320,000 Acres of Land Hereabouts Sold for Five Shillings According to Old Records Found in Old Vault
H.M. Booth, in cleaning out the vault of the old Guyan Valley Bank preparatory to moving his offices from Logan to Hamlin, uncovered a number of old documents that dated back to the time when “horse and buggy days” were a fact and not merely a political equation.
Many of these old papers, including deeds, receipts, account books and other papers of a semi-personal nature, are originals, while others are notarized copies of originals. They make interesting reading in these days of speed, radios, high prices and typewriters.
The old documents were all hand written, in clear, flowing script, the capital letters often decorated with fancy scrolls and shaded lines. Many of them were written with a quill pen.
Of particular interest is one deed, 12 ½ by 15 ½ inches, written on sheepskin. The ink has not faded, and although the skin is old and discolored, the deed is easily read. It was made in the days when Logan county was unheard of, and all this vicinity was part of Cabell county, Virginia. It seems strange, now, to think of a governor in Richmond, Virginia, parceling out land in Logan county.
The deed reads, in part: “James Barbour, Esq., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia: To all whom these presents shall come, Greeting: Know ye, that by virtue of a Land office Treasury warrant, No. 6126, upon the 9th day of Sept. 1780, there is granted by the said Commonwealth unto Peter Dingess, a certain Tract or Parcel of Land, containing one hundred and twelve acres, by survey, bearing date the 31st day of March, 1813, situate in the County of Cabell, joining to his own deeded land, and bounded as followeth, to-wit:”
Then follows a detailed description of the boundaries of the land, in which prominent trees and landmarks play a common part. After the description of the land, which was written in pen and ink, came the regular printed form as follows:
“In witness whereof, the said James Barbour, Esq., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, hath hereunto set his Hand, and caused the Seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed at Richmond, on the twenty-fifth day of October, in the Year of our Lord, One thousand eight hundred and fourteen, and of the Commonwealth the thirty-ninth.”
Down in the lower right hand corner of the paper can be plainly seen the signature of James Barbour, governor of Virginia at that time.
A notarized copy of another land deed was signed by Robert Brooke, Governor of Virginia in 1795, and was dated March 23 of that year. It deeded through the Land Office treasury warrants numbered from 472 to 530, inclusive, a parcel of land containing 480,000 acres, “by a survey made the 10th of September, 1794.” The land was described as being in the county of Wythe, on the Tug and Guyandotte rivers. This grant of land was known as the “Robert Morris Grant.”
Evidently, from the records, Robert Morris became involved in difficulties, for after a considerable amount of legal red tape, all duly recorded, there is a document showing where “Robert Morris and Mary, his wife, of Philadelphia, sell to William Crammond of Philadelphia as well for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings lawful money of Pennsylvania to them well and truly paid do grant bargain and sell, alien and enteoff release and confirm to the purchased 320,000 acres of land in the counties of Wythe and Russell, lying on both sides of Sandy Creek.”
Among the records of accounts paid found by Mr. Booth were numerous fees paid out for “boating freight from Huntington.” Six dollars and fifty cents is entered “for a suit of clothes,” and another entry shows where four dollars and a half were paid for two pair of shoes.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 19 August 1936