Isaac Jones homestead (1837-1851) Calloway County, KY

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Death & Estate Of Isaac Jones (1851)

Unfortunately, the exact date that Isaac Jones passed from this life still remains unknown. What is known is that his death did occur sometime between his information being taken for the 1850 Census on August 5, 1850 and a "quit claim deed" involving his wife Kesiah dated March 22, 1851. A quitclaim deed is used in the situation where an individual is passing their interest in a piece of property on to another person, and in this instance, involved Kesiah selling her lifetime interest in the property that Isaac had left to her through the earlier deed involving Joshua Douglas Jones and John Jeffrey dated July 3,1849. The information contained in this document is of such great importance that it merits quotation in full:

"Know all men by these presents that I Kiziah Jones in consideration of four hundred dollars to me in hand paid by John Jeffrey & Wm. Hardy has bargained & sold a quit claim deed by these presents to John Jeffrey & Wm. Hardy their heirs and assigns for the life time estate in and to the land I am now living on which was left me by my husband agreeable to an agreement made between me and the heirs or claimants of Isaac Jones Decd. now recorded in Murray and him the said Isaac Jones Decd. & give them Wm. Hardy & John Jeffrey my claim in & to the land left to me during my life it being the land where said Isaac Jones lived and died on in Calloway County on the waters of Johnathan(sic) or near said waters being 160 acres with all and singular the appurtinances to Jeffrey & Hardy their heirs & assigns I give to them my lifetime estate to the said land to witt the North West quarter of Section 16 Township 3 Range 5 East containing 160 acres more or less. Given under my hand and seal this 22d March 1851."

The first thing that should stand out upon reading this document is that the township and range coordinates do not match up with the coordinates given in the earlier deed that originally set the land aside for Kesiah. In that deed they are recorded as "the North West quarter of Section 13 Township 3 Range 5 East" which corresponds with an actual known land purchase made by Isaac. The problem with the coordinates given in the quitclaim deed is that no record exists of Isaac ever having owned this particular piece of land, leaving me to believe that the information is most likely incorrect. These same incorrect land coordinates are repeated in a deed dated November 7, 1851 between John Jeffrey, William Hardy, and James D. Culver who was a commissioner appointed by the circuit court to represent the heirs of Isaac Jones. In the past, researchers have mistakenly referred to this document as "Isaac's will" when it is actually only part of his estate being handled in probate through the circuit court. This is evident in the opening line of the document which states:

"Pursuant to a decree rendered at the May term 1851 of the Calloway circuit court and in accordance with said decree I the commissioner appointed to advertise and sell the land and negro named in said decree, and, to convey the legal title to the purchasers now belonging to the heirs of Isaac Jones decd. namely John Jeffrey & wife Jane Jeffrey, William Hardy & wife Sarah Hardy, J. D. Jones, Burrel Jones, Thomas Jones and Wiley Jones, Mary Whitlock, John Whitlock, William Jeffrey, Marthey A. Jeffrey, John D. Jeffrey, Malvina Jeffrey all of which are heirs at law of Isaac Jones Decd."

The specific usage in the document of the term "heirs at law" would imply that Isaac had died intestate and not having left a will, although this document is certainly a worthy substitute in regards to the information it contains. The deed involves John Jeffrey and William Hardy buying out the collective interest held by Isaac's other legal heirs in two pieces of  land and Isaac's old female slave Delph for the sum of $320. The first section of land mentioned was half of the original 160 acre purchase that Isaac had made from Radford C. Duvall and Adaline Duvall, Nathaniel P. Jones, and John Jones in 1842, while the second section was the land mentioned earlier with the incorrect coordinates in the quitclaim deed. The whole purpose and intention behind the earlier quitclaim deed becomes even more mysterious, when in describing the second section of land, the deed states that "it is further understood that the widow of Isaac Jones has the last quarter section during her natural life." It could very well be that the sole purpose of the quitclaim deed was merely to provide Kesiah with a sizeable amount of money to survive on while being allowed to continue living on her and Isaac's farm. Unfortunately, after being mentioned in this last 1851 deed, Kesiah disappears into history taking the details of her later life with her.

