I am posting each of these stories here in order to demonstrate what can be done, and, to make the information available to interested others. PLEASE NOTE: these have not been edited and updated for new information, so if you read this, take the information WITH THAT IN MIND! Thanks! Enjoy reading this slice of our lives.
Property Records Search, Cedar County, Iowa
Property records of the county are arranged by Grantee and Grantor, each set in alphabetical order by name. We looked under B and found one Bolger, Michael, with several entries. The first was to Michael Bolger from the United States of America, an instrument dated March 10, 1852, a Patent (meaning first sale by the United States Government to a private citizen) for the SW4 SE4 of Sec 32 Twp 81 Range 4, recorded in Book M, page 300. The second entry was to Michael Bolger from Robert Gower, dated Nov 28, 1856, a warranty deed, for NWfr4SEfr4 of Sec 5, Twp 80, Range 4. There were four other entries dated 1855, 1874, and two entries dated 1875.
Good maps are an essential tool in a search of family records. In the library there is a book of maps for each state with the counties clearly shown. Then the state is divided into regions, Iowa is quartered, for instance. There is a detailed map of the region with each county showing the townships noted along with the towns. Further, each county is available with only township and town markings. On these maps there are no roads or rivers or other features. They are very useful when working with census information and general location descriptions. This book is listed under "Township Maps." However, to locate individual pieces of property, as noted in the records of the last paragraph, a plat book of each township is essential. Each township in each county of the United States is described by a north and south coordinate and an east-west coordinate. Cass Township in Cedar County, for instance, lays partly in Township 80 North (or just N) and partly in Township 81 N, while Union Township, Carroll County (which contains Coon Rapids), for instance, is located at Township 82 N. The east-west coordinate is expressed as a Range of the 5th Principle Meridian. Cass Township of Cedar County straddles Range 3 West and Range 4 West (of 5th P.M.), while Union Township of Carroll County is in Range 33 West (of 5th).
Each Township is divided into "one square mile" Sections and the Sections are numbered sequentially in a regular pattern. Deviations are sometimes found where there are natural barriers such as rivers, etc. Townships may, for instance, consist of 36 numbered sections. Within each section, one square mile, consisting of 640 acres, is further subdivided into quarters of 160 acres each and designated SW, SE, NE, NW for the respective quadrants. The smallest designation is (usually) a 40 acre parcel which is a quarter of a quarter section, hence: the SW4 SW4 is the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of the designated Section. The opposite corner of the section would be the NE4NE4, that is the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter. Another designation might be the S2 NW4. This would be the south half of the northwest quarter of the section. It would normally be 80 acres. (Note: we have found that the northern and western tiers of sections in most townships are irregular, that is, not a "square" 160 acres, so as to make up for irregularities of surveys of each township. For instance, an "80 acres" might actually be 90.4 acres in one township or 76.8 acres in another.)
We noted above: "Michael Bolger from the United States of America, an instrument dated March 10, 1852, a Patent (meaning first sale by the United States Government to a private citizen) for the SW4 SE4 of Sec 32 Twp 81 Range 4, recorded in Book M, page 300." This is a 40 acre parcel located as the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 32, Township 81 N, Range 4, which places it in the southwest corner of Cass Township (see maps attached). Section 31 is bordered on the west by (now) Benton County and bordered on the south by Gower Township. Section 32 is immediately to the east of Section 31, and is also bordered to the south by Gower Township. The next section to the east, Section 33, has the Cedar River running through the northeast quarter and the community of Cedar Bluff is also there.
Until 1877, there was no bridge across the Cedar, but there was a ferry. At different times, the ferry, and the communities on either side of the river were known as Gower's Ferry or Cedar Bluff or other names. That is another interesting episode that will be shared at a later time.
The second property entry above was: "Michael Bolger from Robert Gower, dated Nov 28, 1856, a warranty deed, for NWfr4SEfr4 of Sec 5, Twp 80, Range 4." Section 5 is the section in Gower Township (named for Robert Gower) immediately south of Section 32, Cass Township. This parcel designation is read as the northwest fractional quarter of the southeast fractional quarter of Section 5. The "fractional" means it is not a "true" 40 acres. It is located in that northern tier of sections of Gower Township, which may account for the fractionals.
Looking in Book M, page 300, discloses the following entry, in hand script, in part, designated: Patent United States to Michael Bolger, Certificate No. 4210. "Whereas Michael Bolger of Cedar County Iowa has deposited in the General Land Office of the United States a Certificate of the Register of the Land Office at Iowa City Iowa whereby it appears that full payment has been made by the Said Michael Bolger according to the provisions of the Act of Congress of the 24th of April 1820, entitled. An Act making further provisions for the Sale of the Public Land for the South West Quarter of the Southeast Quarter of Section Number Thirty two in Township Number Eighty One, (...several letters...) Range Number Four West in the District of Iowa Subject to Sale at Iowa City, containing Forty acres. According to the official Plat of the Survey of the Said Lands, Attuned (sic) to the General Land Office by the Surveyor General. Which said tract has been purchased by the said Michael Bolger. Now Know ye that the United States of America, in consideration of the premises and in accordance with the several Acts of Congress, is such case made and provided. have given and granted and by these presents do Give and Grant unto the Said Michael Bolger and to his heirs and assigns of acres. In Testimony whereof I, Millard Fillmore, President of the United States of America have caused these Letters to be made Patent and the Seal of the General Land Office to be hereunto affixed. Given under my hand at the City of Washington the Tenth day of March in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty two. and of the independence of the United States the Seventy Sixth. By the President Millard Fillmore By M. R. Fillmore, Secy E.S. Terry, Recorder of the General Land Office."
Under Dolan there are a number of interesting entries in Cass, Gower, and Center Townships. A half mile west of the original Michael Bolger purchase, a John Dolan purchased a 40 acres parcel on June 10, 1851. He also purchased, from the U.S.A., three additional 40 acre parcels immediately to the south in Gower Township on the same date. Just south of that, on May 1, 1848, a George Washington Dolan purchased an 80 acre tract and sold it to Jno Dolan on August 3, 1848. This land lies just to the west of the land Michael Bolger bought from Robert Gower in Section 5. I speculated at the time we found these entries that Harriet might be a part of this family, but we had no evidence to support the speculation.
The Patent Record of the first John Dolan purchase above is especially interesting and insightful into the land purchase process at the time. The preprinted form begins: The United States of America. To all to Whom these Presents shall come, Greetings: KNOW YE, That in pursuance of an Act of Congress, entitled "An Act to raise for a limited time an additional military force, and for other purposes," approved February 11, 1847, (then, filled out by hand) Joseph B. Cowlick late a Sergeant in Captain Weavers Company, Fourth Regiment of Ohio Volunteers (continuing preprinted format) having deposited in the General Land Office a warrant in his favor numbered 62682. (The word "his" and the "62682" were handwritten in the blank.) There is Therefore Granted by the United States unto (again in handwriting) John Dolan assignee of said Joseph B. Cowlick and to his heirs, the north....( it goes on to describe the property.) Military service at certain times earned warrants for the purchase of lands being opened in the west. The warrants could be turned in for land, or, sold as happened here.
James and Josiah Dolan owned land in Center Township. The records we first examined seemed to be incomplete, but, some of the references were there. Their home place was located in Section 15 of the Township.
Families are forever! ;-)