LAND TRANSACTIONS

To be a land owner was no doubt a primary goal of Abel Beals.  It was a sign of wealth and measure of prestige in the community.  While this is still true today, it was much more important to Abel in his time when farming was almost the only occupation that would provide a living for himself and his family. 

The first recorded land transaction involving Abel Beals was a purchase from his brother-in-law, Zarah Kent on November 1, 1780.  The transaction was not recorded until June 19, 1783 but such a delay was not uncommon back then.  It involved two pieces of land described as follows:

.... two pieces of land lying in Annapolis aforesaid one piece being Wood Lott No 38 in the first division of lotts in the upper part of said township & is bound northerly on Annapolis River, Westerly on lott No 37, easterly on lott 39, & southerly on undivided land, another piece lying in the marsh now called cow & calf marsh cont'g ten acres more or less bounded northwesterly on Annapolis River, easterly partly on the creek call'd Slough Creek & partly on David Bent land & southerly on land of Phinias Lovett Esq. ....

We don't know the location of lot 38 but the fact it was in "the first division" indicates it was not near Lawrencetown.  The description also does not tell us the size of lot 38.  Surprising there is no record of Abel ever disposing of this piece of land.  The price paid for the two lots was 25 pounds.  Abel made a tidy profit when he sold the ten acre "cow & calf" lot on April 5, 1787 to James Delancey for 48 pounds. 

The next transaction involved Abel Beals and Israel Longley together when, on June 10, 1787, they sold 500 acres to Joseph Bass for 31 pounds.  When he died on December 29, 1784, Isaac Kent willed this piece of land to his two daughters Abigail (wife of Abel) and Anna (wife of Israel).  It is interesting to note that, although the land belonged to the wives, it is the husbands who did the selling.  Apparently the feminist movement had not yet gotten under way.  At least the deal was done "with the free consent of our wives" and the ladies got to sign the document along with their husbands.  To make it a family affair the witnesses were Arod and Zarah Kent.  The land was described as part of lot 37 with the northerly boundary line of 58 rods (319 yds) on the Annapolis River.  It was in the "second division" of the township and was therefore somewhat east of the Lawrencetown area. 

On December 16, 1788, Abel bought a piece of land from Phinias Lovett.  The transaction was recorded on March 23, 1789 and the description of the land is as follows:

A certain tract of land situated & lying in the Township of Annapolis abovesaid being lott twenty five & and part of lott twenty six in the second division beginning at Annapolis River at the northerly corner of the church lott near the mouth of a brook called Gronr [?] brook thence running south ten degrees east about four miles & a half till it comes within half a mile of the south line of the Township of Annapolis bounding westerly on said church lott then turning east ten degrees north one hundred & one rods [555.5 yds], then turning north ten degrees west about four miles & a half to the river then on the river to the first bounds containing by estimation about eight hundred acres be the same more or less with allowance for a six rod [99 ft] road across said land & such other roads as the publick require and further granting liberty to the said Phinias Lovett & his heirs & assignes to get building stone on the premises to build on his own land at any time hereafter not damaging in the time of a crop being on the ground.  

This description provides us with enough clues to identify the location fairly accurately.  We know from the "History Of The Descendants Of John Whitman" that Edward Whitman (6 Aug 1752-15 Jan 1829) received, as part of his fathers grant, 3000 acres which had a westerly boundary of the Lawrencetown Lane and an easterly boundary of the church lot.  His home was on the north side of the road (now the 201) just west of the church lot.  (Jimmy Ed Whitman, a descendant of Edward, and Brad Eaton lived there in the 1930's and 40's).  The church lot referred to in the land description is where the Whitman Cemetery is now located.  We don't know the width of the church lot but we assume the west boundary line of the land Abel bought was near and probably just west of the present junction of the Inglisville and South Williamston roads.  The price paid for the land was 60 pounds. 

About seven years later, on February 23, 1796, Abel bought land to the east of and adjacent to the piece he already owned.  It was 38 rods (209 yds) across, contained 250 acres and was probably the remainder of lot 26.  It was purchased from Phinias Lovett Jr. and cost 19 pounds and 10 shillings.  The next land transaction involving Abel Beals was when he sold to his oldest son, Andrew, a tract of land on December 18, 1798 for 150 pounds.   This was the north end of lots 25 and 26 and contained 167 acres of very good farm land.  Considering the acreage involved, the original price he paid for the land and the amount he received from his son, Abel was making a very nice profit on this deal.  It bordered on the Annapolis River with the west boundary measuring 212 rods (1,166 yds) and the east boundary 264 rods (1,430 yds).  Previous to this transaction Andrew had bought, on July 13, 1796, 250 acres from Isaiah Corbet.  It was part of lot 30 and he paid 25 pounds for the land. 

