John Atwood of Alton, Madison County, Ill., was active in the purchase and sale of land near Sioux City, Iowa. His transactions involved land that had been set aside for the benefit of the Iowa Agricultural College and Farm (now Iowa State University). The collection includes original land grant certificates issued to Atwood and William Leggett in 1869; warranty deeds and an indenture documenting Atwood's sale, and later repurchase, of tracts of land; and a receipt issued to Atwood's wife, Mary, from the Iowa Agricultural College. The collection also contains a State of Iowa Patent Certificate issued to John L. Blair after he purchased a tract of land from the Agricultural College.
Mary Blair Haxel of Cottage Hills, Ill., and Elizabeth Blair Sutton of Urbana, Ill., donated the collection to the Illinois Historical Survey in 2003.