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

(Page 1)


            The genealogical information in this publication has been gleaned from deed books twenty through twenty-seven of Madison County, Tennessee, covering a total of 4765 pages, with most deeds concerned with the usual buying/receiving or grantee deeds and selling/giving or grantor deeds, 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. A serious researcher will use this publication as an annotated index to the deeds for cross-referencing of names and relationships and then turn to the original deeds for complete data.

            Madison County, Tennessee was created by the state legislature on Nov. 7, 1821 and was actually organized Dec. 17, thereafter. There were two registers of deeds for the period of these particular abstracts. Early in March 1860 William G. Cockrill was re-elected to a four-year term as register. Although there was a cessation of county court minutes from June 1862 until August 1865, due to the Civil War, the register appears to have obliged people wanting to register their deeds during this period as there are a number of them bearing registration dates in this interim. In August 1865 Governor William G. Brownlow, radical governor of the state at the time, appointed Cockrill to serve as register of deeds and Cockrill appointed Constantine L. Hamner to serve as his deputy register. In March 1866 Joel R. Chappell was elected register of deeds for a regular term and was serving through the time that these abstracts cease. (Madison County Court Minute Books 9, 61, 730;10, page 161)

            Deed Book 22 was destroyed or stolen during the war. There have been several stories as to what happened to this deed book. Its deeds would have covered from about spring of 1860 until well into 1861-1862. Apparently several deeds were re-registered in Deed Book 23. In July 1868 William E. Butler re-wrote and re-registered a deed he had made to his granddaughter, Martha Butler Chancellor. In the deed he states that because of the confusion in affairs during the Civil War "the book in which the same is supposed to be registered has been lost by the casualties aforesaid." (Deed Book 26, pages 205-206)

            Abbreviations used in this deed abstracts publication:

dec = deceased
exec/execs = executor (male), executrix (female)
grdn = guardian
hr/hrs = heir, heirs
POA = power of attorney
reg = registered
wit/wits = witness, witnesses
yrs = years

            Unless otherwise noted, the land and/or property mentioned in these abstracts were located in Madison County. Land in West Tennessee was for many years under a scheme using surveyor's districts, ranges and sections. Lands west of the meridian line were in surveyor's district ten; lands east of the meridian line were in surveyor's district nine. 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. There are also maps showing the boundaries of the civil districts of Madison County.


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