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Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 5/5/2019 at 12:10:53

The Daily Gate City
Keokuk, Iowa
MAY 1, 1910



Mary Jane Hood, Whose Ancestor
Drew Share No. 79 of the
"Half Breed Track"
Died Friday




With Much Interest the Story of Long
Litigation Over Famous Tract
is Recalled by Old


Mary Jane Hood, a descendant of James Muir, the early Lee county settler who drew share No. 79 in the famous land drawing of 1841, died Friday afternoon at the Lee county home. Her death removes the last half-breed Indian of the county and recalls with considerable interest the almost endless litigation which had to do with the half breed track comprising Jefferson, Charleston, Van Buren, Des Moines, Montrose and Jackson (inside and outside) townships.

This half breed Indian, who was probably heir to much of the land now occupied by white settlers and their descendents (descendants?) was not laid to rest in Potter's field but through the generosity of one of the supervisors was given a final resting place in Hickory Grove cemetery. She was fifty-eight years of age and had lived at the county home for twenty-eight years.

Discription (Description?) of Tract.

What was known as the half breed tract of Lee county occupied that portion lying between the Des Moines and Mississippi rivers, and south of a line drawn from a point on the Des Moines river, about one mile below Farmington, east, touching the lower end of Fort Madison to the Mississippi river. It comprises an area of 119,000 acres. The United States in giving the half-breeds the title to these lands as with the other Indian titles retained a reversionary interest, which prevented the Indians from selling them; but in 1835 congress passed an act relinquishing to the half breeds the reversionary interest of the United States, thereby conveying to them a fee simple title, and the right to sell and convey. On account of this the door was open to innumerate frauds that soon followed, as the right to sell was not given to individuals by name, but to the half breeds as a class. The tract was soon beset with difficulties about title, and instances of resistances to legal processes and violent outbreaks of popular fury were not few. In 1854 the decree title was made and when Iowa became a state the court approved it, and in 1854 the United States supreme court sustained it, thus making it indisputable and lasting.

Important Decree.

In 1854 the title to the half breeds lands was considered as settled by a decree of the district court in this year. According to this famous decree the land was divided into 161 shares and these shares were drawn by the half breeds and by parties to whom they had sold it.

James Muir, an anscestor (ancestor?) of the deceased, took part in the drawing and obtained the following property, a large part of which lies in Keokuk; Lot 1, block 5; lots 1, 2, 3, in block 106, lot 1 in block 11; lots 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 in block 202; all of block 209; lot 1, in block 131, Nashville; also fractional portions of sections 8, 17, 7 and 4 in Jefferson township.

From time to time during recent years there has been litigation over half breed track, but courts have always sustained the district court decree of 1841, thus bearing out the great importance of it.


Lee Documents maintained by Sherri Turner.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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