Interpreting 1829 Michael Korn, Sr. Estate Map

Michael Korn, Sr. Family Page.

Description of the first map that reproduced below
The first map reproduced below is a photo negative of pages 32 and 33 of the 1949 book "The Genealogy of Michael Korns, Sr. of Somerset County Pennsylvania " by Dr. Charles Byron Korns. The map is printed upside-down from what it is in the Korns book, so that north is oriented at the top. This map is an 1829 draught of two tracts of land in Southampton Township, Somerset County from the estate of Michael Korns, Sr., who died November 5, 1824. Pages 63 and 67 of the Korns book indicate that Tract no. 1 contained 188 acres.

Copies of this map that have previously been published over the internet have had two problems. First of all they have been oriented with North to the bottom of the page, as it was oriented in Dr. Korn's genealogy book. Secondly, they have been scans, and therefore omit detail from the middle of the map (due to book page curvature) pertaining to land tract no. 2.

The hand-written caption on the map reads "The above draught represents Michael Korns real Estate as the same was divided and appraised by an inquest to make partition or valuation held by Joseph Imhoff high sheriff of Somerset County on the 20th day of April 1829 the lines of tract No. 1 were partly taken from the deed and partly by actual survey those of tract No. 2 by actual survey by John Witt".

In the Korns Genealogy book, where the map is printed "upside-down", one's eye is naturally drawn to the name of Michael Korn in the 178 acre tract No. 1. One is less likely to note that tract No. 2 with 96 acres also belonged to Michael Korn, as did the Henry Hoyman tract to the south, which is annotated "this tract was originally a part of No. 1, as represented by the ____ heirs". Also note a tract to the north that belonged to Daniel Korn in 1829.

What has long puzzled me is where these tracts are located, and how they relate to the house photo on page 30 of the Korns book that is captioned "Original Farm home of Michael Korns, Sr., 1795, at (sic) it appears in 1949". After long consideration, I have figured it where these tracts are located, and I conclude that the house that is shown on page 30 of the Korns book was NOT located on either tract 1 or tract 2 of the 1829 estate map. Instead, the house was located on the area of the estate map that is labeled "Jacob Cook". For a detailed 1939 aerial photo of the area covered by the estate map, with property boundaries shown, click here.

1829 Michael Korns, Sr. Estate map

Description of the second map that is reproduced below
The second map shown below is a "tiled" copy of four 2008 Somerset County land maps, meaning four maps have been taped together for form a larger map. I have colored and labeled portions of this map to show where various tracts of land are located. The solid red area labeled "1" and the solid yellow area labeled "2" correspond to tracts 1 and 2 on the 1829 estate map. Using the 96 acre tract to establish map scale, I have used a CAD system to establish that the red area labeled 1 contains 187 acres. This is close enough (less than 1% difference) to the 188 acre tract no 1 description (from pages 63 and 67 of the the Korns book) to establish that the boundaries of the red area are correct.

As can be determined from the second map, tracts 1 and 2 were at some point "re-platted" to form one large tract, and some lots have been sold from what was formerly tract 1. What is now known as the "Cook Cemetery" (where Michael Korns, Sr. is buried) is identified by label "11", and was originally part of tract 1. In my lifetime, the farm surrounding the Cook Cemetery has been called the Cook Place. According to the Korns book, Tracts 1 and 2 were sold to Jacob Cook by Michael Korns, Sr's heirs. In other words, Michael Korn and his wife were buried at what we now know as the "Cook Cemetery" well before the surrounding property was sold to Jacob Cook.

The Daniel Korns farm that is shown on the 1829 estate map corresponds to the blue area labeled "3" on the second map. During my lifetime, this farm was owned by Earl Korns, then by Lester Korns, and at present I think it is owned one or more of Lester's descendants. How large this tract was when owned by Daniel Korns, Sr. is unknown. For a zoomable Google aerial photo of where the farm is located, click here.

