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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course United States Migration Patterns  by Beverly Whitaker, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Federal and State Military Bounty Lands

In 1776 the Continental Congress had passed a resolution, promising free land to officers and soldiers who continued to serve in the Revolutionary War (or if killed, to their representatives or heirs.) Acreage varied according to rank. Continental Congress passed an ordinance on July 9, 1788 which authorized the Secretary of War to issue land warrants to all eligible veterans upon application. Since these warrants were assignable, many were sold. In addition to these federal grants, several states promised land. Much of the land was located in Ohio, but other areas also were made available. Massachusetts offered land in Maine, and North Carolina offered land in Tennessee. The first bounty land warrants for the War of 1812 could be taken up in Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas. Not until after 1842 could War of 1812 warrants be taken up in other public domain states, and only after 1852 could they be sold or assigned.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course United States Migration Patterns offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.