Christian Whiteman’s Articles of Agreement

It has been quite a while since I have worked on my own family genealogy, but this past week, after receiving an e-mail from someone whose research connected with the Christian Whiteman family, I am doing a little of my own family research again.

Christian Whiteman is my 5th great-grandfather and he served in the Revolutionary War. He was married twice and I descend from Mary, a daughter from his marriage to his second wife Hannah Huey.

Christian had two children from his first wife, believed to be Catherine Greiner:
Jacob (1795-1859), married Nancy A. (possibly Nancy A. Gallagher)
Sarah (1796-?), married Nathan Hughey/Huey

Christian and Hannah (Huey) had seven children:
James E. (1799-1873), married Mary North
Elizabeth (1800-1854), married Jacob Ekelberry
John (1803-?) married Sarah Smith
Mary (c1805-1855), married Isaac Huey
Christian (c1806-c1846), married Mary (Polly) Neigh
Henry (1809-1864), married Sarah Wilson
Anna (1811-1838), never married

While looking through some Whiteman records I have accumulated I noticed the copies of the Articles of Agreement that Christian Whiteman made in 1826 in Fairfield and Pickaway Counties in Ohio, a year before he died. Articles of Agreement are drawn up for two or more parties who agree on what is recorded. These are very interesting land deed records that contain some good family genealogical information.

Christian Whiteman did not leave a will. He didn’t have to. And he left enough records in the deed books that contain as much good information as a will would have. He divided his land among his children before he died and left these wonderful records in the process.

A few years ago I heard the late John Humphrey speak at an OGS conference about this same type of deed, used by his Wiedman ancestors in Berks County, Pennsylvania. They used these deeds to pass on their land to their children and as a way to support themselves their old age. I found this fascinating for several reasons. My ancestor Christian Whiteman also came from Berks County and I believe Wiedman is another spelling variation of Whiteman. Plus I had my own copies of Christian’s deed records, which sounded just like the ones John talked about, created by his family. John said these deeds were rather unusual and pretty much confined to that area of Pennsylvania. I asked John about the possibility that our Wiedman/Whiteman families might be connected but he did not seem to think so. But I still wonder… Christian Whiteman likely got this idea to divide and pass on his property because it was they way they did it back in Pennsylvania.

My ancestor Christian Whiteman purchased over 300 acres of land in Fairfield County, Ohio, during 1804-1805 [1] and he probably moved his family there soon afterward. Christian was among the taxpayers in Amanda Township, Fairfield County, in 1806. [2] In 1810 Christian paid the Fairfield County Resident Tax, which indicates he was living there at that time. He owned 315 acres of land in Section 30, Township 13 [Amanda Township] and his Resident Tax was $3.15. [3]

While in Fairfield and Pickaway Counties a few years ago I found at over 10 deeds that transferred land from Christian Whiteman to his children and provided for Christian and Hannah in their old age at the same time.

These Articles of Agreement, written and recorded in 1826, are land deeds made in agreement with their children who lived in Fairfield and Pickaway Counties, Ohio. In Fairfield County: to daughter Sarah (Whiteman) Hughey [Huey], 68 acres; to son Christian Whiteman Jr, 81 acres; to son-in-law Jacob Ekelberry [husband of Elizabeth nee Whiteman], 81 acres; to son John Whiteman, 92 acres; and to son-in-law Isaac Hughy [Huey], [husband of my ancestor Mary Whiteman], 81 acres. In Pickaway County: to son Jacob Whiteman, 83 acres; to son James Whiteman, 83 acres. [4]  

All of these Deeds of Agreement said the same thing: The Article of Agreement made between Christian Whiteman and Hannah his wife of Fairfield County, Ohio, and [name of specific child], for a specified piece of land, with the expressed agreement between both parties: that [name of Christian and Hannah’s child or son-in-law] “shall annually pay or cause to be paid unto the said Christian Whiteman and Hannah his wife during their natural life and the life of the survivor of them the sum of $12 and also pay or cause to be paid to his brother and sister Henry Whiteman and Anna Whiteman the sum of [specified amount] each to be paid when they become of age that is to say when the said Henry shall arrive to and be of the age of 21 and the said Anna at the age of 18, which is to be a lease on said land until paid as aforesaid…” [4]

Interesting stuff! I have also heard these documents referred to as Maintenance Deeds, because in return for Christian and Hannah giving the land to their children, each of their children was to give them $12/year as long as either of them survived. What a clever way of having security in your old age while at the same time passing land on to your children. Christian was one clever fellow.

And, since Christian and Hannah had two minor children [Henry and Anna] who did not receive land in these deeds, their older children were to give their two minor siblings a specified amount of money when they legally became adults. The sum of money to be given to Henry and Anna varied among the siblings: Sarah (Whiteman) Huey was to give siblings Henry and Anna $7.985/each; Christian Whiteman Jr was to give $29.46/each; Jacob Ekelberry was to give $29.46/each; John Whiteman was to give $48.845/each; Isaac Huey was to give $$29.46; Jacob Whiteman was to give $32.77/each; and James Whiteman was to give his sister Anna $32.75 by 18 July 1829 and his brother Henry $32.75 by 5 June 1830, the dates they came of age. [4] Christian specified the dates for James to pay Henry and Anna and with that information I can calculate their birth dates.

Married women could not own property back then, so one deed was made out to Christian’s son-in-law Jacob Ekelberry and another to son-in-law Isaac Huey. Single women could own property and since daughter Sarah’s deed was in her name it indicates her husband Nathan was deceased by 1826.

Relationships in the early 1800s can be difficult to prove. In an indirect way the agreement with Isaac Huey shows that Isaac’s wife Mary was the daughter of Christian and Hannah (Huey) Whiteman. I already had the marriage record of Isaac Huey and Mary Whiteman and the Article of Agreement says that Isaac was Christian’s son-in-law. I descend from daughter Mary (Whiteman) Huey, wife of Isaac. Mary and Isaac, along with some other members of Christian’s family, moved to Jay County, Indiana, a few years after Christian’s death.

Christian died the next year, on 23 December 1827. I suspect the he was in failing health when he had all those deeds written. Christian was buried on or near the family farm but was moved to Reber Hill Cemetery about 60 years later. Christian’s widow Hannah (Huey) Whiteman died in 1850 and is buried in Cheshire Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio.

Yes! These deeds certainly contain a lot of very good information.

Thanks to Rene’ for sharing some very good Whiteman information with me and for getting me back into Whiteman research again.


[1] Tract Book and Entries, Congress Lands 22 Ranges and U.S. Military Lands, Vol. 1, Auditor of State [Ohio], LOV 230:476, 480, microfilm #GR8285, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.

[2] Esther Weygandt Powell, compiler, Early Ohio Tax Records (1971; reprint, Baltimore, Maryland : Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1985), 102.

[3] Resident Duplicate for Fairfield County, Ohio, 1910, microfilm #GR2343, p. 1, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.

[4] Whiteman Deeds, 26 May 1826, Fairfield County, Ohio, Recorder’s Office, Vol. P:85-90 and Whiteman Deeds, 10 June 1926, Pickaway County, Ohio, Recorder’s Office, Vol G: 206-8.

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