Silver Linings Deed Book

By J. L. Starkey

This place needs me here to start.

This place is the beat of my heart.

Peter Lawrence Buck

I knew where my grandfather grew up. How could I not know? After all, I still laugh (and have a few nightmares) about that time we visited Altoona and dad just had to – had to – get a photo of his grandfather’s old house.

But how did my ancestors end up on that street, and in that town? After all, dad grew up – well, nowhere near Pennsylvania, and my grandfather moved away from Altoona as a young man. Dad often said that grandpa had deep roots in central Pennsylvania, but I didn’t understand just how deep those roots were until we moved to a small town in eastern Pennsylvania in the late 1970s. We didn’t live there very long, and grandpa only visited us there one time. But once was enough, because even though he had grown up several hours to the west, he still managed to run into a few cousins literally within hours of his arrival at our new home!

While I often wondered how my grandfather wound up in central Pennsylvania, my ancestral starting point wasn’t much help. My sixth-great-grandfather Samuel “the immigrant” Lilly was a bit on the vague side, and his will was…well, less than specific in its bequests.

That said, Samuel wasn’t the only ancestor who left a paper trail. Sure, it would take a bit of time to pull all of those documents and then put it all together…oh, and then there were all of those county changes and alterations and maps and deeds and…ok, this was going to take a lot of time.

That was fine with me, though, since I’ve had a bit of extra time on my hands, thanks to my immunocompromised status and a certain pandemic that just won’t end. Yes, it has been frustrating and sad and boring, but the silver lining is always there.

This time, it appeared in the form of a rabbit hole that led straight to where my Lilly ancestors landed in Pennsylvania.  


Samuel’s Bequests

Samuel Lilly leaves land to his son, Richard [FamilySearch image]

Samuel Lilly didn’t like details. That’s how it seemed, anyway. His bequest to his eldest son Richard (my fifth-great-grandfather) was simple but just a bit too vague.

“I give unto my son Richard all my right to the land where he now lives and is possessed of to him and his heirs forever,” Samuel stated in his will [1]. This lack of detail could have created a rather large brick wall in that part of my family’s story, but that miniscule bit of information was actually enough to move on to Richard Lilly’s paper trail.

To put it simply, Richard owned some land…a lot of it. And while I expected that he would inherit his father’s estate and settle there, Richard had other plans…and those plans didn’t include Pennsylvania.

Around 1755, Richard married Mary Elder, a daughter of William Elder and Anne Wheeler, and settled in Frederick County, Maryland, just across the Mason-Dixon line from his father’s land. (Note: If the Elder and Wheeler surnames ring a bell, you’re probably familiar with the families’ connections to the founding of Mount St. Mary’s University.) Richard and Mary would raise at least nine children, including my fourth-great-grandfather, Joseph Augustine Lilly, who was born 21 March 1763 in Frederick County, Maryland.

Richard gets specific in his bequest to his son, Joseph [FamilySearch image]

Richard didn’t inherit his father’s “talent” for vagueness, and his 1791 will is detailed indeed [2]. Among the many bequests, to his son Joseph he left, “all my tract of land in the state of Pennsylvania, Bedford County, Hopewell Township, Raystown Branch of Juniata…containing two hundred acres…”

An 1802 survey confirms the site of Richard Lilly’s 1786 tract in Hopewell Township

According to records, Richard owned two tracts of land in Bedford County. He first applied for 200 acres on the Raystown Branch of Juniata in a warrant dated 20 March 1786; an 1802 survey confirms the date and location of that original warrant. He next applied for a tract of 125 acres (referred to as The Anchor) on 11 September 1788 [3]. In 1795, his son Samuel, as executor of Richard’s estate, sold that smaller tract to Richard Silver, a Yeoman from Bedford County [4].

The dam and spillway at Raystown Lake on the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River is it looks today [5] 

Well that was easy, wasn’t it? The original 200-acre tract of land that Richard left to his son Joseph was specified in his will, and in several land records and surveys, too. I assumed that was where my family put down roots in Pennsylvania, and I was correct in that assumption.

However, I also assumed that the rest of the family’s Pennsylvania land story would be just as easy to research and document, and that assumption was oh-so-incorrect. Moving forward, the words “that was easy” will never be used when referring to Lilly land records.

Seriously…never.


Anchors and Expeditions

Joseph Lilly’s 1789 warrant for Expedition [Ancestry image]

My fourth-great-grandparents, Joseph Lilly and Charity Ogle, were married around 1785. They may have received the Bedford County land as a wedding gift from Joseph’s father, although they didn’t live there in the early years of their marriage [6]. They probably settled there sometime around 1789, when Joseph patented a 100-acre tract of land called Expedition in Providence Township, Bedford County [7].

Survey of Joseph Lilly’s Expedition

In 1795, he would purchase an additional 58 acres close to Expedition and, in doing so, almost double his original holdings in Bedford County [8]. Despite those purchases, though, tax and census records indicate that the family’s primary residence remained in Hopewell Township [9].

Joseph Lilly’s additional 58 acres was located in the area of the red oval on this survey,

By 1806, after a series of indentures and smaller land deals, Joseph had sold or relinquished both of his newer acquisitions, and retained only his original 200 acres in Hopewell Township. Expedition was sold to George Hevener, while portions of the additional 58-acre tract were sold to Charles Williams and Samuel Riddle [10].

A new mystery in the Lilly family? [FamilySearch image]

In 1816, Joseph and Charity sold 46 acres of the Hopewell Township land to a man who resided on an adjacent farm [11]. The indenture noted that Joseph and Charity were living in neighboring Cambria County, and although the sale was finalized on 15 July 1816, it wasn’t actually recorded until – Wait, what was this?

While the indenture for the Hopewell Township land was completed in 1816, it wasn’t recorded until 20 April 1835…almost twenty years later.

“Oh, that has to be a mistake,” my inner voice insisted. “It just has to!”

Melish-Whitesite County Map of a section of Bedford County, ca. 1820. Richard Lilly’s tract in Hopewell is circled in red [12].
Enlarged section of map shows location of Richard Lilly’s tract, which was owned by the Keith family, ca. 1820 [12].

Joseph and Charity both died several years before that final indenture was recorded (Joseph in 1823 and Charity in 1829). They both left detailed wills that really didn’t leave much to chance. Additionally, their estates were settled quietly (and with very little drama) by my third-great-grandfather, their son Samuel Dennis (Sammy D!) Lilly.

That is how it happened, right? The estates were settled quickly, and with no drama…weren’t they?

Well, weren’t they?

Assumptions are funny things. Sometimes, they’re correct. But then there are those other times when they lead you straight to rabbit holes…and courthouses.

But that’s a story for another time…see you soon!

Gravestone of Joseph and Charity Lilly [Find-a-Grave image]

