Monday, February 16, 2015

Family History Writing Challenge Day 16

Pitzman's Atlas of St. Louis 1878
Pitzman's New Atlas of the City and County of Saint Louis, Missouri 1878 clearly shows the areas of land owned by John Murdoch at the time the survey was taken. Julius Pitzman was the St. Louis County surveyor until the split of the city from the county. At that time he became the surveyor for the City of St. Louis.

Outlined in red is the property of Murdoch. On the bottom part of the map you can see the areas that he had subdivided. Some of these lots may have been sold off by the time this survey was taken in 1878.

According to Gould's St. Louis Directory, in 1878 John Murdoch was still residing on his farm in St. Louis County. He remained employed by O.J. Lewis & Co. as an auctioneer.

On May 2, 1878 in St. Louis County Deed Book 6, page 485 a Trustee Sale was filed by Benjamin Farrar. It listed a property description of Murdoch Farm, including the 226 acres, mansion and outbuildings, and further stated that Murdoch was still residing on the premises. John Murdoch had not paid the loan, interest or taxes on the property, thus putting him in default. The document detailed the auction of Murdoch Farm to be held on May 22nd at the eastern front door of the St. Louis City Courthouse between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., where the auctioneer will "proceed to sell the above described property at public auction to the highest bidder for cash to satisfy said note and interest and taxes and the costs and expenses of executing said deed."  The Trustee Sale was published in the St. Louis Daily Journal twenty-one times, beginning on May 2, 1878 with the last insertion appearing on May 22, 1878.

Isaiah Williamson was the highest and last bidder, paying $23,000 for the land, and a Deed transferring the property to him was signed on May 22, 1878. The 226 acre farm, mansion and outbuildings of John Murdoch now belonged to Isaiah Williamson. Murdoch literally lost the farm on the courthouse steps.

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