Ohio History Journal

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Ohio    Land       Patents              by KENNETH W. DUCKETT

NOT LONG AGO the public relations office

at a United States Air Force base wrote

a press release describing a "nineteenth

century land deed" owned by one of its

civilian employees. According to the re-

lease, a local authority had appraised the

document, signed by Thomas Jefferson as

president of the United States and James

Madison as secretary of state, at $25.

Autograph collectors, the release con-

tinued, had subsequently made offers of

up to $3,000 for it.

Such stories make excellent copy, but

they also lead to a great deal of un-

happiness and misunderstanding. Many

people who hold president-signed land

patents, after reading such a story, ex-

pect to sell them and pay off the mort-

gage on the house. On the average of

two or three times a week these people