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Friday, December 27, 2013

Dry Farming in Eastern Oregon – Land Records for William C. Gleeson

I love land records—though it is truly a love-hate relationship.

Land records can give you a lot of information but they are not as forthcoming with easy information like those of vital or census records.

You have to dig a bit.  You have to analyze a lot. There are complicated words and abbreviations you must understand.

One record does not tell you much. You need to collect all of the land transactions for your ancestor. There are some questions to ask, too, such as:

When did he get the first piece of land?
How did he get it? Did he buy it, get it as a land grant, homestead it, or was it bounty land?
What happened to it later when he moved or died?

This journey into land records began with the 22 October 1927 obituary for William C. Gleeson, the brother of my great-grandmother, Anna M (Gleeson) Sullivan. The obituary stated that he was “prominent in Eastern Oregon some years ago, where he was one of the first to engage in dry land farming.”[1] William lived in Harney County, Oregon in 1920 so I figured Harney County was a good place to start searching for possible land records.[2]

First, let’s talk about what dry land farming is. According to Wikipedia, dry land farming is “an agricultural technique for non-irrigated cultivation of drylands.”[3] It went on to mention locations such as the eastern Washington and the arid southwest. The area of eastern Oregon would be similar to eastern Washington. The type of crops that would be grown would depend on the availability of rainwater. In eastern Oregon, it would be spring rains. They would plant wheat, barley, or oats.

So to find land records, I checked out Familysearch.org for possible databases or images I could search about Oregon. And there it was “Oregon, Harney County Records, 1870-1991.” Clicking through I found “Land and Property Records.”

I always start with indexes, so the county indexes were divided by direct or indirect, and by years. I began with the indirect because those are the indexes of the “grantee” who was the one who purchased the land. You can’t have land unless you buy it first (or are granted it through some means—or maybe inherit it. Lots of ways of getting land, but I thought I’d start with seeing if William C Gleeson purchased some land.

So I chose the index around the time when he lived in Harney County: Deed index-indirect, 1917-1950, vol 3. These indexes are listed under the first letter of the last name, so I had to scroll forward looking for the “G” names. Once I found the “G,” they were also sorted by the second letter of the surname. The ones I wanted were “G-KLM.” Here you can see the first page. The heading for the page read from left to right: GRANTEE, GRANTOR, KIND OF INST[rument], WHEN FILED [month, day, year], RECORDED [book & page], LOCATION [sec, twp, range], DESCRIPTION.

About nine lines down you can see the first GLEESON entry: Margaret Gleeson as grantee (the buyer) and William C. Gleeson (the seller). There are several more transactions on this page with GLEESON surnames.



Because William was selling land to Margaret Gleeson, he is probably in an earlier index volume where he obtained the land. I will have to search vol. 2 as well.

In fact, I found lots of GLEESON transactions. I wrote down each one carefully so I could then look in each of the deed books for the actual recording of the transaction.

This is important. Although this index gives a lot of good information and the description of the land, the actual recording sometimes have more information, such as residence and names of additional sellers.

Once I had all of the records saved, I made a table with all of the transactions together. I sorted them by date. From this table, I could see when a piece of property of purchased and then sold again. I don’t have all my questions answered yet but I am well on my way.  Just for clarification, Margaret Gleeson was William’s mother. Margaret T. Gleeson was William’s sister, as was Helen M. Gleeson.  Michael P. Gleeson was William’s brother. The Gleeson Brothers Company appears to be a company owned by William C. Gleeson. More research is needed to determine when the company was incorporated.

