By Jonathan K. T. Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 1995


            The genealogical information in this publication has been gleaned from the first nine deed books of Madison County, Tennessee, covering a total of 5350 pages, with most deeds concerned with the usual buying/receiving (grantee) and selling/giving (grantor) of land, mortgages, gifts; dealing with real and personal estates. An effort has been made to abstract, in paraphrasal form (sometimes quoting directly from deed texts), the strictly genealogical data from among this mass of material. It is suggested to any researcher that he or she use this publication almost as an annotated index to the deeds, a cross-referencing of names and relationships that would be difficult to achieve, broadly, by almost any other method. A serious researcher will want to read the complete recorded deeds of interest to him or her.

            The county court minute books, chancery and circuit courts minute books, for the antebellum period have been well abstracted for genealogical data appearing in volume two of TENNESSEE TIDBITS by Marjorie H. Fischer and Ruth B. Burns (Vista, California, 1988). The present genealogical abstracts from deed books for the first twenty-three years of Madison County’s existence will parallel the other data sources for some of the same period.

            Madison County was created by the state legislature of Tennessee, Nov. 7, 1821 and was actually organized Dec. 17, thereafter. On the following day, the magistrates (members of the county court) elected John T. Porter to serve as the first register of deeds. According to the state's Constitution (1796:Article VI.), the register of deeds was elected by the county court to hold office "during good behaviour", i.e., as long as the magistrates would allow an individual to serve in this capacity. Porter bought the first deed book, 652 pages long, from Walker & Co. in Columbia, Tennessee for $22.50. He served as register for years, entering many deeds in his own handwriting but he delegated that tedious task to several other persons over the years. Soon after the state Constitution of 1834 had been ratified, Porter resigned from office, Nov. 2, 1835 (Madison Co. Court Minute Book 4, page 303); the next day, the county court appointed James D. McClellan to fill this vacancy (IBID., page 309); elected to this office, he served a full four-year term, until early March 1840 when voters elected Thomas W. Gamewell to serve as register (IBID., page 643. McClellan became county court clerk), who served until early March 1844 when the electorate placed Wilie Langford in this office (IBID., vol. 5, page 257), who served as register during the time for which the abstracts made for this publication end.



dec = deceased
exec =executor (male), executrix (female), singular and plural
grdn = guardian
hr/hrs = heir, heirs
POA = power of attorney
rec = recorded
reg = registered
wit/wits = witness, witnesses

          Unless otherwise noted, the land and/or property mentioned in these abstracts was located in Madison County. Land in West Tennessee was then under a scheme using surveyor's districts, ranges, sections, hence the frequent references herein of SD_, R_, S_. To best locate such references on maps, the researcher is referred to MAPS OF MADISON COUNTY, TENNESSEE, HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL, by James H. Hanna (Jackson, 1993), pages 3, 17, available in the Tennessee Room of the Jackson/Madison County Library as well as other libraries.


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