Property agreements, Washington, DC
Collection Scope and Content
This collection consists of 48 indentures, or property agreements. These documents date from 1809-35. Most of the documents have the term "indenture" appearing in the first sentence, although they are variously described by city officials in the agreements themselves as deeds, bills of sale, leases, and agreements. They contain the required signatures of the partners to the agreements and of city officials such as justices of peace and the clerk of the circuit court, but only two of them have any seals. In other cases circles are drawn for the placement of seals, but they are not present.
These agreements concern property of several types: real estate, household goods, chattel and slaves. They dating and signing by William Brent is the one element common to all pieces in the collection; this recording was the last step for property transactions; the clerk's date was always the latest one found on each agreement.
Each listing includes the date when recorded by Brent, the name of the seller and then the buyer, the type of agreement, and the lot and square numbers if mentioned. During the time of these agreements, the District of Columbia was comprised of Washington County and Alexandria County; Washington County included Washington City and Georgetown. Please bear in mind that for the most part land in Georgetown and in the various additions to Georgetown was designated by lot numbers whereas land in Washington City was designated by square and lot numbers.
The spelling of names varies even within the same indenture. For the most part the spelling and version of the name used here is that which appeared in the section appearing before Brent's signature.
- Creation: 1809-1835
Restrictions on Access
Some records may be restricted.
Restrictions on Use
Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
Historical or Biographical Note
The clerk of the circuit court for Washington County in the District of Columbia was required by a law of March 3, 1801 to record deeds. In these early years the clerk's office included the office for the recording of deeds. On July 17, 1805 William Brent became clerk of the circuit court, a position which he held for 38 years. Unless otherwise specified, all these agreements are signed at the end by William Brent, clerk, and the date he received them is present:. along with exact citations to the Liber of the land records of Washington County in the District of Columbia where the transactions were then also recorded.
Many of those involved in these agreements were prominent figures. Those who signed in their official capacity, for instance those who were justices of the peace, were also pillars of the community. Many of these names are the same as those who were buying and selling.
Not all these transactions cover real estate exchanges between the leading citizens of the community. Some cover slave sales; sale of a dwelling to a freeman of color; the sale of the contents of a printing shop; and a pre-marital agreement.
2 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Collection consists of 48 indentures, or property agreements. These documents date from 1809-35. Most of the documents have the term "indenture" appearing in the first sentence, although they are variously described by city officials in the agreements themselves as deeds, bills of sale, leases, and agreements.
This collection was purchased by George Washington University sometime late in 1983 or early in 1984.
From original finding aid: when this collection was processed, each piece was opened and encapsulated in mylar and then individually numbered on a label which had been affixed to the mylar.
- Brent, William (Person)
- District of Columbia . Office of the Recorder of Deeds (Organization)
- United States. Circuit Court (District of Columbia) (Organization)
- Guide to the Property agreements, Washington, DC, 1809-1835
- Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English