Handwritten manuscript signed by Governor Thomas Mifflin and Secretary of the Commonwealth A. J. Dallas, and bearing the seal of the Commonwealth. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Patent Deed dated March 15, 1793.
12 ½ x 15 1/4, floated in birds-eye maple frame 22 5/8 x 25 3/8. Some smudging of text.
By this deed, Richard Bell received a parcel of land in what was then Greenwood Township, Cumberland County, but that township has been divided among several current townships in Juniata and Perry Counties.
Named “Hempfield” in the deed, when the 364.93 acre parcel’s Warrant had been obtained from the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council on November 25, 1784 it was granted to Amos Davis. When recorded by Richard Bell on March 13, 1793, it was one of two parcels in the township for which Bell had obtained warrants from Davis.
By way of explanation, in Pennsylvania a purchaser would obtain a “Warrant” as a right to a certain amount of land. Then the actual survey would be done (research shows this parcel was surveyed by Joseph Harris on May 7, 1785), after which the “Patent” would be issued. In some cases, as here, the purchaser would have sold his interest between the issuance of the warrant and that of the patent.
Davis and Bell both appear to be land speculators and not inhabitants of the land they acquired.
Interestingly, this deed reserved “the fifth part of all Gold and Silver Ore for the use of the Commonwealth to be delivered at the pit mouth clear of all charges.”
During the American Revolution, Philadelphia merchant Thomas Mifflin (1744-1800) was an aide to George Washington, rose to the rank of Major General, and served as Quartermaster General of the Continental Army. His military activity resulted in his expulsion from the Quakers. He was president to the Continental Congress in 1783, and. as a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, was one of the signers of that document. Prior to becoming Governor (1790-1799), he served as Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and as President of the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council.
Jamaica-born Alexander James Dallas (1759-1817) was a Philadelphia lawyer who served as Secretary of the Commonwealth under Governors Thomas Mifflin and Thomas McKean. He was a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and, from 1814 to 1816, Secretary of the Treasury under James Madison. His son, George Mifflin Dallas, would serve as Vice-President under James K. Polk.