Originally published in the Wilmington News Journal Online Edition, January 21, 2022. This is the first in what will be a periodic column by Beth Mitchell, a volunteer at the Clinton County History Center.
Books can be wonderful things. If you’re working on family history, did you start at “ground zero” to find your family lineage, or did your family have this wonderfully documented lineage of names, places, births, marriages, deaths, etc.?
For most of us, the reality is somewhere in-between.
I wish to offer a word of caution about “Aunt Bessie” as the family historian. She may fill in the blanks with information she may have heard and it may or may not be accurate.
The proper approach is to learn how to document your information and then record it properly. I’m going to offer some examples of early Clinton County history, the kinds of books/records available, the kinds of information to be found and the location of same.
First, we would need to know the proper location. Clinton County became an official entity Feb. 10, 1810 as is documented in “A Handy Book For Genealogists.” This information is also documented in the 1882 “History of Clinton County”, and on page 307 it is noted that no county shall contain less than 400 square miles. This was according to an act passed by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio.
Early surveying must have been terribly difficult and winter could be a terrible problem as well as necessary allowances for location. Whatever the reason, it was determined that Clinton County did not contain enough acreage.
On Feb. 14, 1813 the General Assembly passed an act that would add acreage from Highland County to the south side of Clinton County. It was then determined that it was necessary to find more than 11 square miles of additional acreage.
By an act of the General Assembly Jan. 30, 1815, a strip of land approximately a half-mile wide was added on the entire length of the west side of Clinton County, and moved the eastern boundary of Warren County to the west.
The deeds for this acreage is recorded in Deed Book “T”. Early deed books contain wonderful information that may document family relationships, marriages, wills, and locations from whence the people came.
In Deed Book “A” on page 1 we find that on March 24, 1806 William White and wife Patsy of Orange County, State of Virginia, sold to Conrad Haws Sr. a tract of land containing 1,450 acres located in Hambleton [Hamilton] County, State of Ohio. This tract was part of Military Warrant #174.
On page 3 of Book “A” Conrad Haws Sr. and wife Fanny sold to Polly Haws 150 acres for the sum of $50; the date was April 20, 1810. On page 5 Conrad and Fanny sold to Conrad Haws Jr. 150 acres. On page six 150 acres was sold to John Haws. On page seven 150 acres was sold to Abram Haws — sometimes referred to as Abraham in the same document. On page eight 150 acres was sold to Elizabeth Haws. On page nine 150 acres was sold to Catharine Haws.
On page 10, 150 acres was sold to David Haws. On page 11 Conrad and Fanny sold 150 acres to Jacob Haws. Following this entry for Jacob Haws there is an indenture agreement between Jacob Haws and his parents – Conrad Haws Sr. and wife Fanny. His agreement was that He [Jacob] was to care for his parents for the remainder of their natural life.
The next entry on page 13 presents a bit of a mystery.
Conrad and Fanny Haws sold 150 acres to Isaac Johnson for $50. He received the same deal as the eight presumed children of Conrad Senior and Fanny.
Who was Isaac Johnson?
These agreements left 100 acres remaining for Conrad Haws Sr. Two members of the Clinton County Genealogy Society trace their ancestors to Conrad Sr. and Fanny Haws. In these 14 pages of Deed Book “A” we can assume Conrad Haws Sr. and his family were from Orange County, Virginia. We know Hamilton County was an original county in Ohio – Northwest Territory. We can assume Conrad Sr. sold land to each of his presumed children.
Were agreements in birth order? We have an indenture agreement between Jacob Haws and his parents.
We then have the mystery of Isaac Johnson. Was he a step-child? Could he have been an orphan who became a “member” of the family? Could he have been a child of Fanny by a previous marriage?
Everything must be proven.
We still do not know why Isaac Johnson got the same land deal as the eight children of Conrad and Fanny. This information is only a small amount of the information contained in the original documents.
If you are a history buff, it may be worth consulting early ledgers to find interesting tidbits of history and perhaps you could help solve the mystery of the relationship of Isaac Johnson to Conrad Haws Sr.
Beth Mitchell is a longtime Clinton County History Center volunteer. She writes articles for its quarterly newsletter about a variety of past Clinton Countians and genealogy subjects.