Eighteenth Century Social Security
Last Friday I discussed the records associated with the 1798 U.S. Direct Tax and how they can be used to assist in determining when a particular type of structure was built on a property. This post looks at Land Deeds. Some deeds contain surprising details. Information recorded on Page 143 in York County Deed Book 2D spells-out a stone house on the property. This deed also includes what was in essence an ‘Eighteenth Century Social Security agreement’ for the seller.
The deed made on May 4, 1786 starts on Page 142 of York County Deed Book 2D. It is a deed recording the sale of 207.5 acres of George Dosch’s property in what is now Lower Windsor Township to Michael Dosch. Comparing the neighbors noted in this deed with the neighbors noted in each of the four parcels that Michael Dosch owned in the records of the U.S. Direct Tax of 1798, one can logically conclude that this is the property containing the stone house.
It is unusual for much detail about the dwellings to be listed in a land deed. This deed is the exception; by spelling-out the stone house on the property one simply has hard facts instead of a logical conclusion to assert on which property the stone house was located. I have found that Eighteenth Century Land Deeds tend to have these nice surprises more often than later Land Deeds.
These 207.5 acres were part of a larger property George Dosch purchased November 6, 1773. Tax and genealogical records show that George’s nephew Michael Dosch became the tenant farmer of this part of the property, while George Dosch continued to run his Tavern just across the Susquehanna River near the ferry terminus in Lancaster County.
While a tenant on the property Michael Dosch, and his wife Anna Maria, built a stone house. We know this because a date stone survived after the house was torn down roughly in the late 1930s. During 1999 Paul Padula took a picture of the date stone, the picture did not do justice to what he could read:
“gebaut durch” on first line (meaning “made by” or “built by”); followed by names of Michael Dosch and Anna Maria Dosch, then the date 1782”
The photo clearly shows the year 1782 on the date stone. It is very likely that George Dosch financed the construction of the stone house by Michael & Anna Dosch and considered it his own. I think that you will agree with me after reading a verbatim transcription from a portion of this Land Deed.
These paragraphs are what I term in essence an ‘Eighteenth Century Social Security agreement’ for George Dosch and his wife Catharina.
The said George Dush Reserves the use and Occupation of the Stone house in which he now lives, a small garden, a Stable, and a half acre of Land Adjoining thereto during the Natural life of the said George Dush and Catharina his wife and during the life of the longest liver of them and also the one half of all the Winter grain now growing on the said Tract of Land and the one equal half of all the Summer grain, that now is or shall be put in raised on said Tenenements this Summer and from Thereforth during the Natural lives of the said George Dush and Catharina his Wife, and the Survivor of them the one third of all the Produce of every Kind and description whatsoever (Cattle of all Kinds only excepted) that shall grow or be Raised on the Tenement to hereby granted. And the said George Dush further Reserves Liberty of Pasturing his Cows, Horses and Sheep with the Cattle of the said Michael Dush during all the time aforesaid. And Liberty to raise as many Fowls and Hoggs on the said Tenements as may be Necessary for the said George Dush and Catharina his wife, during all the time aforesaid. And also Seven cords of Firewood, the one half thereof to be Oak, and the other half Hickory to be delivered yearly and every year during the Natural lives of them the said George Dush and Catharina or the Survivor of them by the said Michael Dush his Executors Administrators or Assigns at the House of the said George.
As with most records of this time period, one has to think of how people pronounced their names in the Eighteenth Century, because that is how they were oftentimes recorded. Dosch likely was pronounced Tush or Dush, which is how it was often recorded during this time period. Just when you thought that the ‘Eighteenth Century Social Security agreement’ had concluded, it continues rambling on-and-on-and-on.
And the said George Further reserves as much of the Hay that shall be raised and grow on the said Tenements as shall be Necessary to feed his Horse and Cows, not to exceed the one third of the Quantity, that shall be raised thereon during all the time above mentioned. And the said Michael Dush hereby Covenants to and with the said George Dush his Executors Administrators and Assigns, in manner following that is to Say, that he the Said Michael Dush his Executors Administrators or Assigns, will in a Convenient time after the Executing of these presents, Put the Stable above mentioned in Sufficient repair and keep the said House and Stable in sufficient Tenantable repair during all the Time aforesaid. And also deliver unto the said George Dush his Executors Administrators or Assigns the one equal half of all the Winter grain now growing on the Premises hereby granted and the one half of all other grain, that shall be raised and grow on said Premises until the first of November next, and from thenceforth the one third part of all the Produce of every description whatsoever (live Stock only excepted) during the Natural lives and the Survivor of the said George Dush and Catharina his wife well Cured, Dried and in good order all the grain to be delivered on the Loft of the said George Dush or his Crib Hay in the Stable, Hemp and Tobacco in the Pound fit for marked, and Potatos and Turnips in the Cellar or garden.
So did George Dosch get all the ‘fit for market’ potatoes and turnips that he requested? I can only imagine that he did. Newspaper reports upon his death noted, “He weighted upwards of 400 pounds.”Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts