On the Farm

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme this week is on the farm.

I only have three ancestors that farmed and I have already written about all three.  However in previous posts I wrote more about their lives and very little about their farms. Today, I will focus on John Desens my 2nd great grandfather’s farm.  John owned a farm near Greenwood, Clark, Wisconsin.[1]  A few years ago I made a trip to the court house in Neillsville, Clark, Wisconsin to research John. At that time I did not have paper proof that he was my 2nd great-grandfather and that was the purpose of the trip.  I was searching for his probate file, land records, and the criminal file for the neighbor who killed himI didn’t get everything I wanted that day, but I was able to search the Grantor and Grantee books.  I knew his death date so I started with the Grantor books for 1907 and found the sale of the farm in Sept of 1907.  I did not recognize the name of the man who purchased it.  Next I wanted to see the title and get a legal description.  So I copied down the information of the book and page number the title should be in.  The clerk took me to the basement of the court house where they kept the books. The book shelves were covered with plastic tarps.  She pulls a tarp back, pulls out the book and opens to the page.  I was able to write down the legal description.  Then next to that title was one for his son.  I wrote down that legal description too.  It appeared that they each owned 40 acres next to one another.  The clerk asked me if I would like to know where the farms were today.  She anticipated my next question!  We went back upstairs to look at the current plot book. By the legal description we were able to find the farms and the roads that they are on today.

The legal description of John’s farm read: NE quarter of Sec 6 Township 26 range 2W of the fourth Principle (40 acres).[2]  Farm today is located at SE corner of Rock Creek Road and Resewood Road from the current plat book.

John Desens Farm (2)_LI

Satellite View of John’s Farm today.  Google Earth Photo.

The legal description of Herman’s (John’s son) read: NW quarter Sec 6 Range 2W of fourth principle (40 acres).[3]

Grantor Index, Clark County Wisconsin 1905 1/2 – 1911 ½ Vol 8, page 117, notes from mortgage: Paid off September 26, 1900. [4]

Herman died in 1901 and John inherited his son’s 40 acres.[5]

According to John’s probate file when he died in 1907 his equity included the following:[6]

1 grey house

80 acres of land

1 boy horse

36 chickens

1 cook stove and pipe

1 shovel

1 spade

1 buck saw

1 screw driver

1 inch chisel

2 sacks of flour

2 tin pails

2 Axes

1 Plow

1 harness

1 trowel

1 lantern

4 chairs

1 oil can

1 bob sled

1 wood splitter

½ acre of grown peas

1 ½ acre of rye

3 ½ acres of oats

1 acre of potatoes

2 acres of grass

7 bushels of oats

1 clock

I could not make out the hand writing for some items on the list. The grand total came to $1356.81. 

It looks like John was a poor farmer.  From what I can tell he had only been farming in Wisconsin for about 8 or 9 years at the time of his death.[7]  He was 74 years old when he died.[8]  It must have been hard for him to farm by himself in his late 60’s and early 70’s.  Perhaps when he and his son bought their farms, he thought his son could do a lot of the heavy work, unfortunately his son, Herman died in 1901 at age 30.[9]

After finding the location of the farm, my husband and I drove out see it and here are some pictures of the way it looks today. 

Desens Farm

John’s Farm from the corner of Resewood Road and Rock Creek Road, Clark County, Wisconsin.

 

The farm was sold to Edwin H. Wood in September 1907.[10]

I did find proof that John Desens was my 2nd great-grandfather in his probate file.[11]

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

___________________________________________

[1] Grantor Index Book, Clark County Wisconsin 1905 1/2 – 1911 ½ Vol 8, page 117, notes from mortgage: Paid off September 26, 1900.  Filed at Clark County Courthouse, Recorder of Deeds, 517 Court Street, Room 303, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456. 

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ancestry.com. Wisconsin, Wills and Probate Records, 1800-1987 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2015.  Original data: Wisconsin County, District and Probate Courts.

[6] Probate file for John Desens filed in the McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 103 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701

[7] Ibid.

[8] Death Record of John Desens, Pre -1907 Wisconsin Death Record County Clark, Volume # 01 Page # 438. Filed at the State Historical Archives of Wisconsin, Miroforms room, 816 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

[9] Clark Co., Wis. Internet Library Home Page

[10] Grantor Index Book, Clark County Wisconsin 1905 1/2 – 1911 ½ Vol 8, page 117, notes from mortgage: Paid off September 26, 1900.  Filed at Clark County Courthouse, Recorder of Deeds, 517 Court Street, Room 303, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456. 

[11] Probate file for John Desens filed in the McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 103 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701

Advertisements

My Research Trip to Neillsville Wisconsin

John Desens Tombstone

 

Last week I took a genealogy trip to the middle of Wisconsin in search of a man that I believe could be my great-great grandfather.  Let’s put it this way, I am 95% sure that this man is my great-great grandfather.  What I need is a document that proves it.  I believe this man to be my great-great grandfather because he has the same name and his wife has the same name as my great-great grandmother.  His son that lived nearby has the same name as my great grandfather’s brother.  My father told me way back in 1979 that we had ancestors who lived in Wisconsin and were killed by Indians.  Well the man I think is my great-great grandfather was killed by his neighbor and his son was killed by an accident with his shot gun.  This is a lot of circumstantial evidence.  So to Wisconsin I went with hopes of getting the documentation that I need.

My ancestor lived on a farm near Greenwood Wisconsin.  Since he owned land, I figured that there should be a probate file.  So my first stop at the Court House in Neillsville, Wisconsin was the Probate Office.  I was told that the old probate files had been transferred to the Wisconsin State Archives in Madison, but she was able to tell me that there is a file and gave me the number.  Then I went to the Circuit Clerk to see if there was a criminal file for the neighbor that killed him.  I was not allowed to search, they will search for me at their convenience.  I filled out a form and paid $5.00 for the search.  I will see if anything comes of it.  My next stop was the land office since he owned land.  The lady in this office was great!  She showed me to the Grantor and Grantee books and let me search.  I knew his death date so I started with the Grantor books for 1907 and found the sale of the farm in Sept of 1907.  I did not recognize the name of the man who purchased it.  Next I wanted to see the title and get a legal description.  So I copied down the information and went back to clerk with the information of the book and page number the title should be in.  She had to take to the basement of the court house. In the basement the book shelves were covered with plastic tarps.  She pulls a tarp back, pulls out the book and opens to the page.  I was able to write down the legal description.  Then next to that title was one for his son.  I wrote down that legal description too.  It appeared that they each owned 40 acres next to one another.  The clerk asked me if I would like to know where the farms were today.  She anticipated my next question!  We went back upstairs to look at the current plot book. By the legal description we were able to find the farms and the roads that they are on today.

My husband and I drove out to the farm, and I was able to get some pictures and see what it looks like today.  Then we went to find the cemetery where he is buried.  I had this information from the Internet.  I was hoping he had a headstone so I could find his grave and he did, but his son who is buried right next to him did not.  The church he went to is close by the cemetery.   Both Church and Cemetery are close to his farm.

I should say that before I went I had sent for his death certificate which said he died of multiple stab wounds to the chest.  This peaked my curiosity about his death and contacted a library in the area to see if they had obits.  They found a newspaper article about his death.  I still don’t have the proof I need, but I’m still working on it.  It looks like my next trip is to the Wisconsin State Archives in Madison.

Note: When I have all the information I need, I intend to write his story.  That is why I am not including too many details here.  This is intended to be more about my research trip.

 

Copyright © 2014 Gail Grunst