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Sandi's Puzzles

In Kentucky there is the Circuit Court which handles specific cases brought before them, including divorces, etc. But what was the name of the court that preceded the Circuit Court? The Circuit Court replaced this court.

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Puzzles and Answers from Recent Weeks
For older questions and answers, follow this link.

In an old will, one might see one of two terms used: "to my wife," or "to my now wife." What was the difference?

Answer: If a will designates a then wife and a now wife, this was a protection for the now wife. He had been married before and this wife was either deceased or they were divorced. A now wife was the one he was married to at his decease. He was specifying that his present wife was to receive of his inheritance and kept the then wife, if living, from trying to get anything. He might make provisions for any children born to the then wife.

In deeds one will see the acreage of the land being sold followed by the wording "more or less." Why was this added?

Answer: Surveys were not always accurate and property line markers could have been moved or destroyed. This statement was a legal protection to the seller that the acreage shown might be a little less or more than shown.

What job did a leathersealer do in earlier times?

Answer: He inspected tanned leather to determine if it was good enough to receive a "seal of approval."

What is an "appurtenance," a term often found in land deeds?

Answer: This was anything that was part of the property and could not be removed before selling. This would include barns, mills, fences, etc.

Where, in Kentucky, could you find an actual birth certificate for someone born in 1840?

Answer: There were no birth certificates issued in Kentucky until 1911, so you will not find any!

This was an unusual occupation - that of pure finders. What did they find and what was it used for?

Answer: A pure finder collected dog feces and sold to tanners where it was used to cure leather.

In the past when a person had a tooth pulled, they often used a plumper. What was a plumper and what did it do?

Answer: A plumper was a ball shaped filler, normally of ivory, that was placed in the mouth where a tooth had been extracted to "plump out" the cheek.

Here is a sign you might still see today: "Ye Olde Barber Shop." Your job is to write this slogan/sign again showing what it meant. There will be no extra words. If you followed my posts to the lists last week, you'll know!

Answer: Ye Olde Barbershop would today read The Old Barbershop. The Y of Ye is called a thong and is pronounced th. It went out of fashion when printers could not duplicate the slightly different Y.

In laying off a town, what was the name of the area not within the town limits that were yet in pasture land, timber, etc. that could be divided up and purchased?

Answer: Property located in a town were called in-lots. Property divided up outside the town limits and available for purchase were called out-lots. Often someone bought undeveloped land and divided it up into out-lots. It just meant that the lots were outside of town limits.

In earlier times in the country, Kentucky, Tennessee and later Alabama, Mississippi and parts of Louisiana and Arkansas were known as this.

Answer: Old Southwest

True or false. When immigrants came to America and disembarked at Ellis Island, their names were changed or Americanized because the recorder of the names didn't know how to spell the foreign name. Thus many immigrants went by the names assigned them by the counter or the captain of the ship.

Answer: False. A separate post to the lists will give the full explanation.

In looking at old court documents you see the following abbreviations: plt or pltf. What does this stand for?

Answer: Both are abbreviations for plantiff, the individual bringing a suit against a defendant.

What is the man called who drives/herds mules?

Answer: This man was called a muleskinner.

Many communities had slop sellers. What did they sell?

Answer: A slop shop what a store where inferior clothing was sold; sometimes aprons and inexpensive clothes.

In this era of political elections, what was a democrat wagon? (and no, not a wagon driven by Democrats!)

Answer: In its simplest form a democrat wagon was a high, two-seated and lightweight wagon pulled by 1-2 horses. It had no connection with politics at all!

What was the job of a processioner? This was commonly done in Kentucky.

Answer: A processioner was a surveyor but he did his surveying for a different reason usually. He was called on to survey when (1) neighbors were protesting a property line between them (Charlie is plowing on my land!) and the property lines had to be confirmed; (2) when a marker tree had been cut down or a marker stone plowed under; or (3) when land owned by a deceased individual had to be divided up according to the will to the heirs so they all received their portion. He was not the original surveyor of the land.

Long ago, workers had children walk on clay until it was reduced to a smooth & even substance which was used to make bricks. What were these children called?

Answer: The person/child was called a pugger

These are classes to teach law students how to conduct a case & how a court works. What is it called to this day?

Answer: Moot

What do we call a raser house today?

Answer: A raser house is a barbershop.

People might have to hire a spotter. What would we call him today?

Answer: a detective

What was a Black Maria and who would use it?

Answer: The Black Mariah was what was known as a paddy wagon, taking prisoners to jail. It was named for an African-American woman who owned a house of prostitution. She reported to the police anyone who she found was doing something illegal or criminals who came into her establishment.

In some old country churches there were 2 deacons who had a special job. One stood by with a feather in his hand. The other held a stick with a hatpin on the end. What did they do during the services?

Answer: This was to keep the church members awake. A tickle under the chin for the ladies; a stick from the hat pin for the gents.

This was the term for something which contained 60-140 gallons of liquid or 750-1,200 pounds of tobacco and wasn't an animal part though it sounded like it.

Answer: hogshead

Often in documents, even today, you will see n.m.i or n.m.n. What do these initials stand for?

Answer: N.M.I. indicates a person who has no middle initial; N.M.N. means the person had no middle name. It is recorded that President Harry Truman had no middle name. He added the middle initial S. which stood for nothing so he wouldn't be shown as Harry N.M.I. or N. M. N. Truman.

What fruit was never eaten in earlier times because "if a hog won't eat it, why should I?"

Answer: A tomato. Often considered a vegetable, since it grows above ground, it is also considered a fruit.

A man writes his will and leaves certain items to his wife to use during her natural life. But most put in the clause limiting her receiving these bequests. How did he limit her?

Answer: At a widow's remarriage she normally reverted back to inheriting 1/3rd of the remaining estate or a child's portion.

In former times, a barber swept up the hair from the floor and saved it. It was later sold and used as a reinforcing agent for something else - not for wigs! What was it used for?

Answer: Plaster; the hair was called Plaster Hair. It could be used in concrete also, and sometimes horse hair was used.

If you see "call (or called) term" in records what did this mean?

Answer: A called term is one where a county (or city etc.) court calls a special session to handle something that can't wait until their regular meeting time. This might be a will, a murder, or some business that must be handled immediately.

Susan was excited when she finally found the name of her grandam. Whose name did she find?

Answer: Grandmother

In his will, a man lists his heirs - wife, sons and daughters, possibly grandchildren, brothers or sisters. He also names his natural son. Who is this?

Answer: an illegitimate son that he has named as his own for inheritance purposes.

In Colonial times one might see a record saying that an individual had a "new mother." Who was she?

Answer: Step-mother.