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Local History

Campbell's Deed to Springfield

 Springfield Leader, January 29, 1926, page 12.

Probating of Owen Estate recalls interesting history

"The probating of the estate of Mrs. Sarah Rush Campbell Owen who died recently and who was a daughter of John P. Campbell, known as “the father of Springfield”, recalls to abstractors a quit-claim deed made by Mrs. Owen to her daughter, Lucy O. McCammon, on February 15, 1909, to the 50 acres known as the original plat of Springfield and which had been deeded to Greene County by John P. Campbell and wife for a county seat.

“Persons, who say they understand the situation which led to the making of the quit-claim deed and which appears in all the abstracts of title to tracts in the original 50 acres, state that the deed was made following the controversy over the location of the county court house back in 1908 to 1910.  It is said Mrs. Owen contended that the deed made by her father to the county was moved from the original tract the property would revert to the Campbell heirs.  It is said Mrs. Owen thought the court house should remain on the original plat and that when the new court house was built at Boonville and Central she contended the county had violated the specified intentions of Campbell when the land was given to the county.

“Abstractors say they must include this deed in making abstracts to the property within the original tract but that the deed had not been taken seriously, the contention being that it does not in reality affect the titles.

“This deed conveyed quit-claim lots 1 to 86 of the original plat bounded on the west by Campbell Avenue, on the south by the first alley south of Walnut, on the east by the east line of Jefferson Avenue and on the north by a line 66 feet north of the north line of Olive Street, including a portion of the Jordan Creek as a part of the boundary.

“There is no record that Lucy O. McCammon made deeds later to property owners in this tract.

“The records show that John P. Campbell and wife Louisa T. Campbell deeded this 50 acres to Greene County on August 27, 1836, ‘for the proper use and benefit of the county’.  There appears in that deed no specification as to the location of a court house.  For some years the court house occupied the Public Square, which embraces 1 ½ acres; later a court house was built on the west side of the square and north of College Street.  This site was sold several years ago to the Heer Stores Company and a new court house was erected at Boonville and Central.

“The town of Springfield had been laid out under order of a county court dated July 18, 1835 and a sale of town lots carved out of the 50 acres after a square and streets and alleys had been reserved was widely advertised all over the state for August 29, 1836.  The town was platted by Daniel B. Miller as commissioner and he sold many of the lots.  Other commissioners later sold others and it is said that because of the fact that a good many of the original commissioner’s deeds have never been recorded it has been necessary, in order to perfect title to some of the tracts for the court to formally appoint a commissioner to make the record clear and consecutive.  Roy Lawson has been so appointed a number of times in recent years, it is said.

“A curious fact in the abstracts dealing with the original 50 acres is that the town site was deeded to the county by the Campbell’s prior to the date shown for the original entry of the land by Campbell from the government, which bears date of December 1, 1837.  The patent was perfected on September 1, 1848, the patent being signed by James K. Polk as president.  The entry included 160 acres.&rdquo

For more information about early deeds in Springfield and Greene County see
The Greene County Archives and Records Center

Opening the Ozarks: first families in Southwest Missouri 1835-1839 by Marsha Hoffman Rising.

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