Monday, February 6, 2012

Research Results

Those of you who have been reading for a while know that I have been researching the deeds to the property that my brothers and I own in Tennessee. We have one deed in Scott County and three in adjoining Campbell County. I thought I would give you an update on how that is going. This is not going to be simple to follow but I've tried to make it as clear as I can. As I have told you before, the deeds are all metes and bounds property descriptions and the property has never been officially mapped. Neither has much else up on the mountain.Some of the surrounding land was bought up years ago and combined into a deed that covers 20,000 acres. That deed claims a block of land about 10 miles by 10 miles then lists "exceptions" that it does not own but there is no way to sort through 200 pages of exceptions that are just listings of metes and bounds with nothing else to reference by. Sound like a mess? It is. I can't understand how the state allowed that deed to be assembled in that manner but they did. This process left a hole in the map near the county line that was attributed to our Scott County deed as parcel 2. Our deed was never mapped, it was assumed that the surrounding maps were correct and we were what was left. Believe it or not this created some problems. The state  map  of parcel 2 shows an elongated 11 sided figure. Our deed calls for a four sided figure. The other issue is no one involved knew exactly where the county line was. I was researching the family history last year and saw that my great Grandfather Calvin Allen had a private act of the legislature done that "moved" his property (our other 3 deeds) to Campbell County. No one ever redrew the county line on the state map. This means that our Campbell County property show up on the official map as if it is in Scott County. But Scott County never noticed that and added another parcel map below ours thinking that that land might belong to someone else. Taxation hates a void on the map so they just assume that a void belongs to a neighboring landowner and tax him accordingly. Well. the owner of a neighboring property with a vague description bought 2 acres of land 10 years ago somehow parcel 4 on the map was thought to be part of his land. He wrote us a while back wanting to come to a boundary agreement.Bear with me folks and remember this is the simplified version!

After several trips to the Scott and Campbell County Court Houses, an historic USGS Topo map of the area as it was in 1953 before it was strip mined, finding original deeds that were more accurate than our current versions that had some errors, and help from the mapping supervisor for the State of Tennessee, I am making sense of where our property is and how it fits together. Boundaries are closing up when I draw them out and survey points (calls) are lining up with the topographic descriptions. I think we will need to have a survey done to get anything changed on the books and hopefully we can get together on that. It is a relief that I can at least see where things are going and have confidence that our deeds that have been in the family over 100 years should stand up.


  1. Glad to hear that you're getting somewhere with this!

  2. Bet some title companies are having a hissy fit over this one, good luck. When we were in Arkansas we got the original abstract for our property and it talked about mining, railroad easements, and luckily some witness trees; we walked the lines and found some of those witness trees, it was so cool. Do you have any of those there? Ours had red squares painted about eye level and hatched into the bark of the treee.

  3. Linda, I doubt that there are many trees marked.It was 3 hash marks for a corner tree down there but the deeds were drawn over 100 yrs ago and between the strip mining, logging that we had done and timber thieves I would be surprised to find many.There are peaks on the mountain that line up with some of the points on the deeds if you look at the old 1955 topo map.This is not really residential property and with the vagueness of some of the deeds and the lack of accurate mapping I doubt that title insurance is an issue.Thanks.

  4. Our property in Arkansas was a farm right in the middle of forested land and although it was logged at one time and they did exploration for coal it still had a few of the witness trees on the corners; ten acres of the land was given over to construct a one room school house; another part of the property had a country highway cut through it and we ended up selling that three acre portion across the highway and that's where the biggest witness tree was as I remember, our abstract went back to 1896. I think some of the history of various properties is so interesting and I'll bet you are learning a lot about your family in your research.


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