Lands of Levi Butler and Jesse Hair near Concord in Gadsden County, Florida

To see the actual deed of sale, CLICK HERE.

Levi Butler was my 3-great grandfather.  I believe that Jesse Hair was a brother of my 2-great grandfather John Hair(e), who married Levi's daughter Eliza E. Butler.

Because the Gadsden County courthouse burned in 1849, so far as I know at this point there is no way to tell when Levi Butler's land (40 acres) was sold by his widow, except that it would seem likely that was before she and her step daughter Eliza E. Butler and step son-in-law John Hair(e) moved to Liberty County, which was sometime between 1850 and 1860.  I know that those dates don't seem to make sense, but the courthouse burned on 12 November 1849 and perhaps the reason John & Eliza did not appear in the 1850 census is that they were then in the process of moving to Liberty County, Levi's land had been sold but Nancy had not left it yet, and Nancy and her children soon followed.  At any rate, I found no record of the sale in Gadsden County records.  From state records we have it that Levi bought the land on 13 October 1836.  The federal land patent date to Levi Butler for this parcel was 28 July 1838.  I don't know if it could take that long after cash payment (this transaction was recorded as a cash sale) for a patent to be forthcoming, but doubt that.  There was apparently a provision allowing payment for federal lands to be deferred for up to two years, and I would guess that the delay of the patent in this case was due to a delay in payment.

Likewise, so far as I know it is not possible to discover when or how Jesse Hair acquired 4 parcels of land (about 260 acres) near Levi Butler's land... except it is clear that Jesse was not an "original owner" of any of that land, that is to say he did not acquire it from the federal government... but rather from someone who did or their successor in title.  All I know for sure is that he sold this land in 1868.  After a tedious review of state land records I find that the following people were the original owners of various parts of the land later acquired by Jesse Hair:

Wiley W. Chester
William Johnson
Robert J. Smallwood and James English (together)
William Barber
Jerdin Barber
Uriah Vickers
Elias Whidden

Of those names, there were Smallwoods and Johnsons later connected by kinship and I have a suspicion that there may have been existing kinship already with the Johnsons at that time, but if there was I have no actual evidence or "proof" of it.  However I do note that Irwin W. Johnson was an owner of land nearby, that an Irwin Johnson later lived near the Haires and Butlers in Liberty County, and that an Irwin Johnson married one of the daughters of John Haire and Eliza E. Butler, Susan Selinia Haire.

I have identified and labeled the parcels owned by Levi (in blue) and Jesse (in red) on a portion of a Gadsden County map, below.  If you will recall your basic U.S. land survey information, each numbered section is 1 mile by 1 mile, so... each 1/4 section is 1/4 mile by 1/4 mile.  Levi owned 1/4 of 1/4 of a section, and Jesse owned 6 1/2 1/4 of 1/4 sections, that is to say nearly 1/2 of a section, total, though it was in two discontiguous parcels scattered across three separate section numbers.  At their closest points Levi and Jesse's lands were about 3/4 of a mile apart and at their farthest about two miles apart, in a straight line.  Presuming that the roads then ran similar to the way they run now, these lands were at least two miles apart by road... and depending on where their houses were, Levi and whoever lived on Jesse's land (so far as I know Jesse lived in Baker County, Georgia) possibly rather more than that.

This is a "modern" map which shows the relative locations of places like Grady County, Georgia, and the town of Havana, Florida, neither of which existed when Levi and Jesse owned this land.

Richard White - Tallahassee, Florida - 11 December 2005

P.S.  Just as a note of historical curiosity... if you will look at the shaded area of the map just below the state line where it is noted that the original owner records are "missing"... that area was never surveyed into the township, range & section system because it was in Georgia until a boundary dispute with Georgia that went all of the way back to Spanish ownership of Florida was not fully settled till 1872, at which time Florida acquired a tiny sliver of what had been Georgia, and was surveyed into Georgia Land Lots.  See:

This page was created by Richard White on 11 December 2005
and was last revised on 6 April 2006.