The second important point at issue that finds it's origin in these two documents involves the identity of William Hardy and his connection to Isaac Jones. Past researchers have speculated that the inclusion of William and Sarah Hardy in the list of heirs on the 1851 deed was an apparent indicator of familial relationship. While it may appear this way on the surface, when this document is examined together with the 1851 quitclaim deed involving Kesiah, the term "heirs at law" and it's usage once again comes into play. By legal definition, an heir at law is any individual who has a legal claim of inheritance to property left by a person who died intestate. Having purchased the quitclaim deed from Kesiah in partnership with John Jeffrey, this would qualify William Hardy as an heir at law to Isaac in regards to that piece of land specifically, regardless of whether he was related to Isaac or not. If the November 7, 1851 deed had not involved that particular piece of land, William and Sarah Hardy would not even have been mentioned in the list of heirs. Any sort of familial connection between William and Sarah Hardy and Isaac Jones becomes even less likely when taking into account later documents listing Isaac's heirs that fail to make any mention of either of them.

Of the other twelve individuals who are listed on the deed as heirs to Isaac Jones, only five of them are actual children of Isaac, these being Jane Jeffrey, J. D. Jones, Burrel Jones, Thomas Jones, and Wiley Jones. The remainder are children of Isaac's daughters Alvina and Lydia who had both died prior to 1850. Alvina had passed away sometime around September of 1848 and John Jeffrey had become the guardian of her youngest children Mary and John Whitlock, as well as, taking on the task of becoming administrator to her estate. It's unclear exactly when Isaac's daughter Lydia died, although her death most likely occurred prior to her husband William Jeffrey getting remarried in McCracken County, Kentucky on May 28, 1850 to a woman named Elizabeth M. King. Lydia's share of Isaac's estate went to her four children who are named in the 1851 deed: William Jeffrey, Marthey A. Jeffrey, John P.Jeffrey, and Malvina Jeffrey.

Apart from this 1851 deed, it remains unknown how the rest of Isaac's estate was divided amongst his heirs. The Calloway County circuit court was still trying to resolve various issues and lawsuits involving Isaac's estate as late as 1858. The first of these lawsuits involved the heirs of Isaac Jones being sued by an individual named William S. Hatcher in 1857. This lawsuit is of particular interest because it reveals yet another land transaction that Isaac had been involved with that surprisingly fails to have a corresponding deed. Hatcher was the assign to one of Isaac's former neighbors named Thomas Holt who had at some point purchased 80 acres from Isaac consisting of the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 14, Township 3, Range 5 east. This was the piece of land that Isaac had purchased from Chapman Miller back on September 14, 1837 and the basis for the lawsuit was simply that William Hatcher was requesting acknowledgement from the heirs of Isaac Jones that Thomas Holt had paid for the land in full which was duly granted.

The second lawsuit also arose from a previous land purchase that Isaac had made which appears to also be undocumented and lacking an existing deed. A deed most certainly existed at some point in time because it is recorded that the "said deed was acknowledged in court on the 25th day of March 1839." This purchase involved Isaac buying 160 acres of land that lay in the northwest quarter of Section 13, Township 1, Range 5 east from an individual named William Vance. The basis of the ensuing lawsuit in 1858 was that the land had been incorrectly recorded on the original deed as being in the northwest quarter when it was actually in the northeast quarter. The heirs of Isaac Jones were suing the descendants of William Vance simply to get them to acknowledge this error and have it corrected, which they successfully accomplished. What is most interesting about this particular piece of land is that it was located in the far southern section of the county just to the northeast of the present day community of New Providence. It seems strange that Isaac would purchase this single piece of land that was located so far from where he had made the bulk of his other land purchases in the county. While most likely being just an investment, it would seem that this purchase and the undocumented sale of the other discussed before it, would certainly leave the window of  possibility open for other unknown land transactions to exist.

1851 Calloway County, KY Deed~Kiziah Jones to John Jeffrey & William Hardy (quitclaim deed)

1851 Calloway County, KY Deed~James D. Culver to John Jeffrey & William Hardy

1851 Calloway County, KY Tax List

1852 Calloway County, KY Tax List

1857 Calloway County, KY Court Document~William S. Hatcher Vs. The Heirs of Isaac Jones

1858 Calloway County, KY Court Document~The Heirs of Isaac Jones Vs. The Heirs of William T. Vance

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