MORTGAGES AND NOTES - WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE
There are basic terms that most know when dealing with buying and selling property, but are the differences in all those terms common knowledge to the public? The answer is yes, and no. Shared in the last newsletter was the difference between a deed and title, now let’s cover the distinction between a mortgage and a note.
Mortgages, sometimes called liens, are loan documents that are agreed upon by a borrower and financial institution using property as collateral. A mortgage is utilized when purchasing a property for the first time, or when re-financing property already owned. Once all mortgage documents prepared they are sent to the Recorder of Deeds office, either with a deed or alone, to be recorded for public record.
Generally, when there is a mortgage there is also a note. A note is a document that stipulates the terms of the mortgage loan, such as the interest rate and timeline in which to repay the mortgage. Sometimes a note is referred to as a mortgage note or promissory note, please know these names are interchangeable. While the mortgage for a property is recorded in the Recorder of Deeds office, notes are not. The note is held by the financial institution while the loan is being paid.
The confusing aspect of mortgages and notes is the fact that if more than one individual is listed on the deed, all individuals then have to be included on the mortgage, but not all individuals are required to be listed on the note. An example used on the Stock and Leader Attorneys at Law website is “often times one spouse may have bad credit, so they are not on the Note (lenders sometimes say “they are not on the loan”), but both spouses are on the Deed, so both spouses have to be on the Mortgage.”
Hopefully, this has cleared up any confusing that may have existed about mortgage and notes.
Quotation from The Stock and Leader website can be found: https://www.stockandleader.com/personal-law/deed-vs-note-vs-mortgage
CHANGE IN NOTARY PUBLIC PROCESS
In November 2022, Act 154, an amendment to Title 57, a Notary Public statute, was approved by the Pennsylvania State Legislator making it possible for Bucks County elected officials, Dan McPhillips and Coleen Christian, to come together regarding the notary process. For years new and renewing notaries public first had to go to the Recorder of Deeds office to record their bond and oath, proceeded by going to the Prothonotary’s office to sign their signature card. Prior to the Bucks County Justice Center opening, both offices were in the same building, making this process relatively painless.
Starting February 21, 2023, notaries public will no longer be required to sign their signature card at the Prothonotary’s office. The signature card will now be signed at the Recorder of Deeds office, while their bond and oath are being recorded. The Recorder of Deeds office will then make sure the signature cards are presented to the Prothonotary’s office, since they are legally required to hold them.
Implementing a new procedure to a long-standing process always takes time, but Recorder of Deeds, Dan McPhillips, thinks this was well worth his time. “Making any process more convenient for our constituents is good government. Having new and renewing notaries public bounce between two buildings, two security systems, and managing the parking in Doylestown, it just made sense to work with Coleen Christian, Bucks County Prothonotary, to modernize this process. I am glad we were able to make this work for both of our offices.” For her part, Prothonotary, Coleen Christian says, “We are beyond happy to streamline the notary process. Efficient, one stop government service should always be implemented when possible.”
To contact the Bucks County Recorder of Deeds office, please call 215-348-6209 or the Bucks County Prothonotary’s office, please call 215-348-6191. You can also visit the Bucks County website at www.buckscounty.gov
ARCHBISHOP WOOD REAL ESTATE CLASS
In August 2022, Bucks County Recorder of Deeds, Dan McPhillips, was contacted by John Iannarelli, a Keller Williams realtor and treasurer for the Bucks County Association of Realtors, about possibly being a guest speaker for his newly created Real Estate class at Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster
Offered as an elective for seniors, this class was created and is taught by Iannarelli, specifically for Archbishop Wood. As an alumnus, he had been invited to tour the school after many years away. After the tour Iannarelli approached the high school about starting a Real Estate course as a way of giving back. He stated, “Not every student wants to go to college, this is a way to show them other careers and options.”
