|Following the Indian
treaties of 1829 and 1833, the federal land surveys of 1833, and the creation of federal
land offices at Green Bay and Milwaukee, government lands in Wisconsin south and east of
the Fox and Wisconsin rivers were made available for public purchase at the price of $1.25
The sales of these lands before the economic panic
of 1837 and the depression that followed began slowly, totaling 217,000 acres in 1835.
Estimates suggest that 75% of these early sales were made to speculators. By the
mid-1840's, however, sales were sustained at around 700,000 acres per year, and Wisconsin
had become a favored region for homeseekers in the new Northwest.
The following land patent records for the town of Blooming Grove
(until 1850 part of the town of Madison) are compiled from the records in the Federal
Bureau of Land Management database.
An attempt has been made to retain the information as recorded on the original
land patents. Names as originally recorded, however, were not spelled with any more
accuracy than the corresponding census records of the period. In many cases, multiple
variations on family names and first names are obvious. Other errors also occur. For
example, although the document facsimilies usually leave little ambiguity about the
property being described, in a few cases patents to a property are credited to more than
one individual. An example occurs in section 9 of the town of Alto, Fond du Lac County, in
which the E1/2SE is credited to both James Thwing and Hendrick Bruins. In general in these
pages these cases have been resolved by citing all of the patentees named.
In a few cases, BLM transcriptions from the original handwritten
documents have introduced their own inaccuracies. In the town of Berlin, Green Lake
County, GLO records credit Abraham Teegarden with 255.74 acres on application document
number 5020. However, a cursory addition of the acreage of the four parcels would place
the figure at 360 acres. A close reading of the document facsimile indicates that the text
reads "tree hundred and fifty five acres and seventy four hundredths of an
acre," not--as apparently read during transcription--"two hundred and
One exception to presenting these records as recorded in the BLM
database is related to the acreage of the property. Patentees were allowed to file for
multiple parcels in a single application, and the patent identified only the total acreage
for all parcels. The BLM records follow the pattern of the original records. Because
patents generally described properties based on a system of sectional fractions (e.g. SW,
NENW, E1/2), the actual acreage for each parcel can easily be calculated. Questions do
arise, however, when townships do not consist of exactly 36 square miles. In these cases,
adjustments for the excess or deficit were apparently made in the westernmost and
northernmost "40's" of the township, resulting in 40's that are fractionally
larger or smaller than 40 acres. Because this site focuses on individual parcels, an
attempt has been made to attribute an acreage value to each parcel. The procedure followed
here in cases of fractional acreage is to assign all fractions to western or northern
40's. This is, generally, a reliable approach, but visitors are cautioned to confirm
actual acreages through other sources.
It is also important to note that in the town of Blooming Grove some
properties were identified not as sectional fractions, but rather as "lot"
numbers. Because the acreages of these lots are extremely variable, patents involving more
than one lot in a section are recorded here with an even division of the acreage among the
lots, resulting in a representative figure but one that is not completely accurate. An
additional difficulty in Blooming Grove is that the lake areas are common and subtract
from the acreage that would otherwise have been recorded. In most cases, the BLM records
accurately record the true amount of land purchased. With two individuals, however, Lucius
Lyon and John Nicholas the number of parcels purchased on patent 1506 combined with an
appreciable amount of water frontage makes it very difficult to calculate the true amount
of acreage for any given section. An attempt has been made to estimate the amount of land
purchased in sections with water frontage, but the actual acreage should be confirmed
through other sources.
The official records of the land patents in Wisconsin are now
available on the Web from the Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States General Land Office
at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/. Searches
can be conducted by accession number, by patentee name, and by state, county, town, and
section. Facsimiles of the original patent documents are available on the site.
CATALOG OF TERMS
- Accession Number
- An alphanumeric code unique to each document that directly relates a
document image to the original hardcopy document. Identifies the state, volume number, and
page of the original GLO document. An example of this might be LA3010_.023, which
identifies a Louisiana document found in Volume 301, Page 23.
- Aliquot Parts
- Using the rectangular system of survey, land in each state was
divided into Townships containing 6 square miles. Each Township was subdivided into 36
Sections, each containing 640 acres. Each Section was further subdivided into halves and
quarters, repeatedly, until the piece of land was accurately described. Without the use of
Fractional Sections, Blocks, or Lots (in the case of uneven parcels of land), Aliquot
Parts were used to represent the exact subdivision of the section of land. Halves of a
Section (or subdivision of it) are represented as N, S, E, and W
(such as "the north half of section 5"). Quarters of a Section (or subdivision
of it) are represented as NW, SW, NE, and SE (such as
"the northwest quarter of section 5"). Sometimes, several Aliquot Parts are
required to accurately describe a piece of land. For example, "E SW" denotes the
east half of the southwest quarter containing 80acres, and SWNENE" denotes the
southwest quarter of the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter containing 10 acres.
It is important to remember that the Aliquot Parts shown on the system usually translates
into words found on the land document. In general: a section contains 640 acres, a half
section contains 320 acres, a quarter section contains 160 acres, a half of a quarter
section contains 80 acres, and a quarter of a quarter contains 40 acres, etc.
- Document Number
- The primary identification number given to the original GLO document.
A certificate number, warrant number, serial number, or patent number may be used as the
- Fractional or odd-shaped tracts of land not generally describable by
conventional aliquot parts. Lots are sometimes expressed as "Lot 12" or
"Lot 12a." If a lot is included in a description of land, it will be denoted in
the aliquot parts as a one- or two-digit number and may include a lower case alphabet. For
example, "Lot 12a of the north-west quarter" is denoted as "12aNW."
- Signature Date/Issue Date
- The confirmation date for the land patent. Due to the tremendous
amount of land sold in the 1800's, the General Land Office experienced quite a backlog in
middle part of the 19th century. It was not unusual for several years to pass between the
time an individual purchased land from the local land office and the time a patent for
that tract was finally signed by the GLO in Washington, D.C. Curtis Higley in the town of
Metomen, Fond du Lac County, is a good example. Although he filed his paperwork on May 29,
1844, the date recorded on the patent is September 1, 1846. Other records indicate that in
some cases the signature date is significantly later for a given land parcel than for
another even when the document number indicates that it was filed earlier.