Abel's next, and last, acquisition of land was by way of a grant from the Nova Scotia government.  The land was described as: "Lot No. 27 in the Second Division of farm lots in the Township of Annapolis containing five hundred acres being a derelict lot of wilderness land and escheated for non improvement".  The grant was registered on February 8, 1806.  No measurements are given but since the acreage was twice that of the piece of land acquired from Phinias Lovett Jr. and the length the same, the width of the grant must have been twice that of the Lovett land, ie. 76 rods (418 yds).

In the wording of the grant Abel is described as a "Loyalist".  As we assume he arrived in Nova Scotia about 1776 he certainly can not be included with the main group of loyalists who arrived seven years later.  At best he might be described as an "early loyalist".  In any case that appellation was no doubt an advantage when applying for a grant.  It is believed Abel's name was included with those of a large group of applicants who may have been for the most part true loyalists. 

At the time the grant was received, Abel was 50 years old and had been in Nova Scotia about 30 years.  One wonders why he had not applied for a grant of land at an earlier date.  An indication of why an application was made at this time may be supplied by the following excerpt from Calnek's "History of the County of Annapolis" (page 177):

In the session of 1805-6 of the Provincial Legislature, an act was passed providing a bounty for the seeding and clearing of new land, which had the effect of adding over 1,000 acres to the cleared lands of the county in a single year.  The return made to the Government under this law in 1807 shows that the number of acres thus cleared in the Township of Annapolis was 296. 

Abel's grant may well have been part of this.  (Anything for a buck, eh!).  We must remember that lot 27, as well as lots 25 and 26 when he acquired them, were "wilderness" covered with virgin forest and had to be cleared to create farm land.  At a time when there was no modern equipment like we have today, man power was the primary resource for land clearing.  In 1806 Abel had eight sons, seven of whom ranged in age from 15 to 26.  This was his man power and no doubt one reason why families tended to be the size they were in those times.  Perhaps the fact he had a family of sons was a factor in prompting him to acquire as much land as he did. 

At this point Abel had acquired three adjacent lots of land measuring 215 rods (1182.5 yds) across and 1440 rods (7920 yds/4.5 mi) in length.  The ownership of this "estate" covering 1550 acres must have provided Abel with a sense of pride and accomplishment.  Over the next several years he proceeded to dispose of pieces of this land by "selling" them to his sons.  Calnek in his "History of the County of Annapolis County" says that Abel "gave a farm to each of his eight sons".  The relevant deeds say a sum of money was paid for each piece of land.  Did Abel actually receive money or was the amount shown in the deeds simply a means of recording the value of the land?

On October 21, 1806 Abel sold 105 acres of land to his son Abel for 50 pounds.  It was part of lot 25 and measured 50 rods (275 yds) across at the southern end.  Although the description in the deed is unclear, the northern border was probably the South Williamston road and the southern border somewhere near the brow of the mountain. 

About a year later, on October 23, 1807, Abel sold Joshua, his son, 200 acres for 12 pounds.  This was almost twice the acreage for a quarter of the cost compared to the transaction referred to above and perhaps reflected the perceived value of the land.  This piece of land was the western part of lot 25 and an extension southward of the piece sold to Abel Jr.  It was 50 rods (275 yds) across and two miles long with the southern boundary half a mile from the township line.  This half mile strip was known as the Third Division. 

The next land transaction was dated June 28, 1808, when Abel sold his son, Arod, 200 acres for 50 pounds.  This piece of land measured 52 rods (286 yds) across and had the same north and south boundaries as Joshua's property.  It was situated on the east side of Joshua's land and represented the eastern part of lot 25 and perhaps part of lot 26.  The difference in price paid by Arod and Joshua for the same acreage of land seems strange and indicates the latter got a rather favourable deal. 

On December 19, 1808, Andrew, Abel's oldest son, bought 50 acres from him for 25 pounds.  This piece of land was 30 rods (165 yds) across and 264 rods (1,430 yds) long and represented an eastward extension of land he bought from his father in 1798.  An unusual addendum is recorded in this deed and reads as follows: ".... Andrew Beals who did promise and declare that he will maintain and defend to the utmost of his power the authority of the King and his Parliament as the supreem legislature of this province ... Annapolis, September 7 A.D. 1809".  This statement was signed by John Ruggles, Justice of the Peace.  Why was Andrew required to make such a declaration?

Abel Beals' second child and oldest daughter, Rachel, married Boyd McNayr in 1802.  On December 19, 1808 Abel sold his son-in-law an 88 acre piece of land (which was probably the eastern part of lot 27) for 50 pounds.  The land was already "in the possession of said Boyd McNayr".  The northern boundary was the South Williamston road and the southern boundary measured 43 rods (236.5 yds).  The length was "about one mile" which would mean that it extend south beyond the brow of the mountain. 

The next land transaction occured on April 30, 1812 and involved a small strip measuring 96 rods (528 yds) by 10 rods (55 yds).  The southern boundary was on the north side of the South Williamston road and the west boundary bordered on the "church" lot 24.  It contained 6 acres and was sold to Anthony Eaton for 5 shillings. 

