The General Land Office records online is a very valuable resource to researchers offering data and images of land patents in the United States. Researchers must remember, however, that because a person received a patent to land, doesn’t necessarily mean they moved to the land. There were many land speculators who purchased from few, to a vast number of parcels in the old Chickasaw cession lands of Mississippi with the sole intent of reselling the lands at a later date for a profit.
A most interesting set of record books in the county courthouse is the set of Range Books. There are six land ranges in old Itawamba County (ranges 6 through 11 east of the Chickasaw meridian). Ranges in Itawamba County are six miles wide and run west to east. Each of these ranges have 5 townships (six miles tall) starting with Township 7 in the northern part of the county and going through Township 11 in the southern portion of the county. The square formed by the intersection of a range and a township is an area six miles square, containing 36 sections of land (a section is 1 mile square).
The old range books are sectioned by townships. For instance Range Book 6 will have 5 sections, one for each township. Each page in the book represents one section of land and on each page, there are four columns representing the four quarters of the section (northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest). At the top of each column is the land patentee’s name and date. As land was sold in each section, the deed reference along with buyer’s name was denoted in the appropriate column on the appropriate page and in the appropriate range book . These books give an excellent account of the changes of ownership of a particular parcel of land.
In researching land records in Itawamba County, don’t forget the old range books – they offer a wealth of information relating to land transactions in Itawamba County.