Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Jack Gatlin Homesteader Part 2

Jack Gatlin homestead testimony 

In the testimony of the homestead claimant, there are a series of questions. These records often have interviews of the homesteader and neighbors providing written oral history and  on a timeline. 

Jack Gatlin at the time of his homestead testimony was 34 years old in July 16, 1887. His post office address was Walker's Bridge. As a native born citizen, he never filed a prior homestead.  He describes the land as ordinary pine land with pine trees  and farming. 

 He made the homestead entry July 1, 1880 and he built a house in March, 1879.  He made improvements with about $100 which is the equivalent of $2,353.57 in 2017.  He states that he has lived nowhere else.
Question #19 Where have you voted since establishing residence on this land, and where did you last vote and how long have you voted there? Ans. I voted in Holmesville & have always voted there. He states that he was only absent from the land to attend church, visit neighbors and the town on business. His family at that time was a wife and six children. 

Jack was asked did he and his family live in the house during the winter after filing with a reply of they did
In questions # 28 to 30   he provided an account of all his material assets which included the house, furniture, farm implements and livestock.   He had a box house was 20 x 27 (540 square feet) with  another box house, several out houses,  smoke house, corn crib for a total value of $610.00 which is the equivalent of $15,185.04 in 2017.

Questions #33-35  Jack planted crops for seven seasons  consisting of corn, cotton and peas. During the first season, he cultivated 8 acres, 9 acres the second season and continued to increase until he had planted 40 acres. I suspect that this detailed inventory was made by the county clerk so they could levy taxes.  

In questions 38- 44  Jack states he pays his taxes in Magnolia, Mississippi and there are no other improvements for tax assessments and he alone made the homestead entry not to benefit  anyone else.   

  I really enjoy reading the homestead records from the Bureau of Land Management.  The testimony provide original account of the the life of the individual.  There is a discrepancy in Jack Gatlin birthday.  He was 34 years old in 1887 making his birth year 1853.  In the 1900 Pike county, Mississippi Federal Census his birth date is recorded as September, 1881. Jack Gatlin  was a productive farmer with a family who utilized his voting franchise and paid taxes. 

--- The Tree Gardener

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