I’ve been working on some puzzle pieces relating to my 19th century ancestor Jerome HOLMES and where he was living around 1860.
On 2 Feb 1856, Jerome HOLMES and Oliva his wife of Hamilton purchased from Horatio POPE and Diana his wife of Hamilton for $1461 a parcel of land very legibly described as follows:
“ALL THAT TRACT OR PARCEL OF LAND situate in the Town of Hamilton & being part of lot No 95 bounded as follows Beginning at the Northwest corner of said lot thence south forty-five minutes west forty rods Thence north 89 degrees fifteen minutes east — one hundred and forty seven rods & twelve links Thence north nineteen degrees fifteen minutes east twenty rods Thence north five degrees east thirteen rods & eighteen links Thence south eighty nine degrees thirty minutes west ten rods & twenty links Thence North two degrees thirty minutes east eight rods Thence south eighty nine degrees fifteen minutes west one hundred forty-four rods twenty-two links to the place of beginning. Also another piece of land being a part of lot No 86 & bounded as follows commencing at the southeast corner of lands owned by Susan Chapel Thence North on said Chapels land to land owned by DeWitt C Reese Thence east on said Reese’s south line to land owned by Gillett Reese. Thence south on said Gillett Reese’s west line to the piece of land heretofore described Thence west to the place of beginning the whole estimated to contain forty two acres two rood & twenty six perches of land reserving & excepting one hundred and forty seven rods of land deed to Gillett Reese.”
40 acres of land is not a bad farm, and $1461 in 1856 money was a pretty big chunk of change! And Jerome was not yet 22 years old. Where the heck did he get the money for this purchase? Good question. I don’t know. Maybe his father had saved it up and gave it to him?
Note that Diana POPE was half sister of Rachel STOWELL, wife of Peter HOLMES. Susan CHAPEL was widow of Peter CHAPEL, who probably was Jerome’s grandmother’s brother — and she was grandmother of Ellen CHAPEL, who married DeWitt C REESE.
DeWitt had bought 24 acres in Lot 86 from the POPEs in 1853, and by the 1853 map he had additional acreage in Lot 86; these lands are referred to in the deed quoted above. On 26 Mar 1857, only fourteen months after purchasing it, Jerome and Oliva sold their land to REESE.
But in the 1860 census Jerome is shown living two households away from Dewitt C. REESE — so even though he sold this property, he was still living in this area.
The property Jerome bought lies between present day Route 12 and South Hamilton Road, west of where Reese Road meets South Hamilton Road. It is a part of a 160 acre present day property, # 215.-1-6.1 — it would seem the Lot 95 part of Jerome’s purchase has been extended only by a small irregular chunk at the east end of the south line but the west, east, and the rest of the south boundaries are still in place. Here are the present boundaries in red, and my quick and not very accurate attempt to draw the boundaries described above in green — presumably the east boundary would line up better if done carefully.
Now, if the 1859 map of the area is overlaid on modern aerial/satellite photography, one finds inaccuracies in the former — Reese Road is drawn too far south, for example — but generally things line up pretty well. Several existing buildings (marked here as Bldg 1, 2, and 4) match up remarkably well with buildings shown on the map.
Bldg 2 is the house on that present day property, within the portion Jerome bought. It is said to have been built in 1800. It therefore may well have been a house Jerome lived in at least briefly. No name appears next to the building at this location on the 1859 map. Instead it’s labelled “B.S.S.” — blacksmith’s shop. Bldg 3, not shown on the 1859 map, is an old shed supposedly built about 1900.
Bldg 1 actually is, I think, a garage and a large shed; apparently there’s no house there now, but H. Thayer had a dwelling there in 1859.
On the 1865 map the name “D. C. Rees” is shown next to another house, between these and a little west. In the overlay it seems to straddle the property line, right about where the modern line takes a right angle turn. If REESE didn’t also own the land on the other side of that line, and I don’t think he did, it seems an odd place for a house. Probably the position shown on the map isn’t too accurate. But it’s shown as far from the road, while Bldg 2 is close to the road, so I don’t think Bldg 2 can be REESE’s house. It looks to me like REESE bought the property and built a new house closer to the boundary and further back from the road. Meanwhile maybe he rented out Bldg 2 — to Jerome, perhaps? But why is it marked B.S.S.? Neither Jerome nor (according to the census) REESE was a blacksmith.
I don’t know. I do know Jerome is several pages away from REESE in the 1865 state census listing — it seems he moved after 1860. And while in 1860 REESE and his wife were sharing a household with three other people (Oscar and Sarah WELLS, and Lydia COOK — described in 1865 as Oscar’s mother, though maybe really Sarah’s; probably no relation to Jerome’s mother Rhoda COOK), in 1865 the REESEs had two children and the others were in a separate nearby household. Maybe when the kids came along they decided the WELLS family should move into the other house and Jerome was evicted?
Aside from the blacksmith thing, all that makes some kind of sense. But kind of speculative. It does seem, though, that the existing Bldg 2 was Jerome’s home for at least a year.