We found this record a while ago, and have always been a bit puzzled by it, so I'm hoping for some input. The first bit appears that Sarah Penrod may still be living (dated 1807). The second bit dated 1812 seems as if she's died.

I suppose I'm confused as to whether Sarah Penrod is deceased or not in 1807, and if her daughter (Mary Bateman) is the individual responsible for distributing the 8 shares of land, or if Mary is simply selling her land?

Is Christian Rice inheriting land from Sarah Penrod via Mary Bateman?

It's always seemed like an inheritance to me, but never having seen one before, I would love a second opinion here! I do not know who Christian's mother is, only that his father died when he was a child, so it's quite possible this is his mother who had since remarried (although none of his children are named Sarah). Here's the land record:

To all people to whom these present shall come, John Bateman and Mary his wife, of Somerset Township, Somerset County and State of Pennsylvania send greeting, know ye that we the said John Bateman and Mary his wife, for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and twenty dollars, lawful money of the United States to them in hand paid, hath released, remised, and forever quit claims and by these presents doth for themselves and their heirs and assigns remise release and forever quit claim all the estate, right, title, interest, claim and demand whatsoever, of them the said John and Mary of into and out of the one undivided eighth part of a certain, messuage, and tract of land situate in the township County and State first above-mentioned, adjoining on the south of Christian Rice and Michael Walters on the north Jacob Lehmer, Peter Copp and others on the east and west being the messuage, land of plantation whereon Mrs. Sarah Penrod now lives and occupies, with the appurtenances unto Christian Rice, innkeeper, of Milford Township in the County and State aforesaid his heirs and assigns. To have and to hold the said messuage, tract of land and promise above mentioned and described unto him the said Christian Rice, his heirs and assigns to the only proper use and behalf of him the said Christian Rice, his heirs and assigns forever, so that neither he the said John Bateman, nor Mary his wife, nor his or her heirs or assigns nor any other person or persons for him, her or them, or in his, her or them, or in his her or their names or right shall of May by any way or means whatsoever at any time hereafter claim, challenge or demand any estate, right, title, interest, claim or demand of in or to said messuage, lands, and premises, right, title interest, claim, or demand of in or to the said premises or any part or parcel thereof they and every of them shall be forever bound by these presents; and the said John Bateman, and his heirs the said messuage, lands, hereditaments, premises with the appurtenances to the said Christian Rice, his heirs, and assigns against him the said John Bateman and Mary, his wife, and his and her heirs shall and will warrant and forever defend. In witness whereof the said John Bateman and Mary, his wife, have hereunto interchangeably set their hands and affixed their seals the twelfth day of December in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and seven. Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of Sam Selby, Jeane Selby. John Beatman (seal)Mary Beatman seal) Received the 12th day of December 1807 of the within named Christian Rice - One hundred and twenty dollars lawful money of the United States, it being the full consideration money within mentioned.

Witness at signing Sam Selby Jeane Selby

Be it remembered that on the 12 Day of December, John Bateman and Mary, his wife, for and in consideration of the sum of Ten Dollars lawful money of the United States to them in hand Paid by Christian Rice at or before the signing - here of hath this day granted, bargained and sold and by these presents doth grant, bargain and sell unto him the said Christian Rice all the personal estate, goods, and chattels that may be coming or legally their share of distribution of personal estate of Mrs. Sarah Penrod at her decease, the said Mary Bateman being one of the legal representatives at the decease of the said Sarah Penrod. To have and to hold the said distributive share of personal estate unto him the said Christian Rice, his heirs, and assigns forever and to and for no other use, interest, or purpose whatsoever. In Witness where of they have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year above written, signed, sealed and delivered in presents of Sam Selby and Jeane Selby, Somerset County.

