I Know What You Did That Day

What if I told you that I know *for sure* that on 15 December 1961 at 2:00 p.m., Troy (“Lum”) and Jessie BATES were in Bentonville, Benton County, Arkansas? Would you believe me? I mean after all, I wasn’t even born yet in 1961. How could I know for sure?! Well, I can tell you I *do* know and they *were* there. I can tell you that bit of information thanks to a warranty deed I found at the Benton County Circuit Clerk’s office this week. Becky (my SIL- you can catch her genealogy blog here), my mom, and I are trying to learn more about the kinds of information we can find at a county courthouse. We started this month with land records. This was our first trip to the courthouse for this learning exercise. I thought (naively) that it would be a quick day trip. Joke’s on me! We were there several hours and hardly scratched the surface of all the land records available. We’ll definitely be going back. In the meantime, I wanted to show you what I found and why I thought it was blog-worthy.

Short version: We found two warranty deeds for Troy and Jessie BATES, a warranty deed for Albert BATES (Troy’s dad), a warranty deed for George and Mary (SEELY) BATES (Troy’s grandparents) and – SURPRISE!- a warranty deed for Charles SEELY! The SEELY deed also happened to involve George and Mary (SEELY) BATES.

Troy and Jessie BATES’ property

Troy and Jessie BATES warranty deed, 1961

This warranty deed tells me that Lum and Jessie sold 200 acres of land (minus the railroad right of way as mentioned in the deed) for $8000 to J. B. and Flora FULLER. Jessie had an aunt who married a FULLER so I am currently trying to figure out whether the FULLERs who bought this land were related or not. I have not found a connection yet but am still looking. This deed was executed 15 December 1961. My mom says that the following summer (1962) they moved to South West City, McDonald, Missouri. One of things that excited me the most about this deed is that Lum and Jessie both signed it so I now have copies of both their signatures.

Troy and Jessie Bates’ signatures from 1961 deed

Before we left the building I told mom I wanted to see if they would sell us a Township-Range map of Benton County so we could later locate the properties for which we had deeds. It turns out Benton County will sell you a map- but you can go online and utilize their digital maps for free. I still think I want to buy a map when we go back but the digital maps were interesting and I wanted to show you what you can find with their digital maps. I took Troy and Jessie BATES’ 1961 deed and entered the Section, Township, and Range for part of their property into Benton County’s map database. It pulled up the section. By manipulating the map with overlays I was able to see an aerial view of part of the property as it looks now.

Benton County AR maps homepage. Accessed 24 August 2016.

If you wanted to go to this property yourself, you wouldn’t be able to actually get onto the property but you could drive alongside it. Here’s how you would get there. Take Highway 59 into Sulphur Springs, Benton County, Arkansas. Turn West on Fickinger Street. Keep heading West to South Horse Creek Road. Go South on South Horse Creek Road. This road will turn into Bird Mountain Road. You will continue South and pass North Big Springs Road. You will pass 4 chicken houses sitting in a row on your left. When the road curves back beside the railroad tracks, Troy’s former property will begin. Look to your left to see it. It runs the length between the railroad track and Bird Mountain Road. When the road turns due West again you will be moving away from this section of his property.

I’m hoping to get a chance to take a road trip over to Sulphur Springs, Benton County, Arkansas soon and try to find the property just for fun. It is now owned by NSS Land Company LLC out of Little Rock, Arkansas. They specialize in excavation/grading and building construction.

The Troy & Jessie BATES 1939 deed is equally interesting. In this deed they were buying instead of selling- if you could call it buying. For “One Dollar and other valuable consideration” Lum and Jessie bought 160 acres from “Julia DAVIS, survivor wife of Ben C. DAVIS, deceased”. Typically when a property is “sold” to a close family member it is sold for “One Dollar and other valuable consideration”. Basically, the grantor (Julia DAVIS) is giving the land to the grantee (Lum & Jessie BATES). Jessie’s great-grandmother was Sarah DAVIS so again I’m wondering whether Julia DAVIS was related- especially given the amount “paid” for that amount of land. However, my husband brought up a good point that needs consideration. Lum was a trader- and a good one at that. He made sure he came out on top. It’s possible Julia was someone who owed him money and so she deeded him land in lieu of money. Another possibility is that he promised her work in return for land. These are things to consider.

Albert BATES’ 1962 Deed

Albert L. BATES was Troy’s dad. By the time this warranty deed was executed Albert’s wife, Dettie (GIBSON) BATES, had already passed away. The deed confirms that he was unmarried at the time the deed was executed as it refers to him as “Albert L. Bates, a single person”. In this deed, Albert “sold” his 2 city lots on Block 3 of Pierson’s Addition in the town of Gentry for “Other consideration and One Dollar” to Lloyd C. and Minnie JANUARY. None of my research has ever turned up a JANUARY family connected to our family. I’m working on finding the connection right now. If you know the connection, please let me know in the comments. Mom once told me that she thought his house in Gentry was where a beauty salon is now at the current intersection of highways 12 and 59 at the northwest corner of the intersection. If you happen to hit that light red (or you stop in the parking lot across the road) you can take a minute to view it and reflect. If I remember correctly mom said it has been added on to since Albert lived in it.). Again, one of my favorite things about this deed is it has Albert’s signature.

Albert Bates’ signature from 1962 deed

I will blog another day about the Charles SEELY deeds. He is my target person this year so I want to spend extra time on them and these deeds are very old and handwritten so it’s going to take me longer to analyze them. The deeds were fun to look at. One of the things I loved most about finding these deeds is that I now have copies of my grandparents’ and great-grandfather’s signatures and what is possibly my 2nd great-grandparents’ and 3rd great-grandfather’s signatures. The women working in the Circuit Clerk’s office were wonderful and the room they gave us to research in was very comfortable. If you’re planning a research trip there, be aware that you should wait until you get onsite to get copies of deeds. The copies are half price if you get them while there as opposed to ordering them from the website.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the signatures and a glimpse of what one of Troy & Jessie’s properties looks like (now versus then- but still interesting). If you’re interested in learning more about courthouse research, I am utilizing Christine Rose’s book, Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures . Don’t forget you can also enjoy my friends’ blogs:

Down in the Root Cellar by my SIL, Becky
Recipes from Lena by my friend, Teresa
Theology for Mom by my friend, Rochelle
Digging Genealogy by my distant cousin, Annie

Enjoy your week!

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

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