Realizing that fellow alumni, Dan McPhillips, was the Bucks County Recorder of Deeds, Iannarelli reached out asking him to be a guest speaker for the class. And just recently, McPhillips took the time to visit his alma mater, sharing the duties of the Recorder of deeds office. He also shared his personal journey with the students, from sitting where they are sitting right now, to being a Bucks County elected official. McPhillips said, “I was excited for the opportunity to go back to my alma mater and share with John’s students how my office fits into the whole picture of buying and selling a house. It was an honor to be asked and am proud to be in a position to give back to my graduating high school.”
SNIPES FARM & EDUCATION CENTER
In March, Dan had the privilege to receive a personal tour of Snipes Farm in Morrisville. His tour was given by siblings, Jonathan Snipes and Susan Snipes-Wells, whose family has been farming in Bucks County since 1688. While the family has been around since the days of William Penn, the current property wasn’t purchased until 1808. During his visit, Dan invited them to join us at our Wednesday, May 12th History Social as our special guests. In honor of the family and their legacy in the community this social will be about the farm.
HISTORY SOCIAL RECAP
Every second Wednesday of the month we invite the public to join us to learn some Bucks County history. During our hour-long History Social we explore different areas of the county and how they can be located in our historic deed books. Going forward with these events in 2023, we thought it would be a good idea to do a quick recap in our bi-monthly newsletter. This way anyone that isn’t able to attend can still enjoy the history!
February’s History Social – Black History Month
- Adams, who was mostly likely born into slavery, was buried in an unmarked grave at the Middletown Friends Meeting Cemetery, located at 453 W. Maple Ave. in Langhorne, in 1812.
- This is notable since Adams, who was a freed black man, was documented as buried in the cemetery, which at the time was not normal since Quakers did not document freed or enslaved people in their records.
- While Quakers did not mark their graves, it was against the Quaker religion, they did document in church records who was buried in their cemeteries.
- It is said that Cato attended the Middletown Meetings, but although he was not allowed to be a member did leave money in his will for the care of the cemetery.
- Five pounds was set aside "for the purpose of keeping in repair the burying ground appropriated for the interment of black people near to the meeting."
- He also left his "first day clothes" to his son, which would indicate he attended meetings since Quakers used the term "first day" instead of Sunday.
- Records show that Cato Adams owned property.
- Dated 1791 a deed can be found in Book 33A, Page 28.
- A deed dated 1810 can be found in Book 55, Page 191.
- County's mother was an enslaved woman for Charles Hicks and his family.
- He was born at sea while his mother was traveling to Pennsylvania with the Hicks family.
- Named County Cornwall because that is where his mother and the Hicks family came from in England.
- Edward Hicks, the artist known for the “Peaceable Kingdom” artwork, was the nephew of Charles.
- When Charles died, County was sold as part of the Estate.
- Was then purchased and freed by Edward, who had grown fond of Corn (County's nickname).
- County was the first African American to own property in Newtown, possibly the first to own in Bucks County.
- He owned 5 properties between 1790-1798, 2 in Newtown and 3 in Middletown.
- They can be found in:
- Book 25 Page 326
- Book 26 Page 211
- Book 27 Page 401
- Book 29 Page 481
- Book 29 Page 498
Lesser Known Facts
- Between 1783-1830 enslavers were required to register their enslaved people. This list was recorded with the Prothonotary's Office and can be found online.
- There were enslaved people that were set free prior to the Civil War, these records were sometimes recorded in our Miscellaneous Books.
- These records are called Manumission, which is the emancipation of slavery.
- It is believed that these were done by Quakers.
- In one of our Miscellaneous Books, there is one Manumission that has a Bill of Sale recorded before it. This Bill of Sale is for a woman and child, and the Manumission that follows is for that same woman and child. It is believed that the person who purchased, and then set free, this woman and child was related to them (possibly husband and father).
- Jeremiah Langhorne set his enslaved people free in his will. He gave two of them, Cudjo and Jo, life rights to about 300 acres of land, which is now Doylestown Borough.
- Langhorne gave his other enslaved peoples life rights to a different tract of land, which was known as the Guinea Tract. This tract is believed to be part of what is now Langhorne Manor.
- Washington Village, in what is now Langhorne Borough, has largely been an African American community that dates back to the late 1700s.