John Beatman (seal), Mary Bateman (seal)

Personally came before me Jacob Schnider, Esquire, a Justice of the Peace in and for Somerset County James Clark, who being sworn according to law, doth depose and say that he is well acquainted with the handwriting of Samuel Selby and that to the best of his knowledge the name of Samuel Selby to the above deed is witness of said deceased. Sworn and inscribed Before me 28th October 1812 Jacob Schnider (seal) James Clark

  • Hi, Hammy -- welcome back to G&FH.SE! Your question is a good example of why the Genealogical Proof Standard has as one of its elements a complete and accurate source citation. Can you add to your question a note about the original set of records where this was found? By which I mean, I want to know the context, not what website you might have used to look for this record.
    – Jan Murphy
    Apr 6, 2016 at 0:58
  • Hi Jan, this was not found on a website, but on microfilm. I forgot to copy the citation here, but I do have it recorded. It's a quit claim deed - the citation is: Grantee Index, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, October 28, 1812 - Vol. 6, page 55 (LDS Library in Salt Lake City, Utah) Microfilm
    – Hammy
    Apr 6, 2016 at 8:18
  • I can believe that you found it by means of an index, but this is not an entry from an index. At any rate -- do you understand what a quitclaim deed is for?
    – Jan Murphy
    Apr 6, 2016 at 17:17
  • In general I understand it's about inheriting property. I haven't come across one before and am unsure how exactly they work; would Mary Bateman be distributing the property to all the heirs, or is she an heir herself, and selling her portion of the property? It seemed to me that Christian should be related if he's purchasing it, and his property is next to the Penrod's property. I'm wondering if I should look at other deeds during the same time to see if Mary's distributing property for Sarah, or what's happening.
    – Hammy
    Apr 8, 2016 at 10:29

1 Answer 1


First, Sarah Penrod is indicated as living in 1807 by the property description saying that adjacent to the west of the property being deeded is "the messuage, land of plantation whereon Mrs. Sarah Penrod now lives and occupies".

There is nothing indicating when Sarah Penrod's death may have taken place. The last paragraph, made in 1812, has nothing to do with Sarah; it is about one Samuel Selby, who was a witness to the 1807 deed (by the name "Sam Selby"). It just states that Jacob Schnider recognizes the witness's signature as truly that of Samuel Selby. (Normally the witness himself would swear to his signature and presence at the signing of the deed.)

The document is a "quitclaim" deed instead of a more common kind of deed. This means that the deeding people (here, John and Mary) are not saying or guaranteeing that they actually do have full legal right to the property, but only saying they are transferring that potential right to the buyer. In other words, whatever claim they have on the property is being transferred. The point is that they can't be accused of selling something they don't own, and more importantly perhaps, can't be required to appear in court (years later) to testify that there was indeed such true ownership when they made the deed.

The property being deeded in this case is "one undivided eighth part of" the described piece of land and its buildings, etc. It does not indicate how they (might) have acquired that one-eighth part. It's probable (but not fully certain) that it came through inheritance. If so, it's a bit more likely that Mary was the one that inherited it, as it was very common then that both husband and wife would then be required to consent to the transaction, whereas if inherited by the husband often only the husband would be named in the deed. Since it is for a one-eighth part, if inherited the whole piece of land was bequeathed to a set of people, the most common scenario being that of a father bequeathing it to his seven or eight living children, but such details are not indicated by the document.

The buyer, Christian Rice, is presumably a neighbor since the property adjoins that of some land belonging to Christian Rice, and he may, or may not, be a relative of the sellers. There are many alternatives, but it does seem that the more likely of them is that Christian Rice is a brother or brother-in-law of one of the sellers.

Note that there is a separate deed for John and Mary's share of Sarah's (future) estate, and that Mary is said to be "one of the legal representatives" of Sarah after Sarah's death. I take this to mean that Mary was probably listed in Sarah's then-existing will as one of several people to serve as executor of the will. This should not be taken of indication that Sarah is dead since the contemporary land deed indicates that Sarah is then alive. The selling of this future inheritance as well as the land suggests that John and Mary were planning to move far away.

  • Thank you Robert- excellent interpretation! This gives me a lot of food for thought. I appreciate you taking the time to give such a thorough answer- this is incredibly helpful.
    – Hammy
    Apr 10, 2016 at 11:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.