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Buying a farm in 1873

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Amish Heart

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An actual article I found that was printed in "The Budget" newspaper about someone looking for a farm:
(in 1873)
Having sold my farm in Pulaski County, VA, wish to purchase on in this section of country, costing from $1,500 to $10,000. I propose to make a payment of $1,600 down, and $1,000 in one year, $2,000 in two, $2,500 in three, and $2,900 in four years with interest at 6 percent paid annually and lien upon the land until all is paid. Persons proposing to sell will do well to put their price as low as they can afford, for I expect to examine and purchase the cheapest farm offered, considering quality, locality, etc. Please write me a full description of your land, answering all of the following questions in regard to it.
1. Describe the dwelling, outhouses, barn, etc
2. How bold is the spring and how far from the house?
3. How large and how old is the apple orchard, if any, and what the quality of fruit?
4. Is the farm well watered?
5. Is the land of limestone or free stone soil?
6. How many acres too rocky to plow?
7. Is there any red slate soil? If so, how many acres and is it south, southeast, or hilltop exposure?
8. How many acres of porous or free stone soil, and what exposure is it?
9. What is the subsoil generally, red clay or porous and sandy?
10. What color is the surface soil?
11. Is the land much worn?
12. How many bushels of wheat and corn will it average in ordinary seasons, per acre?
13. How many acres of cleared land and how many of timer, and what kinds of timber?
14. How many acres of the cleared land so hilly as to require a hillside plow to do the plowing well, and how much of the timbered land, if cleared, would require the hillside plow from this cause?
15. How many acres of the timber could be gotten to conveniently with a wagon?
16. Is the land much broken or hilly?
17. What kind of grass will your land produce best?
18. Does bluegrass grow on it without sowing?
19. How far from good flour and saw mills?
20. How many churches convenient, what distance off, and what denominations?
21. Name the nearest railroad depot, the distance by wagon road, and is that road good?
22. How far to your courthouse?
23. How is society - morals good or bad?
24. What is the common price of good land now, and what it before the war in your section?
25. What is the common price per month of good laboring hands in your country and are they in much demand?
26. What does pine lumber for building cost per 1,000 feet?
27. Is the title to your land good?
28. State your price
Letters in answer to the above will be received until the 30th day of March, 1873.
Robert Craig Dublin, Pulaski County, Virginia
 

Amish Heart

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I wonder what he ended up with?
Reminds me of a book my husband and I read about Amish settlements that failed. Back in the 1800's, and really not too long ago for the Amish, farms were bought without looking at them because transportation was an issue. I remember reading that some Amish bought land in New Mexico, sight unseen, and that was listed as a failed settlement. Not good farming land.
 

Patchouli

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That is a very cool find.
About 4 years ago I was looking at properties online in western Virginia. I think I may have mentioned this before...i found my great grandparents' home on the market. I remembered it! Parking area by the road, but then you'd have to cross a footbridge to get to the house. Lol
Railroad tracks a little too close for my liking.
 

JAC

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That is a very cool find.
About 4 years ago I was looking at properties online in western Virginia. I think I may have mentioned this before...i found my great grandparents' home on the market. I remembered it! Parking area by the road, but then you'd have to cross a footbridge to get to the house. Lol
Railroad tracks a little too close for my liking.
Yeah, sometimes those people on the other side of the tracks are a bit much. Better to back away from that area of town.
 

LadyLocust

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It is also interesting that he would expect an honest answer to some of the questions. My thoughts as I was reading- they wouldn’t say if it was a sketchy society etc. at least in today’s world. Would be curious to see the responses he received. Also good suggestions for questions to research if we are looking for land today- only would have to rely on our own resources instead of asking the seller. So interesting.
 

SheepDog

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When buying property, a home or a ranch a lawyer can get answers to questions that the average person might not get.
I have a list of questions for my real estate lawyer to get answers on from "are there any faults in the area" to easements, water rights, leases, and government controls on any of the deeded property.
I looked at one piece of property that the feds had labeled it a bald eagle sanctuary because a mating pair took up residency in a pole near the barn. The restriction made the property almost useless.
 

Sewingcreations15

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We have friends who are police officers so we asked them where not to buy a property based on the crime rates. We were thinking of one little town about 20 mins away from where we purchased that friends also had a property at but I had a bad feeling about the area and the prices were unrealistic too. When we saw this homestead we went and saw the local police officer and he said just as well you didn't purchase at the other town because the crime rate is horrendously high. So I would say go with your gut feelings too as when you find a potential property you will know if it is right for you or not.

I recommend if you are married or not that you make out a list of wanted things you want in a property and seeing which property ticks the most boxes for both of you and get a good solicitor and land surveyor who can tell you the ins and outs of the property too and if it floods or not as well.

@Amish Heart that is a comprehensive ad to buy land for sure and they probably got a good property to purchase in the end.
 

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