Skip to main content
To request boxes, please submit the collection, series, and box number(s) via our Contact form.

Property agreements, Washington, DC

 Collection
Identifier: MS2090

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.

Dates

  • 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.

Extent

2 Linear Feet

Language

English

Abstract

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.

Acquisition Information

This collection was purchased by George Washington University sometime late in 1983 or early in 1984.

Collection note

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.
Title
Guide to the Property agreements, Washington, DC, 1809-1835
Status
Completed
Author
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Date
2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

Contact:
2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America