As any parent knows, shooing kids into adulthood requires a balancing of priorities. While securing one’s own home and finances, you also strive to secure a promising future for your children. We pay for health insurance, cover education costs, loan cash for car payments, and extend a bit of mad money whenever possible–as long as we don’t leave ourselves bankrupt and unable to manage our dotage. John Pearson (Pierson) Minor and his wife, Isabela McClelland, were no exceptions. These parents accomplished this tricky balancing act by serving as their family’s private bankers, lending money and holding the mortgages on land in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio. For cattle dealers and farmers in the first half of the 19th century, securing land was the ticket to securing a child’s good future; the means by which a young man/woman could become a self-sufficient, productive member of society. And through the 1850s, many states tied white male suffrage to land ownership.
This transcription begins a cascade of posts in which I will share the notes, mortgages and letters that record the helping hand extended to John’s eldest children, Robert and Abia, the two boys by his first marriage to Hannah McClelland.
The Unexecuted Deed For “Wilson Land” in Harrison County, Virginia–1849
This Indenture made this ________day of _______in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred forty nine between John P. Minor and Isabella his wife of the county of Greene and state of Pennsylvania of the one part and Abia and Robert Minor (*1) of the county of Harrison and state of Virginia of the other part Witnesseth that the John P. Minor and Isabella his wife for and in consideration of their share of a tract of land will,d to them the said Abia and Robert Minor by Robert McClelland deceased the land being valued at twenty four hundred dollars the receipt whereof is hereby acknoleged (sic) do hereby grant bargain sell convey and confirm unto the said Abia and Robert Minor their heirs and assigns for ever all that tract or parcel of land situate lying and being in the county of Harrison in the state of Virginia and bounded as follows Beginning at a hickory one of the original corners and running thence North seven and one third degrees east twenty and one fourth poles to a stake (bearing north twenty degrees East twelve links from a white oak) thence leaving the original line North sixty seven and an half degrees West one hundred and forty eight and one fourth poles to a stake at a fence thence along said fence South twenty and three fourth degrees West Ninety poles to a stake thence South Twenty five and an half degrees West fifty four poles to a stake on the bank of Simpsons Creek thence up said creek with the meanderings thereof North seventy six and an half degrees East forty eight poles South seventy six degrees East eighteen and an half poles crossing a drain South fifty two degrees East fifteen poles crossing Stouts run South twenty five degrees East twenty two and an half poles South five degrees East sixteen poles South eight and an half degrees West twenty nine poles South four degrees East seven poles to a water beech thenceleaving said Creek South sixty ninedegrees East twenty one and one half poles to a stake South seventy nine East twenty six holes to an Ash and Dogwood corner to land of Benjamin Stouts heirs thence North fifty seven and an half degrees East ninety four poles to a stake by the road thence North thirty one degrees West twenty four and an half poles to a Black Walnut and dead white oak thence with one of Aaron Lodges lines North one fourth degrees East seventy five poles crossing said Stouts run to the beginning containing one hundred sixty acres Being a part of a tract of land of three hundred and fifty acres conveyed by James P Wilson and wife to the said John P Minor, together with all and singular the appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any appertaining To have and to hold the above described premises unto the said Abia and Robert Minor their heirs and assigns forever and the said John P Minor and Isabella his wife the aforesaid premises unto the said Abia and Robert Minor their heirs and assigns against the claim or claims of all and every person whomsoever do and will warrant and forever defend by these presents In Witness whereof the said John P Minor and Isabella his wife of the first part have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year above written.
1) John P Minor and Hannah McClelland were married in Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1815. Abia Minor was born 3 July 1816 and Robert was born 11 April 1817. Hannah died the 28 April 1817, presumably from childbirth complications. John married Isabella later that same year, 24 September 1817.
2) The above transcription is the first brush stroke in our understanding of a land transaction between John P. and Isabella Minor and their eldest children, Abia and Robert. Future transcriptions will paint a rich picture of how John and Isabella came to own the land in (West) Virginia and how the boys assumed title to it.
The Minor Papers, private collection.
The Thomas Minor Society, the descendants of Clement Minor, ancestral number 1312.