As for the house shown on page 30 of the Korns book, I am personally familiar with where it was located because I could see if from the dairy farm of my Grandfather Allen Lester Korns. The farm pictured on page 30 of the Korns book was located in the green tract that is labeled "4" on the second map below, and the house was located approximately where the label "4" was added to the map. This farm, known locally as the Blubaugh place, is labeled "Jacob Cook" on the 1829 estate map. Since Jacob Cook bought several properties from Michael Korns, this new information does not necessarily mean that the house shown on page 30 of the Korns book did not originally belong to Michael Korns. Indeed, it does not even necessarily mean that the page 30 photo caption is wrong. The house and farm shown on page 30 of the Korns book may very well have been a part of the property that Michael Korn purchased from John Tomlinson in 1796, lived on, and then later sold to Jacob Cook.

One compelling fact is that in 1804 the Michael Korn house in Southampton Township was declared by a Pennsylvania law to be an election site. It seems that this house would have been on the tract bought from Tomlinson, because that is the only property we know of that Michael Korn owned in Southampton Township at the time.

Real Estate Time line (from the Korns book):

  • August 23, 1796: Michael and Jacob Korn purchase 200 acres from John Tomlinson "on the headwaters of Gladwin and Denning' run" (probably meaning Gladdens and Jennings run).
  • December 23, 1805: Michael Korn, Sr. and Christian Hoyman purchase 356 acres in Southampton Township called "rich bottom" on a branch of Jennings run.
  • March 3, 1808: Michael Korn, Sr. purchases 60 acres in Southampton Township from Samuel Riddle.
  • February 22, 1810: Michael Korn and Christian Hoyman partition the "rich bottom" tract, and the author of the Korns book believed that this is the 178 tract that Michael Korn retained until his death.
  • September 4, 1814: Michael Korns purchases 61 acres in Southampton Township from Samuel Riddle adjoining H. Hoyman, & Beals, and in an 1818 deed recorded February 3 , 1827, 189 acres.
  • May 22, 1815: Michael Korn, Sr. purchases 320 acres in Southampton township from Samuel Riddle, and patents it on November 14, 1816. Information near the bottom of this page (provided by K. Davis) proves that at least part of the 1829 tract no. 1 (shown on the first map above) was part of this 320 acre tract.
  • May 3, 1817: Michael Korns sells 189 acres to Jacob Cook, this tract containing 102-1/2 acres from the 320 acre plot that was purchased from Samuel Riddle.
  • September 2, 1830: Michael Korns, Jr. and Henry Hoyman sell the 1829 estate tracts 1 & 2 to Jacob Cook; click here to see a transcript of the deed.

    If the 200 acres purchased from John Tomlinson in 1796 originally included what is now known as the Blubaugh place, and also extended southward from the Blubaugh place, it could be said to lie on the both the headwaters of Gladdens run and the headwaters of Jennings run. This is because the ridge that the present day Long Lane runs along would be a divider between northward and southward drainage. Maybe someday we can figure out the exact location of the land purchased from John Tomlinson, and either prove or disprove that it included what is now known as the Blubaugh place.

    Jacob Cook purchases various properties from the Korns Heirs
    The USGenWeb Archives biography "Cook Origins", by Richard Nellans, indicates that before 1830 Jacob Cook obtained a house and barn on 190 acres from the Korns family, and had a distillery in the barn. It was worded in a way that indicates that the house and barn were there at the time of the purchase. The source of this information would be interesting to find; it may be the November, 1996 issue of "The Laurel Messenger". The article goes on to say that Jacob Cook later sold the farm to his son Dennis, and references the farm as a "substantial property holding". From page 40 of the Korns book, it appears that Michael Korns sold a 189 acre tract to Jacob Cook by a deed dated 5/3/1817 and recorded 10/20/1817 in Somerset County deed book Volume 9 page 327. I don't know if this sale pertains to what we know as the Blubaugh place or not.

    In regard to Tracts 1 and 2, page 42 of the Korns book states "Michael Korn, jr & Henry Hoyman, Administrators of Michael Korn, sr decd. conveyed two tracts of land to Jacob Cook by their deed dated 9/2/1830-recorded 9/2/1830 in Volume 12 page 120, for a consideration of $4888.15.", and also quotes a record from the 1830 session of the Somerset County Orphan's Court as follows "To the order of Court of April Term 1830 ordering the Sale of the real estate of the Said decd to be made on the first Monday of June 1830 The Administrators return that in pursuance of the same after due and publick notice they did expose the real estate of the said Michael Korns decd. to sale and sold the same to Jacob Cook as follows, viz The home place at $3503.01 three thousand five hundred and three dollars and one cent and the other tract called Glases (?) plan to the said Jacob Cook for $1385.14 one thousand three hundred and eighty-five dollars and fourteen cents that being in both cases the highest sum bidden and he the highest bidder".

