Archiver > CENSUS-CHAT > 1999-07 > 0931320975

From: eddiejo <>
Subject: Re: [CENSUS-CHAT-L] {what is}Revolutionary War Bounty Land
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 1999 21:16:15 -0700

So, do you know what the cost of obtaining the micro film rolls would be?
I would be interested in putting them on the net. If the cost was not to high.
My definition of To high would be anything over 500.00.


> this is not directly census related but does provide a direction
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Revolutionary War Bounty Land
> A land bounty is a grant of land from a government as a reward to repay
> citizens for the risks and hardships they endured in the service of their
> country, usually in a military related capacity.
> By the time of the Revolutionary War, the practice of awarding bounty land as
> an inducement for enlisting in the military forces had been a long-standing
> practice in the British Empire in North America. Besides imperial bounty land
> grants, both colonial and municipal governments had routinely compensated
> participants in and victims of military conflicts with land. Land was a
> commodity in generous supply, and governments seized upon its availability
> for accomplishing their goals
> In their colonial tradition, the Revolutionary governments patterned their
> struggle for independence from Great Britain on the principle of bounty
> lands. They generally offered free lands in exchange for military service,
> but they strategically did so on the presumption that they would be
> victorious in their struggle. They would not actually award the lands until
> the war had been concluded and the British defeated. Such a policy not only
> imposed no financial constraints on the war effort but also insured a degree
> of support for the Revolutionary cause. The Revolutionary governments were
> cognizant that to the victor belonged the spoils and that defeat brought no
> reward. Bounty lands were an effective propaganda technique for enrolling
> support for the war among the citizenry and preventing them from lapsing into
> the British fold when the tide of battle ebbed.
> Those colonies with unseated lands used their advantage to enlist support for
> the cause with the offer of free lands. Unfortunately, some of the Original
> Thirteen enjoyed no such advantage. There was no bounty land policy in
> Delaware, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont. Those states
> lacked enough vacant land to support such a policy. Bounty lands were a
> feature, however, in Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York,
> North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. Administratively,
> these nine states selected reserves in their western domains for the location
> of bounty lands. Such a choice was seemingly quite logical. By placing
> veterans on the frontier, the states would be able to rely upon a military
> force which in turn would be able to protect the settlements from Indian
> incursions. These state governments also realized that they had to encourage
> the ex-soldiers to occupy their newly awarded bounty lands, so they granted
> exemptions from taxation ranging from a few years to life to those veterans
> who would locate on their respective bounty lands. Such a policy also had the
> effect of retarding the exodus of a state's population. Since most of the
> Indian nations had supported the British during the Revolutionary War, the
> Thirteen States were cautious in approaching their former enemies. Populating
> the frontier with citizens skilled in defense offered the best prospect in
> enticing other settlers to join them. Veterans were knowledgeable in the use
> of firearms and in military strategy. Knowing that they would be defended if
> the need arose was reassuring to many settlers. The state governments also
> realized that the revenue derived from the sale of vacant lands in the west
> was badly needed. The extension of settlements on the frontier would, in
> time, also increase the tax rolls and contribute to the reduction of their
> Revolutionary War debts. In the aftermath of the war, the states with
> transappalachian claims ceded some of those claims to the federal government,
> but not until they had the assurance of being able to fulfill their bounty
> land commitments.
> Accordingly, the issue of bounty lands has far wider geographical
> implications than the area encompassed by the nine state governments which
> instituted the practice. Besides the original states of Connecticut, Georgia,
> Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South
> Carolina, and Virginia, the future states of Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio,
> and Tennessee were directly affected by the bounty land system. While the
> administrative records were, with one exception, the purview of the former
> nine, the bounty land reserves involved the five transappalachian states. The
> states of Georgia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina
> either had no claims to transappalachian territory or relinquished their
> claims to the national government. Accordingly, their reserves for bounty
> lands lay within their own western borders. In the cases of Georgia and New
> York, these reserves were to be situated on the definition of their western
> borders as they existed in 1783. The bounty land reserves in those two states
> today would be described as being centrally located. The Commonwealth of
> Massachusetts allotted its bounty lands in the then District of Maine, which
> in 1820 achieved statehood status.
> While most of the states awarded bounty lands for military service, there
> were two exceptions. Connecticut compensated its citizenry with lands in Ohio
> if their homes, outbuildings, and businesses were destroyed by the British.
> The Nutmeg State seemingly awarded no bounty land for military service per
> se. Georgia also issued lands to its civilian population who had remained
> loyal, or at the very least neutral, to the Revolutionary cause after the
> British restored royal control. There were no Revolutionary War bounty land
> grants within the current borders of the southern states of North Carolina
> and Virginia. The former issued its bounty lands in its western lands which
> became Tennessee. The latter selected reserves for its bounty lands in
> Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio before ceding its claims to the federal
> government.
> The Continental Congress also made use of the policy of bounty lands. The
> federal government likewise selected a reserve in the Northwest Territory
> where bounty land warrants could be used to locate land. The U.S. Military
> Tract in Ohio encompassed portions or all of the counties of Coshochton,
> Delaware, Franklin, Guernsey, Holmes, Knox, Licking, Marion, Morrow,
> Muskingum, Noble, and Tuscarawas.
> With the exception of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the other states
> permitted qualified veterans and/or their dependents to receive bounty lands
> from both the federal and the respective state governments. Accordingly,
> there may be relevant bounty land files for soldiers in the Continental Line
> at both the federal and state levels. While New York made some adjustments,
> double dipping was the norm in the other states.
> Following the American victory at Yorktown in 1781, the various governments
> sought to implement their bounty land programs. The delay in establishing a
> governmental agency to fulfill the bounty land pledge holds dual benefits
> genealogically. Firstly, it increases the likelihood of the survival of a
> paper trail for proving Revolutionary War participation for many individuals
> who may not be mentioned in any other record. Secondly, because the benefits
> were still being processed as late as the 1870s in some jurisdictions, there
> may be a wealth of information pertaining to heirs in bounty land files. Not
> only do the records locate the veteran in time and place him in a given
> locality during the Revolutionary War, they also do so for him and/or his
> dependents in the years following independence when internal migrations
> within the nation complicate the identification of specific individuals in
> their various removals.
> The index to those claims appears in the Index to Revolutionary War Pension
> Applications in the National Archives (Washington, D.C.: National
> Genealogical Society, 1976). The federal bounty land records are included in
> the National Archives micropublication, Revolutionary War Pension and
> Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900, Series M804, 2,670 rolls.
> Abstracts of these files appear in the four-volume work of Virgil D. White,
> Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files (Waynesboro, Tenn.:
> The National Historical Publishing Company, 1990-1992).
> The appearance of an individual or family in the west after 1783 offers
> considerable challenge in learning the former domicile or in establishing
> filiation. A master index to the bounty land grants of the relevant state
> governments seemed to offer expeditious access to the records holding the
> potential solution to such a dilemma. While access to the federal records has
> long since been available in a master index, and while many localities have
> been treated individually by others works of varying quality, the absence of
> an overall index has impeded effective use of these significant records.
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