An affidavit in a canceled Howell County, Missouri, homestead claim is one of two records found providing the 1870 death date of Elizabeth (Eyster) Loy. The other was in a second homestead file.
Elizabeth, my great-great-great-great-grandmother, was a widow near or in her 70s when she filed her 1866 homestead claim. Elizabeth’s death did not stop her son, Martin Luther Loy, from using and trying to retain her claimed land. However, Martin had his own homestead claim to maintain. In time, Martin relinquished his rights to Elizabeth’s claim.
Martin’s 1872 affidavit reads:
“West Plains Mo
U.S. Land Office Ironton Mo.
January 12″ 1872
I Martin L. Loy, being one of the heirs of Elizabeth Loy, deceased do hereby relinquish all my right and title to the United States Government, to the within described tract of land.
Martin L. Lay being by me duly sworn further deposes and says that his Mother, Elizabeth Loy, who made the within named Homestead departed this life about the 28th day of August 1870 and that there are no minor heirs to her estate.
Martin. L. Loy
Sworn to and subscribed }
before me this 13th day }
of January 1872 }
Elizabeth’s canceled homestead file is held at the National Archives. Since her land claim was canceled, it is not with completed land entry case files. However, one affidavit about her canceled claim was found in her son Martin’s completed homestead file. It painted a picture of the improvements that Elizabeth made on her claimed land before her death.
“That the said Elizabeth Loy entered upon and made settlement on said land on or about the 1″ day of September, 1866, and has built a house thereon one log house about 14 x 16 feet. Porch on side 7 fee[t] wide That the said Elizabeth Loy departed this life in the month of August 1870 and she lived in the said house and made it his [sic] exclusive home from the 1″ day of of [sic] September, 1866, to the time ^of her death, and that she has since settlement ploughed, fenced, and cultivated about 12 acres of said land, and has made the following improvements thereon, to wit: planted about 20 apple trees about 50 peach trees and that Martin L Loy heir of Elizabeth Loy has kept up said improvmts since the death to the present time And that we live at so great a distance from the land office that we can not appear in person without much trouble and expense } C. M. Collins. J F Tucker” 
Martin and Elizabeth both filed claims under the Homestead Act of 20 May 1862. That act did not have a provision for one person to live on and receive multiple claims. The final certificate for Martin’s homestead was dated the day he swore that he relinquished interest in his mother’s claim.
Martin and his family, and his sister, Margaret (Loy) Tucker, and her children, left Howell County and went to Cowley County, Kansas. The family did not last ten years in Missouri. They left without their matriarch, Elizabeth, whose Missouri burial place is unknown.
With homesteading Missouri ancestors, I was happy to see that Missouri Digital Heritage has linked to digitized historic state session laws, 1824 to present. Since they did not include territorial statutes, I found what was available online for the territory and added both the territorial and state statutory law to a Historic Missouri Statutes page in my online law library. Some Missouri case law is found in another collection on the Missouri Digital Heritage site, and I have created a Historic Missouri Case Law page to lead you to that collection.