Historic Blooming Grove Historical SocietyBlooming Grove Township
Blooming Grove Federal Land Patents    
Following the Indian treaties of 1829 and 1833, the federal land surveys of 1833, and the creation of federal land offices at Green Bay and Milwaukee, government lands in Wisconsin south and east of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers were made available for public purchase at the price of $1.25 per acre.

The sales of these lands before the economic panic of 1837 and the depression that followed began slowly, totaling 217,000 acres in 1835. Estimates suggest that 75% of these early sales were made to speculators. By the mid-1840's, however, sales were sustained at around 700,000 acres per year, and Wisconsin had become a favored region for homeseekers in the new Northwest.

The following land patent records for the town of Blooming Grove (until 1850 part of the town of Madison) are compiled from the records in the Federal Bureau of Land Management database.

Patent for Nathaniel W.
Dean, section 12 in the
town of Blooming Grove,
July 1, 1848

dean_section12_200.gif (10584 bytes)

An attempt has been made to retain the information as recorded on the original land patents. Names as originally recorded, however, were not spelled with any more accuracy than the corresponding census records of the period. In many cases, multiple variations on family names and first names are obvious. Other errors also occur. For example, although the document facsimilies usually leave little ambiguity about the property being described, in a few cases patents to a property are credited to more than one individual. An example occurs in section 9 of the town of Alto, Fond du Lac County, in which the E1/2SE is credited to both James Thwing and Hendrick Bruins. In general in these pages these cases have been resolved by citing all of the patentees named.

In a few cases, BLM transcriptions from the original handwritten documents have introduced their own inaccuracies. In the town of Berlin, Green Lake County, GLO records credit Abraham Teegarden with 255.74 acres on application document number 5020. However, a cursory addition of the acreage of the four parcels would place the figure at 360 acres. A close reading of the document facsimile indicates that the text reads "tree hundred and fifty five acres and seventy four hundredths of an acre," not--as apparently read during transcription--"two hundred and fifty."

One exception to presenting these records as recorded in the BLM database is related to the acreage of the property. Patentees were allowed to file for multiple parcels in a single application, and the patent identified only the total acreage for all parcels. The BLM records follow the pattern of the original records. Because patents generally described properties based on a system of sectional fractions (e.g. SW, NENW, E1/2), the actual acreage for each parcel can easily be calculated. Questions do arise, however, when townships do not consist of exactly 36 square miles. In these cases, adjustments for the excess or deficit were apparently made in the westernmost and northernmost "40's" of the township, resulting in 40's that are fractionally larger or smaller than 40 acres. Because this site focuses on individual parcels, an attempt has been made to attribute an acreage value to each parcel. The procedure followed here in cases of fractional acreage is to assign all fractions to western or northern 40's. This is, generally, a reliable approach, but visitors are cautioned to confirm actual acreages through other sources.

It is also important to note that in the town of Blooming Grove some properties were identified not as sectional fractions, but rather as "lot" numbers. Because the acreages of these lots are extremely variable, patents involving more than one lot in a section are recorded here with an even division of the acreage among the lots, resulting in a representative figure but one that is not completely accurate. An additional difficulty in Blooming Grove is that the lake areas are common and subtract from the acreage that would otherwise have been recorded. In most cases, the BLM records accurately record the true amount of land purchased. With two individuals, however, Lucius Lyon and John Nicholas the number of parcels purchased on patent 1506 combined with an appreciable amount of water frontage makes it very difficult to calculate the true amount of acreage for any given section. An attempt has been made to estimate the amount of land purchased in sections with water frontage, but the actual acreage should be confirmed through other sources.

The official records of the land patents in Wisconsin are now available on the Web from the Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States General Land Office at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/. Searches can be conducted by accession number, by patentee name, and by state, county, town, and section. Facsimiles of the original patent documents are available on the site.


Accession Number
An alphanumeric code unique to each document that directly relates a document image to the original hardcopy document. Identifies the state, volume number, and page of the original GLO document. An example of this might be LA3010_.023, which identifies a Louisiana document found in Volume 301, Page 23.
Aliquot Parts
Using the rectangular system of survey, land in each state was divided into Townships containing 6 square miles. Each Township was subdivided into 36 Sections, each containing 640 acres. Each Section was further subdivided into halves and quarters, repeatedly, until the piece of land was accurately described. Without the use of Fractional Sections, Blocks, or Lots (in the case of uneven parcels of land), Aliquot Parts were used to represent the exact subdivision of the section of land. Halves of a Section (or subdivision of it) are represented as N, S, E, and W (such as "the north half of section 5"). Quarters of a Section (or subdivision of it) are represented as NW, SW, NE, and SE (such as "the northwest quarter of section 5"). Sometimes, several Aliquot Parts are required to accurately describe a piece of land. For example, "E SW" denotes the east half of the southwest quarter containing 80acres, and SWNENE" denotes the southwest quarter of the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter containing 10 acres. It is important to remember that the Aliquot Parts shown on the system usually translates into words found on the land document. In general: a section contains 640 acres, a half section contains 320 acres, a quarter section contains 160 acres, a half of a quarter section contains 80 acres, and a quarter of a quarter contains 40 acres, etc.
Document Number
The primary identification number given to the original GLO document. A certificate number, warrant number, serial number, or patent number may be used as the Document Number.
Fractional or odd-shaped tracts of land not generally describable by conventional aliquot parts. Lots are sometimes expressed as "Lot 12" or "Lot 12a." If a lot is included in a description of land, it will be denoted in the aliquot parts as a one- or two-digit number and may include a lower case alphabet. For example, "Lot 12a of the north-west quarter" is denoted as "12aNW."
Signature Date/Issue Date
The confirmation date for the land patent. Due to the tremendous amount of land sold in the 1800's, the General Land Office experienced quite a backlog in the
middle part of the 19th century. It was not unusual for several years to pass between the time an individual purchased land from the local land office and the time a patent for that tract was finally signed by the GLO in Washington, D.C. Curtis Higley in the town of Metomen, Fond du Lac County, is a good example. Although he filed his paperwork on May 29, 1844, the date recorded on the patent is September 1, 1846. Other records indicate that in some cases the signature date is significantly later for a given land parcel than for another even when the document number indicates that it was filed earlier.

Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society