good will and affection, and one dollar" and is frequently parents giving land to their children to avoid the necessity of a will or a complicated estate settlement.
- Bills of Sale. Covers the sale of personal property and frequently involved slaves. In this case, the name, age and sex is usually included.
- Quitclaim Deeds. In the case of questionable land transferral due to faulty deeds, the seller (grantor) "quit claim to all right, title and interest" in the property.
- Deeds of Trust and Mortgage. These deeds were used for people in debt to their creditors. Watch for the added condition of the deed, i.e. payment of the debt or a public sale if the condition is not met. "sale is void if said Smith pasy the $500 hereintofore noted to Ruffin by March 1, 1789. There may be 3 parties: seller, buyer, and trustee. The Trustee holds the title to the property, and may even take possesion of it, until the conditions of the mortgage are met. These deeds may even be in separate Deed books.
- The term "Title Bond", sometimes referred to as "Bond
for Title", was used in several ways, but generally meant
about the same thing as a deed. Sometimes, when a person
had imperfect title to a piece of property, but wanted to
transfer that property to another he would give a Bond
for Title, that is he sold the property by deed and gave
a bond that the title would be good. To say that one
held a Title Bond would mean that he had the property in
question, but that if something should come up to render
the title bad, he then had the bond from the seller that
he could go back on to get his money back. In that regard
it means about the same thing as the warranty of title
that is found in all deeds.
It is just an old fashioned term to express the
obligation of a seller to guarantee title. I have never
seen it used other than in connection with real property,
but see no reason why the same concept could not apply to
personal property, such as a slave, cattle, or anything
of value. Contributed by: Mike Vaugh
Survey Chain: The unit of length prescribed by law for the survey of the
public lands of the United States. The chain is equivalent to 66 feet or 4
rods, poles or perches. 10 square chains equals one acre. Chain bearers are listed and they were often relatives.
One rod equals 16.5 feet or 25 links. Also termed "perch" or "pole" in older
Link : A unit of linear measure, one hundredth of a chain and equivalent to
7.92 inches (0.66 foot). See CHAIN
Pole :Also termed "perch" and "rod"; a unit of length in land measurement,
equal to 25 links or 16.5 feet.
Acre : A unit of area measurement. An acre equals 10 square chains or 43,560
square feet. 640 acres equal 1 square mile.
1 mile = 5280 feet = 1760 yards
Land From Virginia
Prior to 1725, the border between Virginia and North Carolina was not clearly established. In general settlers tended to move directly south from Virginia, so those along the coastal line in Virginia, moved downward into North Carolina coastal counties.
If you are searching for land deeds prior to 1725, be sure to also check the Virginia Land Records, many of which are on-line.
Virginia State Library Land Office Patents and Grants at Virginia Land Office
Patents and Grants. [Follow "For the Public", and then "Using the Collections."]
The page lists them by surname. Each card contains the date of the land grant and the county in which the land was located. Some include neighbors and other geographical features, especially waterways.
These are now on-line as images at the above site. When you pull up an index card, at
the top there is a "retrieve document" button.
Sometimes land grants were made to people living in Virginia, when the land was actually in North Carolina. You just might locate an illusive ancestor in Virginia !
Samples of this Land going back and forth:
We have land patents of Mathew Strickland in
Isle of Wight Co. Va in the 1670's and 1680's.
"On September 1, 1705 in Bertie Co. N.C. William and
Olive Strickland of lower parish sold Arthur Whitehead Sr. 10,000 pounds
of tobacco in cask 60 acres on White Oak Branch adjoining Samuel
Strickland, Valley Branch and Horse Swamp (from 1803 acres patented by
my father Matthew Strickland on April 20, 1680). Witnesses: Charles
Durham, William Whitley (Deed Book 2 1704-1715, pp. 46-47)."
The above deed was in Bertie Co. NC. It clearly states
that the land was from 1803 acres patented by Mathew Strickland on April
This land patent was clearly in Isle of Wight Co. VA
(check the Library of VA digitized records if you wish.) This proves to
me that during this time period land that was previously in Isle of
Wight Co. Va was now in Bertie Co. NC.
Further when the extant early VA quitrent lists
existed, no Stricklands were listed, which puzzled us for a long time as
they were clearly in Isle of Wight at this time. The reason they were
not on the VA quitrent lists, in my opinion, is that at that time the
land was considered in Bertie Co. NC.
LATER AT LEAST SOME OF THIS LAND WAS REDISTRICTED BACK
INTO ISLE OF WIGHT CO. VA, sometime before 1714. (This date comes from a
record dated September 27, 1714 wherein Samuel Strickland of Newport
Parish, Joiner, sold Peter Daniell, Planter, for 1,500 pounds of tobacco
a tract of land adjoining Bridger and the old Matthew Strickland line
from his patent of 1,803 acres on April 10, 1680) (deed Book 2 1704-1715
p. 299, 301) (This is a Newport Parish, VA record) Samuel was the
brother of the William mentioned above; these lands were their
inheritance from their father's Isle of Wight VA land patents.
"On August 4, 1699 Matthew Strickland and William
Strickland (brothers) made a division of their father's lands. William
got the land where their father lived on Horse Swamp and Gum Branch near
John Strickland got 150 acres at the old plantation.
Brother Samuel Strickland got 150 acres on Watery Branch adjoining
Brother Joseph Strickland got 150 acres on Blackwater
River adjoining Mr. Woodard. Witnesses were Barnaby McKinney and Thomas
Marks (Isle of Wight Co. VA Deed Book I)." Thus it seems to me that the
boundary changed about 1699 and was moved back before 1714 for at least
part of this land.
"John Taylor Kittrell"
First, the disputed line on NC/VA used to be (in my estimation 3-6 miles)South of Byrd's "dividing line" of 1728 that we know of today.
Second, Hertford County used to be part of Bertie County Furthermore, the western part of Gates County was part of Hertford Co. until Gates Co was formed in 1779
So, part of VA became NC, then part of Bertie became Hertford, then part of Hertford became part of Gates.
Therefore the Virginia Land Patents are an important resource for these areas
J T Kittrell
Bertie County Page last updated: Tuesday, 22-Sep-2009 07:58:42 MDT
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