Monday, September 30, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Estate of John Council of Queen Anne's County, Maryland

I've been searching for the parents of my 2x great-grandfather Francis Councill in the Maryland, Register of Wills Books on While I was able to rule out some of the Councills based on their wills and estate records, I hadn't found any mention of Francis yet.

I finally found a possibility in the Queen Anne's County Land Records on the Maryland Land Records site. It involves the estate of a John Council that died without a will and left several minor children, including a son named Francis. John died sometime in the 1820s and by the time of this land record, his wife had also died.

This record is from Book JT 6, Pages 12-14 of MSA CE 143-42. It's tough to read in parts, but I can make out the names involved.

Page 12 of Book JT 6

Queen Anne's County Court, be it remembered that on the twenty-fourth day of January 1849 the following deed was brought to be recorded ?.

? made this twenty-second day of January 1849 between John B. Thomas and James S. Baynard of QA County, MD, Commissioners as hereafter mentioned of the one part and Cornelius Sherwood of Talbot County and state aforesaid of the other part. Whereas hertofore ? of the May term of Queen Anne County Court, in the year 1834, William Council ? his petition to the judges of Queen Anne's County Court, settingh forth and alleging that John Council, his father, died ?  the year 1828? (or 1820. ?) in fee? of a parcel of lands lying and being in Queen Anne's County aforesaid, without will to pass real estate, leaving as his heirs at law the following named children: William, James, Francis, John, and Thomas Council; that he also left a widow who was then dead?, that your petioner was desirous that a division of said land should be had if it could be done to the parties interested?, but in asmuch as James, Francis, John, and Thomas were infants? under the age of twenty-one years, a division could not be had without the sanction of said court, and prayed the court, that a Commission might ? according? to the acquisition of the ? of assembly in such case made and provided. And whereas, on the twelfh day of June, in His year 1834, a Commision was ? by order of said court.

Page 13 contains a lot of legalese about the Land Commission, which I'll skip for now. The important parts are that John B. Thomas, James S. Baynard, James Roe, ? Wright, and Joseph R. Turpin were named to the Commission and Joseph B. Sparks was commissioned to survey and plot the land.

Page 13 of Book JT 6
Page 14 describes the land, the acreage, and amount of the sale. As best I can make out, the Commision granted the right to sell the land at a public auction in 1837 and Cornelius Sherwood was the highest bidder. He paid "ten dollars and fifty cents per acre, making the sum of seven hundred and thirty three dollars and fifty cents for the said one hundred and sixty three acres". The sale was approved and finalized in 1838.

Page 14 of Book JT 6
Finally! They name the land being sold: "...assigns forever, all ? tract, part of a tract or parcel of land hereinafter mentioned and ? described, that is to say, all the land assignable on the surveyed plot and certificate ? as aforesaid, as follows, viz: All that part of a tract of land called "Hawkins Pharsalia". Beginning at a stone..." It then goes into a detailed description of the land, followed by the usual legalese of the sale between Cornelius and William, James, John, Francis, and Thomas Council.

Hawkins Pharsalia was also the name of the land owned by Henry Counsil in the will I transcribed last week. Henry's son John died in 1796 and my Francis was born around 1817. John also had a son named John that inherited part of Hawkins Pharsalia, but he left a will in 1831 that named children John and Eleanor. His estate mentioned a third child named Edward, but there was no mention of minor children in the estate paperwork. John, Eleanor, and Edward sold their land, so it wasn't passed down to their heirs.

Henry's son Joseph had a son named John (didn't they all!), so that might be another possibility. Joseph didn't inherit any of Hawkins Pharsalia from Henry's estate, but it's certainly possible that his son John bought some of it or acquired it from other relatives.

Updating to add an entry from the Queen Anne's County, MD Accounts Book, 1832-1842, volumes 4-6, image 364 for John Councell's estate in 1836. The book is available on This list of distributions names John's wife Ann and the same children listed in the land records. This is looking even more like a match for my Francis!

Queen Anne's County, MD: Accounts Book, 1832-1842

The foregoing balance distributed according to Law will give to each heir and representative as follows:
To Ann Councell, widow of the deceased 1/3 thereof             | 80.31 3/4
To John Councell, son of decd. 1/5 of 2/3 thereof                  | 32.12 3/4
To Thomas Henry Councell, Son of decd. 1/5 of 2/3 thereof  | 32.12 3/4
To James Councell, Son of decd. 1/5 of 2/3 thereof               | 32.12 3/4
To William Councell, Son of decd. 1/5 of 2/3 thereof              | 32.12 3/4
To Francis Councell, Son of decd. 1/5 of 2/3 thereof             | 32.12 3/4         240 95
Signed by EEF Tho C Earle Reg. Wills

Queen Anne's County Orphans Courty, The foregoing balance and distribution
May 10 Anno Domini 1836 was duly examined by the Court and the Same ordered to be recd. filed & recorded. 

So, is this John Council the father of my Francis? It certainly would explain a lot! The dates fit and Francis would have been a minor until around 1838. It's also interesting that there was a Baynard involved in the Land Commission since one possibility for Francis' mother is Ann Baynard. I'm hoping to find more records about the land and estate to figure out where this John fits in with the other Councills.                               

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