Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Land Case Files – Part 3 – Cash Entries

Last week I started a series of posts about my trip to the National Archives (NARA) in Washington, D. C. where I obtained copies of several ancestors' Land Case Files. Although the final Land Patents are available to download from the Bureau of Land Management website, the Land Case Files that are housed at NARA are the original documents pertaining to your ancestors and sometimes contain information about your ancestors that is of genealogical significance. Last week I covered Military Scrip Warrants and this week I am going to cover Cash Entries. You can read my original post on Land Case Files if you are interested in learning about how to order Land Case Files onsite from the Archives.

Cash Entry Files:
On December 8th, 1856, my ancestor, Hollingsworth House, made an application to purchase 142 acres in Lot No. 4 in the Northwest quarter of Section No. 1 in Township No. 24, North of Range 6 West and the Southeast quarter of the Southwest quarter of Section No. 35 in Township No. 25 North of Range 6 West in Oregon County, Missouri. 

Application of Hollingsworth House for 142A of land in Oregon Co., MO, 08 Dec 1856, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC

In many instances, applicants had to fill out an affidavit attesting to what they planned to do with the land, and then another witness had to testify to the validity of the applicant’s statement.

Affidavit of Hollingsworth House, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC

In his affidavit, Hollingsworth House swore that the land will be used for the purpose of “actual settlement and cultivation under the Provisions of the Act of Congress of 4th August 1854.” He also swore that he had been occupying the land since the 1st day of January 1851 and that he has a dwelling house, kitchen, cribs, stables, and other buildings thereon about 35 acres of said land which is now in cultivation. Lastly, he swore that he was 21 years of age. 

An additional affidavit stating he was 39 years of age and currently residing in Oregon County, Missouri, was a male and head of house. One small note here is that his age does not actually match up with the date of birth I have for him of December 25, 1816. He should have actually been 40 years old at the time this application was filled out in 1856. [1]

Affidavit of Hollingsworth House, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC

Benjamin A. Huddleston was a corroborating witness who swore that Hollingsworth House was the same guy who had been residing on said land since the 1st day of January, 1851.

Affidavit of Benjamin A Huddleston, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC
Hollingsworth House paid $17 for this transaction. Here is a copy of his receipt:

 Recipt for land purchased by Hollingsworth House for $17, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC

He also received a proof of purchase that he was instructed to bring to the Commissioner of the Land Office (Jackson, Missouri):

Proof of Purchase of Hollingsworth House for land purchased, copied from Land Case Files at NARA, Washington, DC

Here is a copy of the final patent that my ancestor received after he had filed an application, proved he was going to cultivate the land, paid his money, and presented his receipt to the Land Commissioner:

Land Patent certificate No. 24495, copied from the BLM Website, Holingsworth House
I was a bit skeptical at first about the worthwhileness of my trip to NARA because it seemed like most of the Land Case Files I pulled consisted of the patent (which I already had a copy of thanks to the BLM online records) and a receipt, which didn't even offer a signature. However, it only takes coming across one "thick" file to make it all seem worthwhile. In this packet, I found an adequate description of the land, when my ancestor had moved to it, what he had done to the land, how old he was, and who his closest friend or acquaintance was, enough to paint a nice picture of my ancestor's life on the land. 

Cherie wanted to know the link for ordering the Land Case Files from the NARA website. You can access information on ordering Land Case Files from the NARA (Washington, D. C. site) here. Thanks Cherie for the suggestion!

 [1]  This date of birth came from his grave marker in Union Hill Cemetery, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO.


  1. Great post Ginger. Is there a quick-link to where on the NARA website to order Land Case Files? I didn't even know about them before and I know my spouse's family received Land Grants.

    I'm so jealous of your trip too! :)

  2. Thanks Cherie for the suggestion. I added it to the post above, but here it is in the comments section as well - the link to ordering the Land Case Files from NARA (Washington, D. C.) Directly:


  3. Thanks for exploring the potential of the land case files at the NARA and explaining it to the rest of us.

  4. You are welcome PalmsRV and thanks for reading!