John's Journal...

Learn the History of Your Property to Increase the Value of Your Land

The Old Barbed Wire

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Every property bought and sold today has a history. Who were the people who lived on the land before it was sold? What were their occupations? What role did they play in the history of the area, the state or the nation? If you know the history of the people and the land, the value of the property is worth far more than the dirt, the timber, the wildlife and the scenery on it today.

When I asked Bo Pitman, one of the owners of White Oak Plantation near Tuskegee, Alabama, how old a certain big water oak tree was, Pitman answered, “Well, I don’t know exactly, but I know that it’s more than 100-years old. It has to be to have grown to that size.” Since we weren’t more than 10-feet away from the tree, I said, “If that’s true, then that piece of barbed wire coming almost out of the center of that tree probably was pClick to enlargeut there before the Civil War.” Pitman squinted his eyes and then said, “Yeah, I suppose it was.” I went over and broke off a piece of the barbed wire about 12-inches long, and observed, “That makes this barbed wire Civil War barbed wire, doesn’t it?” “Well, I guess itdoes,” said Pitman.

As Pitman and I wandered further through the woods looking for turkeys, I noticed some raised ground that went across some flooded timber. As we walked a small right-of-way, I asked, “Bo, what kind of road is this?” Pitman, a man of very few words, chooses his carefully and doesn’t give up information unless you insist. “It’s not a road.” They kept walking, and finally, I asked, “Okay, what is it?”

Knowing I wouldn’t be quiet, and we wouldn’t hear any turkey gobbles until Pitman told me about this mound of earth that crossed the swamp, Pitman explained, “This is an old stagecoach road. Many yearsClick to enlarge ago, stagecoaches came across this property and traveled to Alabama’s capitol in Montgomery. The road was elevated to get across the swamp. You can see remnants of the old stagecoach line in several different spots.” We actually were walking on a roadway that had been traveled hundreds of years before when stagecoaches were one of the primary means of transportation for people and freight before the days of the railroad.

Later in the morning, after I’d taken my turkey and we were walking back toward the lodge, I asked, “Bo, what’s that hill doing out in the middle of that field?” Never looking up and never breaking his stride, Pitman answered, “It’s not a hill. It’s an Indian mound. Every year, when we plow this field to plant it for wildlife, we turn up pieces oClick to enlargef pottery and arrowheads. I don’t know who the Indians were that lived here, but I’m pretty sure they lived here long before anyone else ever came to this country.”

Several fascinating pieces of history reside on White Oak Plantation. Indian mounds, stagecoach lines, Civil War barbed wire and who knows what else gives value to this land from a historical perspective. If you want to sell your property for more or increase the value of the land you’ve just purchased, learn all you can about the history of the property you’re buying and selling. You may learn that the historical value of the property is far greater than the recreational value of the property. If you can buy or sell forestland that has great potential for forest-recreation activities and growing timber and has a strange or unusual history, the property becomes more valuable.

Tomorrow: Millions in Gold and Artifacts


Check back each day this week for more about "Learn the History of Your Property to Increase the Value of Your Land"

Day 1: When Forest-Recreation Lands Are Worth More
Day 2: When Bricks Are More than Bricks
Day 3: The Old Barbed Wire
Day 4: Millions in Gold and Artifacts
Day 5: The Buffalo Jump



Entry 427, Day 3