Elijah Beals was the next recipient of land from his father Abel.  On November 12, 1812, he bought 130 acres for 50 pounds.  It was part of lots 26 and 27 and measured 32.5 rods (179 yds) across and two miles (3520 yds) long.  The southern boundary was the Third Division line and western boundary the land purchased by Arod Beals from his father. 

On the same date, November 12, 1812, Elijah sold his land to Arod and Arod sold his land to Elijah.  In other words a land swap.  However the land Elijah sold to Arod is somewhat larger (300 acres) than the piece he purchased from his father under the same date.  While the deeds do not mention acreage, the boundary description indicates the land sold by Elijah to Arod included the piece adjoining his (Elijah's) land to the east which extended southward from Boyd McNayr's land to the Third Division line.  There is no record showing that Elijah bought this land from his father.  The piece that Arod sold to Elijah is not quite the nice neat rectangle that the former bought from his father.  There is a jog or bite beginning 21 rods (115.5 yds) south of the northeast corner and runs westward the same distance.  Perhaps he retained this small piece because that was where his house was located.  Maybe it was for the same reason that Elijah did not sell the 4.3 acre (115.5 yds x 179 yds) north end of his land to Arod.  The amount of money relative to the acreage involved in this land swap is difficult to understand.  Elijah paid 120 pounds for less than 200 acres while Arod paid only 55 pounds for 300 acres.  Was there that much difference in the value of the land?

Joshua, Elijah and Arod were probably the first inhabitants of present day Inglisville.  Indeed, the settlement was known as "Beals Mountain" until the name was changed to Inglisville.  The boundaries of their land were roughly, on the east side, the north-south section of the present road through Inglisville and on the west side, in the vicinity of the Prim Whitman farm (later owned by his son Roland). 

The A.F.Church map drawn in 1864 shows a road running from the South Williamston road straight up over the mountain to the West Inglisville road.  It ran parallel to the lot lines and may have been on the eastern boundary of lot 26.  This was probably the original road to Inglisville with the present road being built later.  It crossed the present road at the foot of the steepest part going up the mountain and just south of Eldridge Wood's house.  Traces of the road were still evident in the 1940's.  The southern end of this road met the West Inglisville road at what was, in the 1930's, the Arthur Miles place.  This property remained in the family for over 120 years as Arthur's wife, Dora, was Abel's great granddaughter (Abel-Elijah-Jacob-Dora). 

Abel still had some land to dispose of.  On March 12, 1817 he sold 100 acres to George and Elias Bishop for 550 pounds.  This seems to be a high price but was probably justified by the fact that (when cleared) it was very good farm land.  This piece of land was the northern part of lot 27.  The north and south boundaries were the Annapolis River and the South Williamston road respectively.  Lot 28 was on the east and on the west, land sold to Andrew Beals by his father. 

Abel's last sale of land was on September 27, 1822 to John Warner.  It consisted of 5 acres and was located on the west side of, and at the northern end of, the piece of land Abel sold to Boyd McNayr.  McNayr had earlier sold his land to Warner so the latter was simply adding this small piece to what he already owned.  The South Williamston Road was on the north and the southern boundary was "the Beals Brook so called".  Abel received 25 pounds for this 5 acres of land.  John Warner was "family".  His wife was Elizabeth Kent, daughter of Zarah and niece of Abigail, Abel's wife. 

The remainder of Abel's "estate" was dealt with in his will which will be reviewed in the next chapter. 

One of Abel's sons also owned land in Albany which is about five miles south of Inglisville.  About 1798 a 64 mile trail, known as the "Liverpool Road", was laid out running from Nictaux in the Annapolis Valley to Liverpool on the south shore of the province and passed through what is now Albany.  According to the "History of the County of Annapolis" Abel Beals Jr. owned 460 acres in 1817.  He had bought the land, lots 18 & 19, from the original grantees, Samuel and Jeremiah Bancroft.  His family of nine was living there at that time and 25 acres had been cleared. 

Another trail was laid out about 1802 and, since it ran from Albany Cross to Lunenburg on the south shore, it was known as the "Lunenburg Road".  Albany Cross was the point where the old Annapolis to Halifax road crossed the Liverpool road.  The community now known as Springfield was one of the first settlements on the Lunenburg road.  The surveying of land for three of Abel's sons and his son-in-law Boyd McNayr was done on the 29th, 30th and 31st of December, 1819 by John Harris.  Four grants of land were received as follows:

    Arod Beals     Lots 5 & 6          350 acres
Boyd McNayr Lot 7 350 acres
Andrew Beals Lot 8 350 acres
Isaac Beals Lot 9 200 acres

The Beals boys did not occupy their land and eventually sold it.  However, Boyd began to clear the land in 1819 and moved his family there in 1824. 



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Copyright © 2005 by Donald W. Beals, author.