May 30, 2015

How To Find War Patriots In Land Records

BLM site example

Land Patents and Bounty Land Warrants

I spent many happy hours yesterday searching the Bureau of Land Management – General Land Office records and even though in the previous post I cited just the Holmes records I found, I also found many for other branches of the family as well. The new site is in beta, but I was so pleasantly surprised to find they not only include land patents (proof of purchase of land) for individuals, but also bounty land warrants paid for military service.

If you search the BLM-GLO site make sure you have both the patentees and warrantees boxes checked. Searching the patentees is great for land documentation and to help determine when your family member might have first arrived in that location.

But by checking both you can see if your ancestor was perhaps a veteran of some military service, etc. too.  Keep in mind also that even if your person is listed as a patentee, he might show up with someone else who had a bounty land warrant. Why is that important?  Because there might be a chance your ancestor was buying land from a family member!  A good rule of thumb is to discount nothing or make assumptions.  What if that person who was buying the land eventually married the land owner’s daughter, or was already married to her?

I know it’s hard to see in the image above, but there is a very exciting (to me) “W” for William S. Holmes which going by the date of the Act authorizing it, was most likely for raising for a limited time a military force (February 11, 1847).

Where Would I Go From Here?

First of all, I would do some research on Captain Heintzelman mentioned in William S. Holmes’ warrant, and try to match up the company and regiment with the two men; then, I would do some further checking to see if there were any marriages or some kind of connection to the Robert Hett Chapman who bought land from W. S. Holmes.

If you’re doing your own search, make sure you click on the tab for “Related Documents” also.  Bounty land was a remarkable way for veterans to accumulate wealth by selling off their land to those who could afford it.

Not all the states have records available through the land records site, but they do provide resource links for most states.

New Holmes Family Military Records Found

New Holmes Family Military Records Found

Land Warrants Document Holmes’ Military Service

Doing the genealogy happy dance! @FranEllsworth mentioned on Twitter today that she was documenting ancestors using the BLM GLO records and that they now have associated documents’. Soooo….I did a search for my William S Holmes in Shelby County, AL as well as his uncle David Holmes in Missouri to see if there were any bounty land warrants for either man. Big whoohooo!

There were, and now I know William S Holmes served as a Pvt in Capt. Heintzelman’s Company, Second Reg. US infantry. I suspect this was service for the Army for the Mexican-American War as it mentions the Act of Congress of 1847. Could have been others conflicts though…

William’s uncle was David O. Holmes who was an early pioneer in Missouri had service in the War of 1812 as a Pvt. under Capt. Williams Company, Tennessee Volunteers.

I’ll be adding the records I found to the

Holmes page

here on this blog, as well as to my Yates and Allied Families on Ancestry.

The Yates Family Connection To Fruitville Missouri

West Plains High School girls

Torreytown and Col. Jay L. Torrey

Colonel Jay Torrey

From its inception around 1909, Fruitville, near Brandsville in Howell County, Missouri has always been part of our family history.  Col. Torrey was the owner of ten thousand acres in Howell County, and his plan was to sell individual plots of land to those interested in investing $5000.  His vision was to create an idyllic town around which these farms would be located.  Much like a planned community of the modern era, he offered the chance for investors to attain their lifelong dream of health and happiness.

Aunt Martha Yates Scott Worked At Fruitville

In my Great Aunt Martha Yates Scott’s journal she recounts what it was like to work in the kitchen at Fruitville.  She related how the others that worked there were astounded when she was easily capable of lifting and “toting” 50 pound bags of flour needed for each day’s bread they baked for the other workers on the farm.  She didn’t count herself as one of the premier bakers though, and felt that honor should go to my aunt Mirtha, her step-sister.  The red arrow in the picture above indicates the woman I believe is my Aunt Martha.  As you can see, she was a very big ‘girl’.

Will Yates and Fruitville Farm

My grandfather, Will Yates also lived near to, and worked at Fruitville, and I do think he probably was on a local baseball team for the farm.  Will’s father Jim Yates had come to Howell County, Missouri in the 1880’s with his half brother Gideon Morrison as well as his sister Myra Yates.  In 1900 Jim Yates purchased 80 acres near Brandsville and began his farm and lumber mill.  Jim would reside on that land in the Ozarks until around 1937 when his second wife died and he came here to Washington State to live with his children, including Will Yates who moved here in the 20’s when the drought took its toll on southern Missouri.

In letters I have read that were exchanged by Grandpa and his brother-in-law Richard Dewey Moore, Sr., I think the two of them were initial investors in Col. Torrey’s land scheme, but at some point it fell out of favor with them and they paid Torrey back and sought their fortunes elsewhere.

The Demise Of Fruitville, Torreytown and Col. Torrey

If you read through the whole page about Col. Torrey and his life and times, it is quite fascinating to see how this man came to be a land owner in Missouri, his political history and his sad death in 1920.  Make sure you read the excerpt written by Cherie Reavis written in 1979 for the West Plains Quill.  I think that many things happened that resulted in the downfall of Fruitville and Torreytown.  Soon after Col. Torry began we were at war with Germany and personal lives and incomes were uncertain.  Weather patterns changed for a time and new lands and opportunities were opening up in the far west.

Will Yates had already scouted out the west by 1915. As a young man unmarried man of 23 he was a seasoned laborer and had traveled by himself to the Pan Pacific Exposition by train to Oregon and then by boat the rest of the way to San Francisco.  He knew the lumber milling industry from his time at home on his father’s farm and when his second son Guy was about two years old in 1924, Will and his wife  left Howell County to make their new home eventually in


, Washington.