Thomas J. Rampley in Ohio in November of 1817

Several county histories indicated that Thomas Rampley and his family moved into Coshocton County, Ohio, in the fall of 1817. There was no specific date and county histories, particularly ones published nearly seventy years after the fact, are not the most reliable of sources.

Then there’s the General Land Office tract book for the property Thomas purchased from the federal government. Those tract books effectively served as a geographic finding aid to track what claims, sales, purchases, etc. had been filed for specific parcels of property in the federal domain and to prevent multiple transactions being processed for the same tract. The tract book tracked tracts in the federal domain.

The entry for Thomas J. Rampley indicates that his initiated his purchase on 15 November of 1817 and that he was “of Coshocton County, Ohio.” The tract book containing this entry for property in Coshocton County, Ohio, was created at the Zanesville Land Office. Thomas would have physically gone there to initiate the claim by making his initial payment. Thomas’ purchase of the northwest quarter of section 5 of township 5 of range 7 was secured by a payment of $83.

It doesn’t specifically say that he was of Coshocton County, Ohio, on 15 November 1817. But it seems very reasonable that the Maryland native was in Ohio on 15 November 1817. That date is consistent with the time frame for his family’s movement provided in the county histories.

But it only documents Thomas’ existence in Ohio as of that date. It doesn’t state his wife and children were there. If they did not travel with him to Ohio originally, they likely followed him there shortly after. And just because the history book is seeming correct about the date of travel does not mean that it is correct when it stated that his family traveled with him at the same time.

And how crucial is it to my research whether they all came at the same time or not? Probably not. But it never hurts to think about what something says and what it does not.

And it also doesn’t hurt to think is this piece of information crucial or is it not?



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