Deeds are known by genealogists as primary documents because they were created at the time an event occurred, in other words when the land was sold. They are considered highly accurate and often are used to confirm family stories or histories written years after the events.
For example: Locations entered at Vincennes, under the act of Congress of the 3rd of March, 1807:
G W Johnson, in the right of the heirs of Jacob Noy, 200 acres. “On behalf and as a friend to the heirs of Jacob Noy, I locate 200 acres of land on the northwest side of the river Wabash, about 4 miles above the Little Village, including an improvement formerly made by William Hogue and beginning on the river Wabash.”
The Tri-County History written in 1883 states that Russellville occupies the site of an Indian town called Little Village. This primary document now independently confirms the name of the Indian village and also notes that a settler by the name of William Hogue was already living on the land in 1807. “Improvement” typically meant a structure.
According to this History, the first settlement in Russell township were made at Russellville, about the year 1809-’10…The discovery of this land deed now puts that date even earlier. The History continues by saying that about 1809 or 1810 or shortly after came …William Hogue… immigrated from Kentucky and had one son Jeremiah. Hogue settled on the NW1/4 of section 28 T5R10 and subsequently moved to a point opposite Terre Haute, and there died. The deed tells us that Wm Hogue was here even earlier.
Similarly Abraham F Snapp, under the right of John Culbertson, took 100 acres on the north side of the Wabash adjoining Henry Kuyendale on the south and the Wabash on the east per a transaction recorded sometime between July 12 and Sept 30, 1813. James Baird under the right of the heirs of Ezekiel Johnson took 50 acres, being part of 400 acres granted to said heirs on the west side of the location made by John Harbin, under right of John Hamelin Jr on the northwest side of the Wabash, in T5R10, also in 1813. The Tri-County history sets Baird's date of arrival at 1814 and says he settled on NW 1/4 of Sec 18. He was shot by Indians while plowing. ( page 270)
The researchers often find interesting descriptions of land in the old deeds.
Recorded in the Lawrence County Courthouse on Nov 3, 1821, Barnes Reaves/Reeves of Knox Co sold to James Timms for $220- 92 acres and 40 perches about 3 miles above Vincennes; said parcel of land Barnes Reeves claimed in right of his deceased father and brother Amos and Abner. This 1821 deed was witnessed by A F Snapp and Manasseh Reeves.
Page 26 March 12 1822 Manassa Reeves of Knox County sold for $276.20 to James Timms of Knox County 92 acres and 11 ½ poles of land, part of the 394 acres and 46 poles estate of Abner Reeves deceased , Manassa being one of the heirs…description being in degrees and landmarks starting in the lower corner of Abm F Snapps’ land on the NW side of the Wabash then meandering down the Wabash river south to a stump near a black hickory bush near the river on to a post near a sweet gum tree thence to a post in Snapps’ line in a prairie allowed to the heirs of Andrew Pelletur (handwritten name difficult to read) for the use of a sugar camp. The second tract starting at a large sycamore tree in the upper corner of Abraham Snapps land on the Wabash river up the meanders of the river to a large forked walnut tree about 20 perches above the lower point of an island in the river to a post near a black walnut tree to another post in Snapps boundary land. Witnessed by James Ryle and Barnes Reeves.