This blog entry is the first of a series in which we highlight different types of documents at the Archives and show how we found them. Currently, visitors to the Archives are commonly looking to research an article of property, so we chose the site of St. Joseph's Hospital to research as our first example.
In order to look up any documents in the Archives for a location, you first have to identify where it is. If the property is outside the city limits, you need to locate the township and range, but the hospital is well within the city limits, just two blocks south of the court house. According to the 1905 map prominently displayed in the first floor hallway (shown below), this is identified as block 71.
1905 St. Charles City Map
Block File 71
Using this information, my research assistant, Linda Prenger, pulled file folder 71 from the Block File archive for me. This folder was empty, but it referenced a probate file box 185, file 4611, so she also pulled that file for me.
Probate File 4611
This file folder contained an inventory of the estate of Benjamin Geret, who died in 1900. The inventory was a top-bound stack of about 20 pages and the folder also included another 20 or so receipts as supporting documents. The value of the inventory was listed at $6,965.03, but what I found interesting is that it showed he had purchased all of the properties in lot 71 between 1880 and his death in 1900. Here is the image that shows this progression, below.
Block 71, ca 1900
Linda also pointed out to me that the image above states that lot 3 of this property was originally owned by Mary E. Sibley and sold to Benjamin Geret by the executor of her estate on Dec 13, 1880. Is this the same Mary Easton Sibley that founded Linenwood College?
We will save that for some later research.