This is an image of one of the documents in the Cash Entry Land File for Clark Sargent, my ancestor who purchased federal property in Winnebago County, Illinois in 1846. I was hoping he died before the patent was issued and that there would be something in the file on his heirs, estate administrator, etc., but no luck. At this point it appears as if he paid for the property in full before he died and that a patent to the property was issued to him before he died.
Cash entry files do not typically contain vast amounts of genealogical information, but they can place a person in a specific place at a specific point in time. This one indicates that Clark Sargent was “of” Winnebago County, Illinois on 25 May 1846. That helps me to pinpoint when he may have arrived in the area. There are times when knowing a person was in a specific place at a specific point in time is helpful, particularly when there are multiple individuals with the same name in the same general area.
There are no signatures for Clark in the cash land sale file. In other cases I’ve seen signatures for the individual making the cash sale and there are times when having a signature for a person of interest can help in distinguishing between two individuals of the same name.
As always–what is a clue and what is not often depends upon the individual research situation.
Clark was one of those who left very little in the way of records so I’ve tried to obtain any document on him that I could.