I have Finley ancestors who settled in Dallas County, Missouri in 1842. They occupied a parcel of land for 30+ years. There is a family cemetery on that property where they are buried so I know the land belonged to them.
The problem is, that exact land was bought from the US government in 1874 by a family named Ownby. I can find no record of the Finleys buying or selling any property in the area. How could my Finleys have lived on that land for 30 years when it was government land until 1874?
Could the Finleys have lived on that property, making improvements, for 30 years without purchasing it? There is no question that they occupied the property from 1842-1870s. Can anyone explain how this could happen?