US Military Bounty Land Warrants
Bounty Land Warrants
The federal government provided bounty land for those who served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and Indian wars between 1790 and 1855. It was first offered as an incentive to serve in the military and later as a reward for service.
Bounty land could have been claimed by veterans or their heirs. The federal government reserved tracts of land in the public domain for this purpose. The states of New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia also set aside tracts of bounty land for their Revolutionary War veterans.
A veteran requested bounty land by filing an application at a local courthouse. The application papers and other supporting documents were placed in bounty land files kept by a federal or state agency. These documents contain information similar to the pension files and include the veteran’s age and place of residence at the time of the application. If the application was approved, the individual was given either a warrant to receive land or scrip which could be exchanged for a warrant. Later laws allowed for the sale or exchange of warrants. Only a few soldiers actually received title to the bounty land or settled on it; most veterans sold or exchanged their warrants.
Bounty land applications and warrants for the Revolutionary War and some warrants for the War of 1812 have been microfilmed. They are available at the Family History Library and are described in this set of Wiki pages for those wars. Bounty land files, including those not microfilmed, are available at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., in Record Group 15, Records of the Veterans Administration.
For more information about bounty land records, the following sources will be helpful:
- Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives. Rev. ed. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Record Administration, 1985. (FHL 973 A3usn 1985.) See chapter 8.
- Hone, E. Wade. Land and Property Research in the United States. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1997. (FHL book 973 R27h.) See chapter 9, pages 115–26.