Quarters and Quarter Sections in a 1929-Era Probate

I’ve always found land descriptions and land records fascinating. Maybe it’s just the math geek, farm kid, and genealogy nut coming out in me, but they are fun nonetheless.
The image with this post comes from the estate inventory of John J. Johnson. John’s estate was probated in Hancock County, Illinois, from 1929 through the early 1930s.
The real inventory is typical of those in the location during this time period. The “understood” acreages are never listed. Those are the ones shown in green and blue in the image that accompanies this post.
A theoretical section of property is 640 acres. A quarter section would be 160 acres. As a result, the property shown in green in the illustration would have been 80 acres (half of a quarter section). The property in blue would have been 40 acres (a half of half of quarter section would be one quarter of a quarter section’s 160 acres).

And the last 38 acres? It’s spelled out a little more specifically because it can’t be described using halves and quarters. The land description system in Federal Land States is big on halves and quarters. Other, non-standard sized properties, are usually described more explicitly—often more explicitly than is shown here.

The estate settlement for John J. Johnson does not mention what happened to his real estate. I will have to look in the land records for those transactions. John J. Johnson will not be the grantor on those deeds–likely his administrators (and sons-in-law), Fred Ufkes and William Tammen will be. The probate records do not mention anywhere that Ufkes and Tammen are sons-in-law of Johnson.

And while I’m at it, I should be looking for the deeds where Johnson obtained the three parcels he owned upon his death.


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