Re: Section numbers in Clay County
cindy, you're confusing the "township and range" designation with political townships - they're not the same thing.political townships are just that - an area that may or may not have elected officials - it's larger than a town but smaller than a county.they began as a way to build and maintain schools, roads, justice of the peace, etc.political townships are named, and they change over the years.
what you're looking for is the "township and range" which is part of the Public Land Survey System.this type of township is a square six miles by six miles, therefore comprised of 36 sections.each section can be divided further into quarters, and quarters of quarters.it is this type of description that is necessary for land descriptions in arkansas, and what is applicable to the land in randolph & clay counties.
see this map on the clay county web site:http://www.argenweb.net/clay/claytownship1936.htmhttp://www.argenweb.net/clay/claytownship1936.htm
the irregular, dark-shaded areas are political townships, recognizeable by their names, such as kilgore, nelson, or oak bluff townships.the PLSS townships are the much smaller squares on the same map.they do not change.section 26, township 20, range 3 east used to be in randolph county.it became clay county in 1873 when that county was formed.if your ancestor purchased that land in 1864, then he owned part of randolph county.if he sold it in 1884, he would have done in clay county.land sales were not required to be recorded by the county back then, and often they weren't until the land left the family, and the new owner wanted to know there was no lien on it.the seller then had to provide what is known as a "chain of title" showing who each owner was and when.
you may e-mail me directly if you'd like specifics on finding a parcel of land by its description -- it can be pretty confusing sometimes.
hope this helps.