by Taylor C. Woodward
AUGUSTA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL LAND
SECTION NO. 16
Originally, all school lands were in charge of land agents. The person who wanted to occupy a piece of school land was directed to this agent, who told him that it could be leased from 7 to 15 years, provided the occupant would clear a certain number of acres, each year, build so many rods of fence, and plant an orchard. So stringent were these regulations, that few accepted and the plan failed.
Two years later, authority was given to the land agents to lease the
land for a money consideration, but new troubles arose, and it was
found for many reasons, that these lands could not be handled
satisfactory, by the agents.
In due course, the agencies gave way to a plan, for three trustees and a treasurer, to be elected by the people of the township, to lease the lands, collect the rents, and distribute them to the schools. In order to make possession of these lands easier, the state legislature, in 1817, authorized the granting of 99 year leases, renewable forever with appraisals to be made every 33 years, and the rent to be fixed at 6 per cent of the appraised value. Many of these leases are still in force.
By law of Congress, which went into effect in July 1820, these quarter sections were divided by a north and south line, into east and west half quarter sections, containing 80 acres each.
Provisions were made in 1826, for the sale of the land, the proceeds to be deposited in what was called the irreducible debt funds of the state, and interest thereon to go to the schools. In 1914, permission was given by the legislature, to the auditor of the state, to lease the school lands for oil, gas and other minerals, the money from these leases to be handled in the same manner as funds derived form the sale of the land.
In 1917, the Garver law was enacted by the legislature, which placed these lands under the supervision of the auditor of the state, the local management remaining with the township trustees, under the supervision of the auditor of the state.
The school land of this township was sold earlier than most of the school lands of other townships of the county, a part was sold before the county was formed.
The northwest quarter of Section 16, was sold to John Criss in 1832, the east half for $230.00 and the west half for $400.00. He received a deed from the governor of the state, Duncan McArthur.
The northeast quarter was sold to William Finch in 1834, the east half for $366.62 1/2 and the west half for $220.97 1/2. He also received a deed from the governor of the state, Robert Lucas.
In 1835, the east half of the southeast quarter was sold to John Cameron, for $256.00 and the west half to Joseph Watson for $184.19, each receiving a deed from the governor of the state. In 1838, Watson sold his land to Cameron, for $1000.00, making Cameron owner of all of the southeast quarter.
In 1836, the southwest quarter was sold to William S. Wilson, who in 1843, deeded it to his two sons, John and Robert, giving to each 80 acres.
This school land having been sold at an early date, did not build up as large a source of income as many school sections, which were sold at a later date, however, Augusta Township does receive a small income from the state, from the sale of this school land, which was $119.10 in 1964.