Monday, June 18, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Deed - Hammontree-Billings 1859

On his TransylvanianDutch blog, John Newmark defines an amanuensis as “a person employed to write out what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.” For more information about this daily blogging prompt, see John’s post Amanuensis – Why?.

I have amassed quite a collection of scans of handwritten documents related to my ancestors—primarily marriage records, deeds, and wills. As I have been transcribing these documents, it occurred to me that most of these documents were not actually written by my ancestors, but rather dictated to someone else, and then transcribed by a clerk into official records.

By 1857, Hugh Hammontree, one of my paternal 3rd great-grandfathers, had purchased a total of approximately 160 acres of land in Bienville Parish. The deed below represents the sale of 20 acres of that land to E. and T. B. Billings, for a mere $3! I haven’t researched the economic conditions of Bienville Parish in 1859, but, at just 15 cents an acre, it seems the Billings got a great deal!

I don’t know what all the dark Xs are on this document, but from their locations, it appears that they may have been made by someone who was indexing the deeds.

“Hugh Hammontree }
To       Deed               }
E. & T. B. Billings     }

Know all men by these presents that I Hugh Hammontree of the Parish of Bienville & State of Louisiana have this day for and in consideration of Three dollars cash to me in hand paid the receipt where is hereby acknowledged, have bargained and sold, and by these presents, do bargain and sell, release and convey unto E. Billings and T. B. Billings of the Parish of Bienville and State of Louisiana their Heirs and assigns forever all of the following described piece or parcel of land, to wit. The West half of the North West fourth of the South East fourth of Section No. five (5) Township Eighteen (18) of Range five (5) containing twenty acres, and I do, by these presents, bind[?] myself my heirs and assigns, jointly, separately [sic], severally and firmly by these presents to warrant and forever defend all my signatory Rights and letters to the above described piece and parcel of Land unto the said E. Billings and T. B. Billings their heirs and assigns, to have and to hold to their own proper use any [?] forever. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and affixed my seal, is pres[en]ts of the subscribing witnesses on the first day of January in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight Hundred and fifty-nine.
Attest signed  G. M. Rogers }          (signed)  Hugh Hammontree  {seal}
                        R. J. Wheaton }        

State of Louisiana     }
Bienville Parish          }
Before me the undersigned authority personally came and appeared R. J. Wheaton one of the attesting witnesses to the foregoing deed who after being duly sworn, deposes and says that he was present and saw Hugh Hammontree sign the same for the purposes therein Expressed. also saw G. M. Rogers sign the same as a witness with himself all in presence of Each other & now Recognizes their signatures and that of his own as genuine.
Sworn to & subscribed Before me Sept. 26}           (signed)  R. J. Wheaton
AD. 1859        (signed) J.G. Noles Recorder}

State of Louisiana     }
Bienville Parish          }
I hereby certify that the above & foregoing is a true & correct Record of the original as filed Sept. 26, 1859, & duly Recorded October 3rd 1859.
                                                                                    John G. Noles Recorder”

Source: Bienville Parish, Louisiana, Conveyance Records, 1848-1900, F: 120, 
Hugh Hammontree, deed to E. & T. B. Billings, 3 Oct 1859; FHL microfilm 266,009.

© 2012 Denise Spurlock

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