Support for an Elderly Mother

support clause from deed

In May of 1833, widow Barbara Lionberger Grove, mother of Barbara Grove Green, came from Licking County, Ohio, to La Salle County, Illinois, with her son Elias. They joined her four daughters and two sons, who were already living in Rutland township, across the river from Dayton. She undoubtedly lived with one or more of her children, but which one is not clear until 1838. On December 12th of that year a deed was recorded from Joseph Grove to Barbara Grove, selling 40 acres of land to her for $1. The deed includes the following proviso:

now the condition of this obligation is such that If the said Joseph Grove shall maintain and support the above named Barbara Grove in a good and Decent like manner Both in victual and clothing during her the said Barbara Grove’s life then this obligation to be void and of no effect otherwise to be and Remain in full force and virtue in Law

So if Joseph did not support her “in a good and decent manner” she would own 40 acres of land she could use or sell for her support.

Why was this deed made?

Just six months before, on June 28, 1838, Joseph married Elma Jackson. By December of that year, it would have been apparent that she was pregnant. Perhaps the deed was made to reassure Barbara that the forthcoming child would not affect her status in the household.

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