A record of land contract sales in Chautauqua County, 1803-1810. Alphabetically arranged, the volume is easy to use and includes maps.

SKU gov19902 Categories ,

Compiled by Virginia Barden

This work is intended as an aid to family historians in placing an ancestor in a certain place at a certain time. Contained herein are extractions from a single ledger kept by William Peacock, an early surveyor and a clerk at the Batavia office of the Holland Land Company. This ledger contains the information about Holland Land Company sales and contracts through 1810, after which William Peacock became the local agent at Mayville and began keeping records in ledgers separate for each town. All these ledgers: the single cumulative one through 1810, and the succeeding ones for each town, are in Patterson Library , Westfield, New York.

An alphabetized chart format has been used here, which should be self-explanatory. Single-letter abbreviations (N, E, S, W, M) have been used to indicate the north, east, south, west, or middle of a lot.
All references to people and places are included, cross-referenced as needed and spelling is used here as it appears in the original, even though we may now know it to have been phonetic. A question mark following a name indicates difficulty in reading the handwriting and in deciphering the intended name.

Property was \”articled\”: articles of agreement given the purchaser when he had met the first of his responsibilities as owner of the land. Usually he paid a small sum to register the transaction, paid part of the purchase price in cash, cleared a few acres and planted a crop, and built a dwelling into which he moved his family.

Property was \”deeded\” when it was completely paid for, \”relinquished\” when the new owner renounced rights to it, usually because he chose another lot in its stead. Land \”reverted\” if the intended owner disappeared without formality, thus making it available for another contract.

The original ledger contains the price per acre, which is omitted here because there is so slight a variance. Land sold for $2.25 and $2.50 and acre; village lots in Mayville, Cattaraugus Village (present-day Irving) sold for $5 an acre. A very few cleared lots in a village sold for $10 an acre.

The system of land survey used by the Holland Land Company differs from the United States Rectangular System of surveying as explained in most \”How-to\” books. It differs too from systems in other tracts in New York and other eastern states, including even the . Holland Land Company\’s lands in Pennsylvania.

Beginning at the Morris Reserve on the east, to Lake Erie on the west, the ranges are numbered from 1 to 15. Townships are numbered from 1 at the border of Pennsylvania to 16 north to Lake Ontario. Chautauqua County is located within ranges 10 to 15, east to west, and townships 1 to 6, south to north.

Townships are ideally six miles square, containing 64 lots, each lot containing 360 acres.
Townships are not to be confused with political units called towns with names like Hanover and Ripley.
I am particularly indebted to Lois and Norwood Barris for their efforts in getting this volume into print. I am also grateful to Jack Ericson and my husband Paul, for their frequent help and encouragement.

Virginia Washburn Barden 1990