The mottled paper, the size of a place-mat, is folded in half, then half again, then half again. Carefully penned on its outer face is a succinct description of the document’s contents:
In 1841 John P Minor paid $5250, lawful money of Virginia, for 350 acres of land in Harrison County, (West) Virginia. According to the website Measuring Worth this sum was the equivalent of 133,000 lawful 2009 dollars. But consider this. As measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita index, this sum is the equivalent of $2.5 million dollars. Not many folks in 1841 or 2009 could afford to pay that much money for 350 acres, and this measure of worth gives us a clue that John P. Minor was not only a man of means, but also a man of some considerable economic power. James P. Wilson and his wife Rowena were all the richer for JP’s interest in their land.
THIS INDENTURE made this 19th day of October in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and forty-one, between James P. Wilson and Rowena his wife of the County of Harrison and State of Virginia of the one part, and John P. Miner of the county of Green and State of Pennsylvania of the other part: Witnesseth that the said James P. Wilson and Rowena his wife, for and in consideration of the sum of five thousand two-hundred and fifty dollars lawful money of Virginia, to them in hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledge have granted, bargained, sold, aliened, en???? released and confirmed and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell alien, enf???off, release and confirm unto the said John P. Miner his heirs and assigns forever all that certain tract or piece of Land with its appurtenances lying and being in the said County of Harrison on Simpsons Creek, and Bounded as follows, to wit Beginning at an Ash and Dogwood corner to the original survey made for William Lowther, and running thence N34 1/2*E25 1/2 poles to a stone (bearing S69*E 16 Links from a chesnut (sic) oak) Thence Leaving the original line N62*W76 1/4 poles to a Stone, Thence S48 W25 poles crossing Limestone Run three times to a stone. Thence down said run S42 1/3 W62 poles crossing said run Seven times to a Stone by a Stump thence S241/2W14 poles crossing said run to a Hickory on the westerly bank thereof.Thence S34 1/2 W29 1/2 poles crossing said run twice to a Limestone. Thence S40 1/2 W 15 poles to a Hickory. Thence S 64*W27 poles crossing said run to a whiteoak (sic) Thence S28 1/2 W 12 poles to a Pin oak. S 20 W36 4/10 poles to a stump. S 62 3/4 W17 poles to a stump. N 62* W11 poles and 4 links to a stone, S 70 3/4 W 10 poles to a Stake, (crossing said run twice) near said Creek, Thence up the same S10 W24 poles crossing said run, near its mouth to a Sugar tree, one of the original corners of said Lowther Survey, also a corner to land belonging to Salomon Holland, thence with two of said Hollands lines N 81* E 22 poles. Thence S 28E 76 poles to a Stake on the Bank of said Simpsons Creek. Thence up the same with the meanders thereof N 76 1/2 E 61 poles . S 76 E 18 1/2 poles, crossing a drain, S 52 E 15 poles crossing Stouts Run, S 25 E 22 1/2 poles, S 5* E 16 poles. S 8 1/2 W 29 poles, S 4 E 7 poles to a water Beech at teh mouth of a small drain, Thence leaving said Creek S 69 E 21 1/2 poles to a stake, S 79 E 26 poles to a n Ash and Dogwood, Thence N 57 1/2 E 94 poles to a Stake by a road, thence N 31 W 24 1/4 poles to a Black Walnut and dead white oak, corner to ladn belonging to Aaron Lodge, Thence with two of his Lines N 1/4 E 75 poles crossing said Stouts run to a Hickory Thence N 7 1/3 W 170 poles to the Beginning containing three hundred and fifty acres. To have and to hold the above described tract or piece of Land with the appurtenances to the said John P. Miner his heirs and assigns to and for the only proper use and behoof of the said John P. Miner his heirs and assigns forever: And the said James P. Wilson and Rowena his wife for themselves their heirs do hereby covenant to and with the said John P. Miner his heirs and assigns that they will forever warrant and defend the above described tract or piece of Land to the said John P. Miner his heirs and assigns froever against all persons and claims whatsoever. In Testimony whereof the aforesaid James P. Wilson and Rowena his wife have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year first above written.
Joseph Winter and Benjamin Stout, Justices of the Peace in the County of Harrison, Virginia witnessed the sellers’ signatures on the 19th day of October 1841.
Thus John P. Minor, of Greene County, Pennsylvania, acquired this parcel, known in my family as the “Lowther Land”, that would later be deeded to his two eldest boys, Abia and Robert Minor. Why was the fifty year old cattle dealer interested in this particular tract of land? Further documents reveal some answers; stay tuned.