Land records make for some interesting and confusing details about family history. In the case of the Brubaker/Tiernan clan, I have found that Ellen Tiernan Brubaker and John Brubaker filed for at least three different land parcels under the Homestead Act of 1862.
In 1893, Ellen Tiernan filed for the final title of land on Section 15, Township 24, Range 51. Family lore said that all of the Tiernan children filed for land then sold to her father John or her brother Charles Tiernan after title came through on the Homestead Act. This may have been true. The plat maps for the area round Snake Creek Township shows that John and Charles Tiernan owned a lot of land in that part of Box Butte County.
Just ten years later, Ellen T. Brubaker was filing for more land located on Sections 32 and 33 of Township 23, Range 44. I believe this is an area south of Lakeside, Nebraska. Ellen Brubaker claimed the land was filed under her husband, but he had deserted her. Her petition stated he had left in July of 1904. She stayed on the land until October. She felt she could not care for her five children and work the land. She left the claim and “went to her own people in Box Butte County.” But she did not want to lose the land. She petitioned the land title be assigned to her name. She could not produce the original receipt of entry because John Brubaker had taken it with him.
Her petition must have been denied. She remained married to John Brubaker. A decade later, John H. Brubaker obtained 480 acres in Section 12, of Township 21, Range 50.
This all reminds me of the song: “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone." I think it was fairly typical to move from one parcel of land to another to try to improve your economic condition. In the defense of John Brubaker, he worked for the railroad and was constantly moving for work. This may have been the situation, or something less favorable may have occurred.
I don’t know the circumstances. But John Brubaker and Ellen Tiernan remained married and are buried together in Alliance, Nebraska. The land records simply add to the confusion of their relationship, yet it is really very interesting.