The Norman Transcript


June 29, 2014

Lawyer closing the door on examining Norman’s history

NORMAN — A piece of land, like a family, has a history. But unlike a family’s genealogy, what happens to that property is well documented. Ownership changes. Plats. Mortgages. Restrictions. Covenants. Probates. Liens. Foreclosures. Divorces. The instruments are all on file at the courthouse.

Carl McFarland knows them well. By his own estimate, he’s examined about 25,000 abstracts in his legal career.

“I probably missed a few but it’s at least that many,” says McFarland, 72, one of only a handful of local attorneys whose practice area is primarily to examine titles to property and give ownership opinions for clients like banks and abstract companies. “I make a living but I don’t hit a lot of home runs,” he says of the work which can be tedious and stressful. There’s yet to be a television show about the exciting work of title attorneys.

He’ll lock the door at his Eufaula Street office next week, closing shop on 42 years of representing clients through Norman’s booms and busts. A retirement reception, with clever invitations that looked like a page from an abstract, was held at Legends Times Two, legally known as (Lot 3, Block 10, of Defective Title Addition, located in the City of Norman, Cleveland County, Oklahoma, according to the recorded plat thereof.)”


“I decided to kind of hang it up while I’m still healthy,” he said. “It’s getting busier and everybody’s in a hurry these days.”

The quick turnaround demands put added stress on the abstract reader who is making sure the property really belongs to the seller and there are no hidden mortgages, liens or missing heirs that will surface after closing.

“You could be reading something and you could miss a mortgage and you would pay for it,” he said.

McFarland can name most of the city’s developed additions and the city’s founding fathers. The courthouse records are a treasure trove of information about our city’s past and he’s visited them often.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Sign petition to put shelters in schools

    Every successful grassroots initiative requires a plethora of volunteers who are willing to do whatever it takes, and the movement to build storm shelters in every Oklahoma public school is no different....

    August 2, 2014

  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014