Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Abstract and Title

First, we need to do a big shout out to Joan Hostetler of Heritage Photo. Back on September 13th, Joan conducted a class, "Researching Your Historic Home", at the Irvington Library. One of her tips lead us to find an early abstract of the Horner House.

We had expected the normal types of entries as the property changed hands over the past 190 years. As we began reading through the file, we realized that we had hit the jackpot. I won't bore you with most of the land descriptions or details. If anyone is interested, we'll be adding more documentation on our website - once we finally get it up. Documented below are the first 32 years and they're pretty much as we expected.

The story starts in the Tract Book from July 26, 1821. (History reminder - 1820 was the year Indianapolis was declared the new state capital.) The United States of America deeded to Harvey Pope the North East Quarter of Section 9, Township 15 North, Range 4 East, 160 acres.  The next entry, dated 11/15/1822, was to Hervey Pope, his heirs and assigns. It was for the east 1/2 of the property above equaling 80 acres.

This is a US Land Record showing Hervey Pope's ownership of the east 1/2 of the 160 acres. (

And this is the US Land Record showing ownership of the West 1/2 of the 160 acres. ( Unfortunately, they were both indexed as Henry Pope but when you open the records, you can tell it's Hervey.

On 8/31/1835, Harvey Pope (signed Harey Pope) and Mary Pope deeded to John Williams the entire 160 acres.  Since there are 48 John Williams in Indiana in the 1830 US Census and 98 in the 1840 US Census, we aren't currently trying to identify the Horner House's John Williams. Some day, we'll have to try to figure out who he is and if John Williams is any relationship to Ron's family. Ron's Williams line has been in Indiana since before 1850. We just haven't figured out how long yet.

Then 2 years later, in 1842, part of the property changes hands again when John Williams & Adah Williams deeded to John Hannah (or Horner) 70 acres. The abstract shows that John Hannah (or possibly Horner) purchased but John Horner sold the property. There are too many John Hannah's & Horner's in the 1840 & 50 Census to be able to tell which one might be correct. We many never know for sure who this owner is but we'll keep it on the list of things for further research- some day.

In May 1853, John Horner deeds to Samuel Shank, the full 70 acres.  Per the next transaction, we know that this Samuel Shank is married to Sarah Shank. Samuel & Sarah are living in Warren Township, Marion County, IN in the 1850 Census with their children and his father. By 1860, however, Samuel & Sarah Shank are no longer in Marion County in the US Census.

Samuel Shank and Sarah Shank sell 25-3/4 acres to William R Shimer in August 1853. The Shimer family owned a lot of land in the vicinity and had a major impact on early Irvington. The next several transactions lead to some amazing discoveries.

To Be Continued...

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