Citations

  1. “Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G99B-KCRW?cc=1999196&wc=9PM8-FM9%3A268493601%2C270202601 : 3 July 2014), York > Wills 1749-1779 vol A-D > image 120 of 647; county courthouses, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 15 May 2021 from FamilySearch.
  2. “Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GT1P-SS8X?cc=1803986&wc=SNYC-C6D%3A146535301%2C147307901 : 20 May 2014), Frederick > Wills 1783-1794 vol 2 > image 241 of 294; Hall of Records, Annapolis.
  3. Pennsylvania, U.S., Land Warrants and Applications, 1733-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Warrant Applications, 1733-1952. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania State Archives. Retrieved 12 February 2022 from Ancestry. [See also: Land Records Indices, Post-1733 Land Record Indexes, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, RG-17, Records of the Land Office, Warrant Registers, 1733-1957. [series #17.88], Bedford County Document Images #136. Retrieved 12 February 2022 from http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-88WarrantRegisters/BedfordPages/Bedford135.pdf; Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Pennsylvania State Archives, RG-17, Records of the Land Office, COPIED SURVEYS, 1681-1912. [series #17.114], Book C-116, page 38. Retrieved 9 February 2022 from http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-114CopiedSurveyBooks/Books%20C1-C234/Book%20C116/Book%20C-116%20pg%2075.pdf; and Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Pennsylvania State Archives, RG-17, Records of the Land Office, COPIED SURVEYS, 1681-1912. [series #17.114], Book C-120, page 149. Retrieved 19 February 2022 from http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-114CopiedSurveyBooks/Books%20C1-C234/Book%20C120/Book%20C-120%20pg%20297.pdf.]
  4. Indenture, Samuel Lilly to Richard Silver, 15 Aug 1795. Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book, 1771-1905, Deeds Vols. C-D Jun 1787 – May 1798, Deed Book D, 1793-1798, pp. 424-425 [digital image 560 of 676]. Retrieved 15 February 2022 from FamilySearch @ https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4V-R9RZ-6?i=559&cat=236682.
  5. By Tex Jobe, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual LibraryImage pageImage description pageDigital Visual Library home page, Public Domain. Retrieved 19 February 2022 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1906875.
  6. “Bedford, Pennsylvania, United States Records,” images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS77-1SCQ-8 : February 20, 2022), images 58, 84, and 121 of 572; Bedford County (Pennsylvania). Board of County Commissioners.
  7. Indenture, Barclay, Esq., to Lilley, 18 July 1789. Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book, 1771-1905, Deeds Vols. C-D Jun 1787 – May 1798, Deed Book C, 1787-1793, pp. 242-243 [digital image 127 of 676]. Retrieved from FamilySearch @ https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4V-R95R-R?i=126&cat=236682. [See also: Land Records Indices, Post-1733 Land Record Indexes, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, RG-17, Records of the Land Office, Patent Index, P Series (P-20 to P-35), 1792-1800. {series #17.155}, Image L-159. Retrieved 12 February 2022 from http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17PatentIndexes/P1792-1800PatentIndex160.pdf; and Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Pennsylvania State Archives, RG-17, Records of the Land Office, COPIED SURVEYS, 1681-1912. [series #17.114], Book R, image 70. Retrieved 11 February 2022 from http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-114CopiedSurveyBooks/Books%20A%20-%20Z/Book%20R/Book%20R%20pg%20142.pdf.]
  8. Indenture, Gibbs & wife to Joseph Lilly, 21 April 1795, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book, 1771-1905, Deeds Vols. C-D Jun 1787 – May 1798, Deed Book D, 1793-1798, pp. 422-425 [digital images 559-560 of 676]. Retrieved 9 February 2022 from FamilySearch @ https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4V-R9RN-Q?i=558&cat=236682. [See also: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Pennsylvania State Archives, RG-17, Records of the Land Office, COPIED SURVEYS, 1681-1912. [series #17.114], Book C-054 pg 298 (Book C-54-148). Retrieved 19 February 2022 from http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-114CopiedSurveyBooks/Books%20C1-C234/Book%20C054/Book%20C-054%20pg%20298.pdf.]
  9. Pennsylvania, U.S., U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798, for Joseph Lilly. Pennsylvania, U.S., U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. United States Direct Tax of 1798: Tax Lists for the State of Pennsylvania. M372, microfilm, 24 rolls. Records of the Internal Revenue Service, 1791-2006, Record Group 58. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Bedford County, Pennsylvania, digital image 336 of 413. Retrieved 30 January 2021 from Ancestry.com. [See also: “United States Census, 1790,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YYB-HFZ?cc=1803959&wc=3XT9-MV9%3A1584071103%2C1584071267%2C1584070607 : 14 May 2015), Pennsylvania > Bedford > Not Stated > image 5 of 19; citing NARA microfilm publication M637, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); and 1800 Federal Census for Joseph Lilly. Pennsylvania > Bedford > Hopewell and Woodbury, digital image 4 of 9. Retrieved 4 February 2022 from Ancestry.com.]
  10. Indenture, Lilly & Wife to Hevener, 14 Apr 1801, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book, 1771-1905, Deeds Vols. AA Apr 1880 – May 1802, pp. 326-328 [digital images 171-172 of 198]. Retrieved 18 February 2022 from FamilySearch @ https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSNH-73GK-H?i=170&cat=236682 [See also: Indenture, Lilly to Riddle, 21 January 1807, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book, 1771-1905, Deeds Vol. G Apr 1805 – Apr 1810, pp. 363-367 [digital images 186-188 of 441]. Retrieved from FamilySearch @https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSNH-HSDZ-J?i=185&cat=236682; and Indenture, Lilly to Williams, 1 July 1803, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book, 1771-1905, Deeds Vol. F Apr 1805 – 1802-1805, pp. 291-295 [digital images 451-453 of 573]. Retrieved 19 February 2022 from FamilySearch @ https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4T-Q32Y-J?i=450&cat=236682.].
  11. Indenture, J. Lilly to L. Keith, 15 Jul 1816, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book, 1771-1905, Deeds Vols. R-S Sep 1833 – Dec 1838, Vol. R, 1833-1837, pp. 357-358 [digital images 184-185 of 692]. Retrieved 18 February 2022 from FamilySearch @ https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSN4-1VXD?i=183&cat=23668.
  12. Bedford County, Pennsylvania, map. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Pennsylvania State Archives, RG-17, Records of the Land Office, Melish-Whiteside Maps, 1816-1821. {series #17.534}, Bedford County. Retrieved 13 February 2022 from http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-534WhitesideMaps/r017_0534_0000_3346_BedfordCounty.pdf.

4 thoughts on “Silver Linings Deed Book

  1. Oh sure, leave us hanging!

    Today’s unexpected research (really, I was just going to find a citation for a little thing in my book!) slapped me upside the head for making assumptions. Now what do I do with this less-than-flattering information about my protagonist. People are just sooo complicated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same thing here…I get a story in my head and start assuming things. You would think we would know better at this point!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It isn’t until we get more pieces of information that other bits start making more sense.

        Liked by 1 person

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