    Other items of interest on the second map (reproduced below)
    On the 1829 estate map, the area labeled "Henry Heyman This land was originally a part of No. 1..." corresponds generally to the green area labled "5" on the second map below. Other items of interest that are labeled on the second map below are:

    6. The Daniel Korns, Jr. farm that my Grandfather Allen Lester Korns owned is labeled "6".

    7. The farm where the Lepley stone house was located is labeled "7", and the stone house was located roughly where the "X" has been added to the map.

    8. The Alonzo Lepley farm, where the Lepley gunsmithing tools and gun parts were found, is labeled "8".

    9. The William & Christina Korns farm is labeled "9" on the map. The cabin was located roughly where the "X" has been added to the map.

    10. I had correspondence with a man who grew up on the farm that is labeled "10", and he said the deed to the farm was from a Lepley. I suspect that the farms labeled 7, 8 and 10 were all part of one larger farm at one time.

    11. The Cook Cemetery is labeled "11". This cemetery was part of the tract 1 that is shown on the 1829 Michael Korns estate map.

    12. The road labeled "12" corresponds to "Road to Berlin" on the 1829 estate map, and it is presently known as Grandview Drive"..

    13. The road that is labeled "13" corresponds to "Road to Cumberland" on 1829 estate map, and is presently known as the "East Mineral Street Extension".

    14. The road that is labeled "14" is currently known as "Rizer Road". Click here to see a 1915 map that shows that the Rizer Road was a through road in 1915.

    S. The area that is labeled "S" was a water-powered sawmill site that is also marked on the 1876 map that is included below.

    Michael Korns, Sr. tracts 1 & 2, shown on 2008 plat map.

    Description of the third map (reproduced below)
    The third map below is from the 1876 Beers Atlas of Somerset County, PA. I have outlined the general area of Michael Korn's 1829 estate tract 1 with red lines. Other items of interest on the third map are numbered in red as follows:

    1. The Cook Cemetery is labeled "1" for orientation purposes.

    2. The house from page 30 of the Korns book is labled "2", and the map labels this house "D. Cook". This was evidently the home of Jacob Cook's son Dennis in 1876. According to the aforementioned "Cook Origins", Dennis Cook was still living, and was a County Commissioner in 1878 (i.e. around the time the third map was made). As mentioned above, "Cook Origins" says that Jacob Cook bought a house and barn on 190 acres from the Korns family prior to 1830, and then later sold the place to his son Dennis, "Cook". When this information is interpreted in conjunction with the third map, it suggests that what we know as the Blubaugh place is the farm (or a part of the farm) that Jacob Cook bought from the Korns family.

    3. The only house on Michael Korn's estate Tract 1 is labeled "3". This is the spot that I understood Lester Korns to mean when he told me that Dan Korns, Jr. was born in a house that was located just before the Cook Cemetery. According to tombstone information provided in the book "Cemeteries of Somerset Co.", Dan Korns, Jr. would have been born in 1820, before the death of his grandfather Michael Korn, Sr. If, as the old estate records quoted in the Korns book seem to indicate, tract 1 of the 1829 estate map was the home place of Michael Korn, Sr. at the time of his death, then he was likely living in the house labeled "3" on the 1876 map below. Click here to see a photo of that house.

    4. The general area of Michael Korn's estate Tract 2 is labeled 4. Note that the streams shown in this area and the area toward the D. Cook house could be both considered to be on the head waters of Gladden's run. The property that Michael and Jacob Korn bought from John Tomlinson in 1796 was said to be on the head waters of Gladdens run, so the property labled "Jacob Cook" on the 1829 Korns estate map could conceivably be part of the original 1796 Korns tract.

    Cook and Korns Districts from old atlas.