Land Records for Gleeson in Harney Co, Oregon
Date
Grantor, Place
Grantee, place
Cost
Lot description
Nov 24, 1916
William C. Gleeson, Harriman OR
Margaret Gleeson, a widow
$10
Lots 3 & 4 and S½ NW¼ of Sec 2, Twp. 25 south, range 32½ east of Willamette meridian, Harney Co.
May 17, 1917
United States of America
W.C. Gleeson
Certificate
 07147
Patent no. 584617
Lots 3 & 4 and S½ NW¼ of Sec 2, Twp. 25 south, range 32½ east of Willamette meridian, Harney Co.
May 19, 1917
Margaret Gleeson, Portland
Margaret T. Gleeson, Portland
$10
Lots 3 & 4 and S½ NW¼ of Sec 2, Twp. 25 south, range 32½ east of Willamette meridian, Harney Co.
Jun 6, 1917
US Land office, Dept of Interior
William C. Gleeson, Lawen, Harney Co, Oregon
Paid in full, cert of homestead
Serial no 07148
SW¼ Sec 35, twp. 24 south, Range 32½ east.  160 acres.
Dec 10, 1917
Margaret T. Gleeson, Portland OR
Gleeson Bros, a Corp of Lawen, OR
$2400
Lots 3 & 4 and S½ NW¼ of Sec 2, Twp. 25 south, range 32½ east of Willamette meridian, Harney Co.
Dec 15, 1917
William C. Gleeson, Lawen OR
Gleeson Brothers Co., Lawen OR
$400
SW¼ of Sec 35, Twp. 24 south, Range 32½ E, containing 160 acres.
Aug 12, 1918
Jesse L. Roberts & Lillie R. Roberts, Burns, Oregon
Gleeson Bros. Company, a corporation of Harney Co, Oregon
$3200
W½ of NE¼ of Sec 28, Twp. 23 south, Range 32 east, 80 acres.
Jun 2, 1920
United States of America
Margaret T. Gleeson
No. 07124, patent 752799
NE¼ and the N½ of the NW¼ of Sec 12 in Twp. 25 south of Range 32½ east, and lots 6 and 7 of Sec 6 in Twp. 25 south of Range 33 east, containing 319.43 acres.
Jun 23, 1920
Fred C. Timm,
Michael P. Gleeson
$1000
NE¼ of Sec 25, Twp. 24 south Range 32½ east, containing 160 acres more or less.
Oct 15, 1921
Gleeson Bros. Co., Harney Co (Wm C Gleeson, President; Margaret T. Gleeson, Secretary)
Jesse L. Roberts & Lillie R. Roberts of Burns
$3200
W½ of NE¼ of Sec 28, twp. 23 south, Range 32 east, containing 80 acres.
Apr 21, 1923
Gleeson Brothers Co., Portland
R.L. Anderson, Portland OR
$10
SW¼ of Sect 35, Twp 24, Range 32½ and S½ of the NW¼ and Lots 3 and 4, Section 2, Twp 25, Range 32½ east, containing 320 acres more or less
Dec 5, 1922
Margaret T. Gleeson, Portland
Helena M. Gleeson, Anaconda MT
$1
All of her interest, being the N½ of the NW¼ and NE¼ of Sec 12, Twp. 25, Range 32½ east; W.M. together with lots 6 and 7 in Sec 6, Twp. 25, Range 33 east; W.M. being 320 acres more or less.
Dec 6, 1923
Helena Gleeson, Anaconda MT, by W.C. Gleeson, her attorney Portland OR
Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company.
$10
Strip of land 100 ft. in width which shall include all lands of the grantor which are within 50 ft. on each side of the Centerline of the grantees, railroad grade and survey between Crane, Ore. And Burns, Ore. As the same is now located and stated out over and across the property of said Helena M. Gleeson in the S½ of NE¼ and N½ of NW¼, Sec 12, Tp 25 south, R 32½ east W.M. The course of said centerline is more particularly described as follows: beginning at a point in the East line of said Sec 12 2365 ft south from its NE corner thence N 69°30’ west, 2755 ft to a point in the west line of said NE¼ Sec 12, 89 ft. south from the NE corner of SE¼NW¼ of said Sec 12: Beginning at a point in the North line of said SE¼NW¼  250 ft. west from its NE corner thence 2495 ft to a point in the west line of said  Sec 12, which point is 480 ft. south from its NW corner. Said centerline being 5230 ft in length and said right of way containing 12 acres, more or less.  In addition to the foregoing, a strip of land 50 ft in width, immediately adjoining the foregoing strip on the north, beginning at the East line of Sec 12 and running thence 388 ft in a westerly direction, parallel to and joining with the tract hereinbefore described.  It is expressly provided that title to such lands herein conveyed as shall not be enclosed by the railroad right of way fence shall not pass to the grantor her heirs, executors or assigns by adverse possession, etc.

As it turns out, there are only 6 unique pieces of land in the above transactions. William C. Gleeson got two of his pieces of land from the United States government (Certificate 07147 and Certificate no. 07148). He purchased the other piece from his mother, Margaret Gleeson. His business, Gleeson Brothers Company acquired 3 pieces of land. His brother purchased land, and his sisters purchased and sold land.

Here is an example of how the land transaction was recorded in the deed book:

Harney Co. OR, Deeds, Bk Z p 162, WC Gleeson to Margaret Gleeson,[4] 
 So I'm off to analyze these records and search for more clues. There is an index called Miscellaneous files index, 1889-1929, vol A, where I found some lease records under Wm C Gleeson and Gleeson Brothers Co. Unfortunately the actual records are not found on FamilySearch. I will have to write to the County Clerk in Harney Co, Oregon for them.



[1] "W.C. Gleeson Was Active in Early State Projects," The Oregon Sunday Journal, 23 October 1927, William C. Gleeson.
[2] 1920 Harney Co, Oregon, population schedule, North Burns Prec, ED 70, Sheet 9b, dwelling 199, fam 208, William C. Gleason, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 27 Dec 2013), citing NARA Roll: T625_1493.
[3] “Dryland Farming,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dryland_farming
[4] "Oregon, Harney County Records, 1870-1991," digital images, familysearch.orgHarney Co. OR, Deeds, Bk Z p 162, WC Gleeson to Margaret Gleeson.


Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

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