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  • John Norris Epps Land Records

    Summary of John Norris Epps Land Records

    There are three sources for the following information. First is data on file in the Tennessee State Library and Archives relative to his application for a pension due to severely wounded Civil War Veteran. Second are land records in the Lincoln County Archives. And third court records regarding a law suit of J. C. Epps vs Hugh Epps et al which involved the settlement of their deceased intestate father’s estate.

    1. On the 28th Sept. 1871 John Norris agreed to purchase his deceased grandfather Lawrence Epps’ 87 acres and 45 poles for $1310.09 to be paid in two notes over the following two years. This was in settlement of the J. C. Epps vs Hugh Epps estate lawsuit. He only paid the required cash deposit of $15.50 and his debt was secured by his father J. C. Epps, by a brother Jas Epps, and by brother-in-laws D F Moore and A. P. Clift. The final payment of the debt was due on 28 Sept. 1873. John and his first wife Sarah may not have been financially able to pay off this debt or he may have decided he no longer wanted the land because on 5 Feb.1873 eight months before the final payment was due he transferred the land to James F Renfrow in consideration for him paying off the purchase price of the land.

    2. Lincoln County Land Archives: John bought 15 acres from Alex J. McCollum in civil district 9 for $250. The deed was recorded April 27, 1880.

    3. The Lincoln Co. Archives have the records of John selling 30 acres of land in civil district 9 for $906 to John Tallman. This instrument is dated Dec 19 1893.

    4. John bought 140 acres from C. M. Giles in civil district 6 of Lincoln Co. Tenn. on Dec 19, 1893. I don’t have the cost of this land but in item 4 below we see he still owes $1300 and values the land at $1400 in April of 1894 which is only a few months after its purchase. John probably used some of the money for the sale of land in district 9 to John Tallman to purchase the district 6 land. ( see more detail in section 5.)

    5. April 21, 1894 John says he owns about 100 acres worth $1400 and a lien on it of $1300. (the lien is probably to C. M. Giles who he bought it from.) He also has a mule worth $20 and a cow and calf worth $15.

    6. A Deed of Trust from J. N. Epps and wife mortgaging 140 acres in civil district 6 to Jno. A. Moore for $576.06 bearing date of February 6, 1902 and due 12 months after that date which was still unsatisfied on Oct 15, 1903. (From Lincoln Co. land archives: this 140 acres is the same land conveyed by Andy Moore to C. M. Giles Aug. 8 1888 and then conveyed by C. M. Giles to J. N. Epps on Dec 19, 1893. Apparently John still owed Mr. Giles $576.06 when the amount was due so he mortgaged the 140 acres to the original owner so settle his debt to Mr. Giles.)

    7 July 2 1903 John states that he owns 140 acres worth $1000 with a mortgage on the land of $650. He also owns one sow and 4 pigs, 2 horses, one cow and calf worth about $150. He states his wife owns no property. The Lincoln Co. trustee certified that the land is assessed on the tax books at $1315.

    8. State of Tennessee certified on April 8 1908 that John and his wife are assessed with 140 of land valued at $1260 and with no personal property.

    9. In a letter dated May 4, 1915 John states to the Board of Pension Examiners that he owns 100 acres more or less with an assessed value of $1500 and a real value of $2000.
    He says he receives small support from rent of this farm and no other income. He also says the land is unencumbered by liens or mortgages. He says he has about $450 on hand. At this time only he and his wife are at home. Even though it was stated in item 5 that John had not settled his mortgage for $576.06 by the due date he must have come to terms with Mr. Moore because now he states he states he owns 100 acres more or less unencumbered by debt. Perhaps he let some of the better part of the original 140 acres go to settle this debt.

    10. W. A. Patterson and H. R. Brown testified in letter dated Sept. 7, 1925 that “John owned about 70 acres of hill land upon which he can hardly receive enough rents to pay his taxes and expenses on this land. This land would not sell for as much as $700 were it put on the market today.” It appears that John was in poverty when he died. ( Note by Lawrence W Epps: Now John only owns the poorest half of his original 140 acres. I traveled down Epps Hollow Rd near Bellville as far as a fence which blocked further progress. At this point there is an old log home that had been sided with lumber and it is being used to store hay and junk. The road follows a narrow fertile valley between hills that are still being farmed. I have been informed that this abandoned home is a tenant’s house and John’s home which is gone now was located further down the road. .

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    Published on January 22, 2010 · Filed under: Epps Land;
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