West Virginia Land and Property

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  U.S. Land and Property  Gotoarrow.png West Virginia  Gotoarrow.png  Land and Property

Land Grants

In 1744 Virginia encouraged the settlement of western Virginia by offering land speculators 1,000 acres for each family they brought to settle the frontier. These speculators organized land companies, such as the Greenbriar Company and the Loyal Land Company of Virginia. These companies surveyed the land and sold the surveys to individuals who obtained title by patent from the Secretary of the Colony or, after 1779, from the Virginia Land Office. By 1754 over 2 1/2 million acres had been granted to land companies.

The first warrants for military bounty land in present-day West Virginia were issued in 1782 through the Virginia Land Office. Many soldiers sold their warrants to speculators who resold th
Kanawha west virginia.jpg
e land to others (see West Virginia Military Records).

After West Virginia became a state, the state government took possession of all unowned land and continued issuing grants. The original state land grants, sales, and surveys for West Virginia are located at:

Office of the State Auditor
Capitol Building
County Collections Division
Building-1 Room W-212
Charleston, WV 25305
Telephone: 304-558-2251
Fax: 304-558-5200

The West Virginia Archives and History Library has copies of these records. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of these records, including:

The office of the state auditor published an index of all identifiable grantees from 1748 to the 1900s in:

Sims, Edgar Barr. Sims Index to Land Grants in West Virginia. Charleston, West Virginia: E.B. Sims, 1952. FHL book 975.4 R21w, film 1036828 items 3-4 At many libraries (WorldCat) The grantees are listed alphabetically within the county that issued the grant. The actual grants are on microfilm (see above). Digital version at Google Books and at Ancestry.com($)

Information on boundary disputes and county formation data (including maps) is in:

Sims, Edgar Barr. Making a State: Formation of West Virginia. Charleston, West Virginia: E.B. Sims, 1956. FHL book Q 975.4 R2s WorldCat 1851901 This includes a supplement to the Sims Index (see above).

Transfers of Land between Individuals

Land transactions after the original patent was issued have been recorded in county deed books (often titled land books). You can obtain copies by contacting the appropriate clerk's office—usually the clerk of the circuit court.

The Family History Library has microfilm copies of the pre-1900 records for most counties. From Kanawha County for example, the library has 200 microfilms of lease records (1865-1906), release books (1866-1909), trust deeds (1855-1910), deeds (1790-1946), and homesteads (1874-1944).

Online Resources

Library of Virginia–Using the Collections

Sims Index to Land Grants in West Virginia

Early Land Grants and Settlers Along Patterson Creek