    Description of the fourth map below
    The fourth map below is from the 1841 "Report of a survey and exploration of the coal and ore lands belonging to the Allegheny Coal Company: in Somerset County, Pennsylvania; accompanied by maps, profiles and sections" by Walter Rogers Johnson. Click here to see a non-annotaed version of the map. Click here to see a high resolution, PDF of the entire map as it is in the book, rotated with the Mason-Dixon line inclined by about 45 degrees. Click here to see a 3765KB PDF copy of the complete 1841 report--it will take awhile to download due to its size.

    The 1841 map shows the locations of the Hoyman tract, the Hardin tract, the Daniel Korns farm, and the Michael Korns, Sr. 1787 farm that has been identified from the Deakins Survey. The Daniel Korns farm and the Hoyman tract match the locations shown on the 1829 draft of the Michael Korns, Sr. farm in map 1 above. Based on the Hardin, Hoyman, and D. Korns properties, one can clearly make out part of the outline of the distinctively-shaped Tract No. 1 from the 1829 draft of the Michael Korns, Sr. farm. Based on the location indicated for the "turnpike", the 1841 map proves that Tract No. 1 of the 1829 draft did not extend to what is now Highway 160.

    The property that is marked "D. Korns" on the 1841 map would have been that of Daniel Korns, Sr. (son of Michael Korns, Sr.). Daniel Korns, Jr. would have only been 21 years old in 1841. (The 1840 Southampton Township census suggests, but doesn't prove, that Daniel Korns, Jr. was living with his father in 1840.)

    The "TURNPIKE" that is illustrated on the 1841 map is the "Somerset and Cumberland Turnpike", which later became the "Plank Road". Click here to see a larger version of the map.

    Annotated 1841 Johnson map

    Description of the fifth map (reproduced below)

    The land warrant map that follows below was provided by K. Davis. From what K. Davis wrote when she sent the map, we can deduce that:

  • At least some of the 1829 Michael Korn tract no. 1 on the first map above was part of the 320 acre tract that Michael Korn purchased from Samuel Riddle.
  • The 402 acre Catherine Wyman tract on this map is the 402 acre Hoyman tract on the 1841 map above.
  • The 161 acre Hardin tract on the 1841 map above is very likely near or part of the tract that Isaac Hardin bought from Attorney John F. Mifflin.

    When she sent the map below, K. Davis wrote: "You'll see...the Catherine Wyman Tract of 402 acres at the left of this earlier map. Just to the east of Catherine Wyman's you see the tract of Joseph Rutlidge and immediately below is the tract of Patrick Burk.

    I point out the Rutlidge and Burk tracts because there is an indenture of 2 Sep 1813 wherein Isaac Harden purchased, for $429.27, 165 1/2 acres from John F. Mifflin, Esq of the city of Philadelphia (attorney for John Anderson of the burough and county of Bedford) "the same being part of two tracts which were originally surveyed upon application entered in the land office in the names of Patrick Burk and Ralph Rutlidge dated the twenty second of August 1767".

    The deed was recorded 16 Jan 1818 in Deed Book 9, pg. 350, 351 & 352[.]".

    In summary, I believe that the above proves that the house shown on page 30 of the Korns book was in fact not located on tracts 1 and 2 of the 1829 estate map, and therefore was not part of the property that Michael Korn owned at the time of his death, and was not the "Mantion place". The inquisition of Sherriff Imhoff on pages 67 and 68 of the Korns book clearly indicates that "the Late Dwellinghouse of Michl. Korns, decd. now occuppied by Michl. Korns Jr." was at that time "Called the Mantion place now occupied by Michael Korns Jr containing one hundred & eighty eight acres as by Annexed Diagrim marked No 1" was on tract 1 of the 1829 estate document. The house shown on page 30 of the Korns book was on property that was owned by Jacob Cook in 1829.

    We know of three sales of property from Michael Korn and his estate to Jacob Cook. To see analysis which proves that at least part of this tract and at least part of the Blubaugh place were part of Michael Korn's 320 acre tract 2491 that was originally surveyed for Comley Randel,
    click here. For additional proof that Jacob Cook bought the Blubaugh place from Michael Korn in 1817, we need to obtain the deed from Somerset County Deed book volume 9, page 327 for the 1817 tract. Ideally, we would draw up the metes and bounds of the property, and prove that it matches at elast a portion of the boundary of the present-day Blubaugh place.

    L. Dietle
    November 27, 2008
    Updated December, 2009

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