- First generation freed African Americans were able to afford small parcels of this land after the whole tract was seized from County Judge Gilbert Hicks.
- Hicks was a Tory, which is why the land was seized.
- The Richard Moore House in Richland Township had a State Historical Marker dedicated to it in 2019.
- It was dedicated because Richard and his wife, Sarah, were conductors on the Underground Railroad - their house was the most active station in the area.
- About 600 fugitives escaped from slavery through this house.
March’s History Social – Women’s History Month
Dr. Lettie Ann Smith
- Born: December 11, 1816 – Died: June 12, 1912.
- Lettie was the inventor of the “Labor-Saving Butter-Worker”, which she patented on August 23, 1853.
- President of the Bucks County Agricultural Society, James A. Cornell, praised the invention.
- The Lancaster Examiner heralded the invention as a "useful improvement...and is well worthy the attention of dairymen generally."
- A salesman’s sample is on display at the Mercer Museum.
- Smith was one of the first female doctors in Newtown after graduating from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania on March 16, 1867.
- Purchased property at 18 South Chancellor Street, Newtown in 1872.
- On this property she built a three-story house, using part of it for her practice.
- Deed found in Book 162, Page 360.
- Was very involved in her Quaker religion, attending the Wrightstown Monthly Meetings and hosting the first, First Day School (a missionary school) in Bucks County in her home in 1868.
- She is interred at the Wrightstown Friends Meeting Cemetery.
Adele W. Paxson
- Born in 1913 – Died: December 27, 2000.
- Married attorney Henry Douglas Paxson, a lawyer, in 1936.
- Henry’s family were the owners of Elm Grove Farm in Holicong, which he inherited in 1936.
- A patent from William Penn to Henry’s relative, Henry Paxson, was recorded in Book 2, in Page 196 in the year 1698 for this property.
- Henry added Adele to the deed shortly after they married, that can be found in Book 645, Page 23.
- It was at the Elm Grove Farm that Adele gained national recognition for her flat-racing thoroughbreds.
- She was an avid horsewoman since childhood, as an adult competing in the Devon Horse Show.
- Adele was also a philanthropist, supporting local cultural institutions.
- She was Chairperson of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, which her mother Helen Warden founded in 1934.
- Adele’s daughter Sally Paxson Davis was also Chairperson.
- She bequeathed $7 million for endowment and renovations.
- The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts was given $1 million by Adele as well, she was a founding supporter.
- Besides the arts, she was an advocate for farmland protection, donating 300 acres of conservation easements to the Heritage Conservancy in Doylestown.
- These donations came from her Buckingham and Solebury farms.
Anna M. Longshore Potts
- Born: April 16, 1829, in Attleborough (now Langhorne) – Died: October 24, 1912, in San Diego, California.
- Anna was in the first graduating class of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1852 at the age of 22 – She is believed to be the last surviving member of this class.
- After graduation Anna founded a profitable practice in Philadelphia.
- In 1857, she moved back to Langhorne due to health issues.
- This is where she met and married Lambert Hibbs Potts, a merchant.
- They had one son, Emerson.
- Anna traveled the world gaining a praiseworthy status as a lecturer and author.
- She published 3 books: Discourses to women on medical subjects (1887), Love, courtship and marriage (1891), The logic of a lifetime (1911).
- Her parents Abram and Rhoda Longshore had several other children besides Anna.
- Brothers Cary, Isaac, Thomas, and Joseph (who was also a doctor), and a sister Elizabeth.
- Her sister-in-law was Dr. Hannah Longshore (wife of Thomas), who graduated with her.
- Hannah’s daughter, Lucretia Longshore Blankenburg, was a suffragist, social activist, civic reformer, and writer.
- While Anne did not stay in the area, her brothers Cary and Isaac did and purchased property in Bucks County.
- Cary Longshore purchased property in Attleborough in 1849, 1854, 1858, and 1868.
- Book 77 on Pages 275, 276, 278
- Book 88, Page 530
- Book 101, Page 517 from
- Isaac purchased property in Middletown in 1854.