Chapter Nine

land sale 2This photo and the one below are photo copies of the original
document transferring ownership of one half-acre of land to Orrin Sprague.
Much thanks to the Rock county Courthouse for their assistance!

The Land Sale

The spring of 1840 brought an important event. The land sale. Anyone that had a claim to land needed to go into Milwaukee, pay for their land, and take title to it. This happened in April of that year. Joseph Goodrich, Peter McEwan, and Orrin Sprague made the journey to the city together. I am sure this was not the most comfortable journey for these men. If you will remember, Joseph and Orrin were not exactly the best of friends. Our first introduction to Orrin in the story of Milton can be read here.

A rule had been made that no one person could purchase more than half of any section of land. This put Peter McEwan in a spot because he had claim to 400 acres across several sections and wanted to purchase more. But because of the land section rule, in order to purchase a piece of land he wanted he would have to give up some and chose to pass on land in section 27.

Now this gave Orrin Sprague a wild idea. Being that he was a man to dream big and act fast he thought it would be the perfect opportunity to slip in and get some land for cheap and basically purchase a piece of the town out from under Joseph Goodrich. Are we beginning to see the issue between these two men? Perhaps!

Now Joseph already had claim to land in sections 26 and 27. If he wanted to maintain his claim and his dream to build a community he needed to act faster and beat Orrin at his own game. He hadn’t purchased his land yet and still had 80 acres that he could buy. So he went to Peter and explained what Orrin was up to then asked to purchase his claim in section of 27. Peter agreed on the promise that Joseph would allow Orrin to buy the land his home and business were on. Joseph, being an honorable man agreed and he bought his land. Upon returning to Milton he called on his friend James Pierce to survey out the land for Orrin Sprague and asked him to be careful to not give him a foot more than he was due.

On April 27 in the year of 1840 Joseph Goodrich along with his wife Nancy and Nathan Storrs as witnesses registered the sale of one half-acre of land containing a blacksmith shop, stable and house for the purchase price of one dollar, to Orrin Sprague.

land sale document

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