Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chattel Deeds Document Many 19th Century Residents Not Found in the Land Records

One interesting record group in Itawamba County governmental records often overlooked in research are the chattel deeds. Chattel deeds are basically the instrument used when a person borrowed money and used personal property to secure the loan. In these old records, from a research standpoint, there are three parties involved in each chattel deed - the one borrowing the money, the one loaning the money and a third party holding the claim on the personal property. Also found in the deeds are listings of the personal property being used to secure the loans. These records are important in that those borrowing funds were not necessarily landowners. Many of these deeds reflect the situation where a person borrowed money to make a crop on rented land. Many residents of the county absent from the 19th century real estate deed records show up in these chattel deeds.

In these old deeds all types of personal property are found, including cattle, hogs, horses, wagons, bales of cotton, and crops. And many of these loans were secured on the potential crops to be made on the farms.

The old 19th century chattel deeds are housed in the Itawamba County Chancery Court Clerk’s office in the county courthouse. Below is an abstract of a typical chattel deed and what information can be found from this type of instrument:

W.R. Lawson Trust Deed to J.E. Bourland
This indenture made and entered into this 16 day of Febry. AD 1878 by and between W.R. Lawson of the first part, W.E. Raden as Trustee of the second part and J.E. Bourlin of the third part…

One bale of good cotton of the first picking of the cotton raised by him in the year 1878 weighing five hundred (500) pounds including baggin & ties and a yoke of oxen, one red and the other speckled

…But this conveyance is made IN TRUST, for the following purposes, viz: The first party is justly indebted to the third party in the sum of Forty One Dollars, evidenced by his promissory note bearing even date with this trust deed, and falling due on the first day of November 1878…

The second party, as Trustee aforesaid, shall at the request of said third party, take possession of said property, and after having given 10 days’ notice…shall proceed to sell said property at Auction, to the highest bidder, for cash, at Cardsville, Mississippi, and out of the proceeds shall first pay all just costs and expenses, then pay to said third party…the full amount of the same with all interest that may have accrued thereon, and the balance, if any, pay to the first party…

In witness whereof, The said party of the first part hereunto set hand and seal the date first written above.

W.R. Lawson (X) His Mark

Satisfied April 3rd, 1880, J.E. Bourland

In your Itawamba County, Mississippi research, don’t forget these often overlooked records. That elusive ancestor who can’t be found in the land records may be hiding in the pages of these old volumes.

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