Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Some Things Will Just Have to Wait
Yesterday, I mentioned finding a May, 1817, record of land granted to Sarah Ijams in Perry County, Ohio.
Yesterday, I mentioned finding it unusual to see a parcel of land—particularly out in such an isolated territory—granted to a woman. That was what gave me pause to think it over, yesterday.
Today is another day. And today, I have another something to wonder about, for it was that date that once again stopped me in my tracks.
It sometimes takes time to absorb all the details that become important guideposts when researching an era or and area. I've been working with Perry County research for so long, I'm amazed this thought hadn't hit me sooner—but I'm thankful it at least came to me in retrospect.
The thought is this: why did the Bureau of Land Management readout for Ijams land grants indicate they were for parcels in Perry County, when Perry County wasn't even formed yet? As of 1817, that land would still have been in Fairfield, Washington or Muskingum counties, the counties from which Perry County was drawn. Perry County didn't even come into existence until March 1, 1818.
Notwithstanding that minor detail, I tried to find another way to verify whether it was our Sarah Ijams who received title to that land. My thinking is that it was this land that convinced her husband-to-be to not pursue his own land grant in Arkansas, since he would, ultimately, have received this land from her upon their marriage. Once he encountered her abrupt passing—upon or shortly after childbirth—he may have then reconsidered that plan.
Another thought I had was to check to see if there were any will left by the young mother, Sarah Ijams Jackson. While I've so far been unsuccessful in locating any mention of that possibility in the records I can access online, I have a long way to go through the browse-only digitized documents at FamilySearch.org, so let's call that result inconclusive, at best.
This is the kind of research quandary that makes me wish I had an upcoming trip to Ohio in my back pocket. I do have a trip coming up, but it's not to Ohio. For now, not being able to get my hands on any of those old documents, in person—whether court records of wills, or land records for the County during that time period—it looks like we'll have to tuck this puzzle away for a later time.
It's been illuminating to wander through the War of 1812 Pension Papers and other records regarding the military service of Sarah's husband, John Jay Jackson, and the Revolutionary War-era mentions of Sarah's father, William Ijams of Maryland. When a researcher can't get her hands on the actual documents in person, these digital forays into historic archives are priceless. But sometimes, it absolutely requires an on-site visit to find the information that's been missing, elsewhere.
Hopefully, that will be in my near future. But for now, there are other projects calling my name. We'll have plenty to capture our attention in these newer directions, too.
Above: "August Afternoon, Appledore," 1900 oil on canvas of Maine's Appledore Island by American Impressionist, Frederick Childe Hassam; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.