Last week I wrote about finding a copy of the land patent for the land my great grandfather, Moses Crittenden, purchased in 1860 in Polk County, Arkansas.
As soon as I held the description of the land in my hand I knew I would find my way to Arkansas and stand on that land.
On November 1, 2014 I fulfilled the promise made to myself and drove into Mena Arkansas, county city for Polk County. It was too late in the day to visit the court house or library. So, after a great meal at the Skyline Café in the center of town, I checked into my motel for a good night’s sleep in anticipation of a full day of researching starting early the next morning.
I was waiting on the court house steps the next morning anxious to find a map that matched the legal description on the land patent.
Description of Moses’ Property
The clerk was able to provide me with a map that had the current owner’s names written on a plat map for the appropriate township and range. Using a map hanging on the wall of the county clerk’s office she pointed out some landmarks that would help me know when I reached the property.
Current Owner of Moses’ Original Polk County Homestead
The clerk also provided me with a plat map showing the current owners of the neighboring land.
Current Owners of Neighboring Homestead Property
I wrote in the location of Moses original homestead and a few of his relatives on the plat maps and started my drive. When I reached the curve in the road that I thought signified I was at Moses’ property I was very glad that I had the map with the current owner’s name. The last name of the current owner is Huff. At the entrance to the farm that I thought was on Moses’ old homestead was a large iron gate with a large “H” on it. Obviously H for Huff. I was in the right place.
Cherokee Homestead Land in Arkansas
Coming later this week, the surprising discoveries I made later that day at the Polk County Library in Mena.
My search for Cherokee Roots in Arkansas began with the 1850 and 1860 census data that showed my great grandfather Moses Crittenden residing in Freedom Township, Polk County, Arkansas.
Moses was born in Cherokee Nation Georgia around 1825 and moved to Arkansas with his father William some time before 1837. I knew that he was living in Going Snake District in Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma Territory by 1875 when my grandmother was born.
I was determined to find out more about those years spent in Arkansas. In the 1850 census Moses is listed as a farmer, and in 1860 as a merchant. Many of his neighbors were in-laws of his sisters Lydia and Sydney Crittenden. One thing that caught my eye on the 1860 census was that Moses was shown to have real estate valued at $2000.
After much searching on the web I found my way to the Bureau of Land Management website where you could search land records by state going back to the 1800s. I selected Arkansas state and Polk County, entered Moses Crittenden and hit the search button. I hit pay dirt!
Search Results on Bureau of Land Management Web Site
I clicked on the link highlighted in blue and was able to view a full description of the property.
Description of Moses’ Property
Next I clicked on the tab “Patent Image” and was able to view a printable PDF version of the land patent. I added that item to my cart and for $2.00 was sent a certified copy of the patent on parchment paper.
Using the description of the land and current land records I was able to determine that Moses’ land was near the current town of Mena, Arkansas. I knew that I had to see and stand on that land.
Next week – the discoveries I made on my trip to stand on my great grandfather’s land in Arkansas.
The holidays, family illness and life in general came together to mean I have not posted on the site in a month.
Coming next week are two new posts on following my great grandfather’s story in Arkansas where he resided for almost 30 years after leaving Georgia as a young boy with his father. My research trip in November opened up a wealth of information and records that I did not know existed.
Thanks for your patience…