The oldest survey of the farm's property contained in the box is dated May 1, 1850. This survey was done to establish the boundaries of John M. Smith's property. John M. Smith inherited the 190 acres which made up "the plantation whereon he lives" from his father John Smith. John M. Smith apparently paid taxes for his portion of the land as early as 1835. Here is his 1835 tax receipt. He paid £37 Domestic in taxes that year.
his will directed that his approximately 506 acres of land be divided up between four of his children: John, Solomon, Samuel and Margaret. When and from whom did John Smith originally obtain the land? Did he inherit it from his father? Or did he purchase it? Or obtain in in some other way? I don't know the answer to that question, but I someday hope to. Any information on this would be gratefully received!
Below are photos of the May 1, 1850 survey of the land that John M. Smith inherited from his father John Smith.
|Title side of 1850 survey of John M. Smith's land|
|May 1850 survey of John M. Smith's land near Piney Flats, Sullivan County, TN|
Survey of 190 Acres
100 poles to an inch [text above diagram of property in upper left corner of page]
John Smith [text inside diagram of property]
Pursuant to the last Will, and Testament of John Smith decd, I have surveyed 190 more or less Acres of land for John Smith, situated in Sullivan County, in the fork of Holston, & Watauga Rivers, beginning at a Poplar on Jas Campbells line, thence a new line S 34 1/2° E 259 1/2 p. [poles] to a planted rock, on Thos Hughes's line, thence with the same, S 42 1/2° W. 43 p. & 10 links, to a White Oak, Margaret Smith's line; W 43°. W 75. p. to a double White Oak; thence with her line S. 50 1/2°. W. 98. p. to two Sour Woods, White Oak, & dogwood, thence with Jonathan Smiths line. W. 42°. W. 131. p. to a White Oak, and double dogwood, thence with an old conditional line N. 30°. E. 94 1/2 p. to a Chestnut on the top of a Ridge; thence W. 31. p.to two hicorys, and a Sassafrass; thence with Jas Campbell's line, W 46°. E. 111. p to the beginning. Surveyed May 1st. 1850. Henry Anderson C S of Sullivan County
John M. Smith died on September 8, 1884. On March 21, 1884, just a few months before he died, John filed an entry for his land at the Entry Taker's Office of Sullivan County. I assume he did this so there would be no question as to his ownership of the land after his death. His land was surveyed and the state of Tennessee issued a land grant to him that was signed by William B. Bate, then governor of Tennessee, on January 20, 1885, a few months after John's death. Photos of the document issued are below.
GRANT FROM THE STATE OF
TENNESSEETOJohn M. SmithJohn M. Smith hathtitle to the within described tract of land.W. T. Jones Register.Land office for East Tennessee,_____[blank]__D. Reg.This Grant is recorded in Vol. 33at Page 192, Records land office forEast Tennessee, at Knoxville. This 7day of March 1885.W T Jones Register.Register fee Pd 125On reverse side:
THE STATE OF TENNESSEE.To all to Whom these Present Shall Come.---Greeting: Know Ye, That in consideration of an entry made in the Entry Taker's Office of Sullivan County of No. 70 dated the 21st day of March 1884 By John M. Smith.There is granted by the State of Tennessee unto the said John M. Smith and his heirs a certain tract of land containing 190 3/4 acres lying and being in the County aforesaid, in District No. 9 on the South side of the Holston River. Beginning at a Poplar on William Jone's heirs line, then S. 31 1/2 E. 258 poles to a planted rock on Hughes' line with the same, S 44 1/2 W. 43 poles to a planted rock, N. 43 W. 75 poles to a White Oak, S. 52 1/2 W. 98 poles to a White Oak, then N. 39 W. 131 poles to a White Oak, and double Dogwood, N. 32 E. 94 1/2 poles to a dead chestnut and planted rock on top of a ridge, then S. 88 W. 31 poles to a Hickory and planted rock, then N. 48 1/2 E. 110 1/2 poles to the Beginning.Surveyed the 21st day of March 1884, with appurtenances, to have and to hold the said Tract or Parcel of Land with its appurtenances, to the said John M. Smith and his heirs and assigns forever,IN WITNESS WHEREOF, William B. Bate, Governor of said State of Tennessee has hereunto set his hand, and caused the Great seal of the State to be affixed, at Nashville, on the 20th day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Eighty five and of American Independence the one hundred-ninety.By the Governor: Wm. B. Bate
D. A. Nunn, Secretary.
In John M. Smith's will, he left his land to his wife, Francina Colbaugh Smith, for her use during her natural life. He then directed that his land and the buildings thereon go to his son George Rutledge Smith and the heirs and assigns of George Rutledge Smith.
George Rutledge Smith predeceased his mother. He died in 1894 and his mother died in 1899. In his will, dated May 23, 1894, he left his farm to his second wife Martha Spahr Smith and his daughter Mattie Elizabeth Smith. If Martha died without heirs, Mattie was to inherit all of the farm.
Sometime before 1910, Martha and Mattie had sold 54 acres of the farm, probably to help support themselves and Francina Colbaugh Smith before Mattie married John D. Webb in 1901. The below 1910 property tax receipt shows that the farm then consisted of 136 acres and was valued at $1150.00. John and Mattie's personal property was valued at $130. The total taxes paid were $17.66.
Martha Spahr Smith never remarried and she never had any children. Therefore, when she died in 1926 Mattie became the sole heir to the remaining 136 acres of her father's land. By the time Mattie gained full ownership of the farm, she and John D. Webb had been married for a quarter of a century.
In 1941, John D. Webb had a map drawn of his and Mattie's farm. At that time, the farm totaled 126 acres, of which consisted 116 acres of fields, 8 acres of woods and waste, and 2 acres of lots and lanes. This "Farm Map" of the Smith-Webb farm is shown below.
John D. Webb was a good farmer, and he and Mattie raised all their children on their farm. The children grew-up, married and moved off the farm, but John and Mattie continued to live there. John died on the farm in 1958. Mattie stayed on the farm a short while longer, and then she went to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Lydia and Lewis Jones, in Johnson City, Tennessee. The farm was sold out of the family in 1962. Mattie died in 1972. She and John are buried in the Poplar Ridge Christian Church cemetery which is located near their old home land.
Piney Flats, Sullivan County, Tennessee