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!
I clicked on the link highlighted in blue and was able to view a full description of the 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.