US War of 1812 Bounty Land Warrants

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Finding the Records[edit | edit source]

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Digital Images of NARA 829 Microfilm[edit | edit source]

Ordering Records from the National Archives[edit | edit source]

War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858[edit | edit source]

Bounty Land was issued to non-commissioned officers and soldiers who served for at least 5 years. The first act issuing land was passed on the 24th of December 1811. All warrantees received 160 acres. A second series of warrants related to soldiers who enlisted after December 1814. The second series of warrants was for 320 acres of land. The land was located in one of three districts in Arkansas, Illinois or Missouri. Prior to 1842 the warrants could not be used outside these three districts and could not be sold or assigned until after 1852. The warrants could be passed on to heirs through inheritance. Some of the warrants list the name of the heirs and their relationship to the deceased veteran. The last warrant
was issued in 1858.

The Congressional Acts that authorized giving veterans of the War of 1812 to apply for bounty land are:

  • Act of 1811
  • Act of 1812
  • Act of 1814

The following are the requirements listed from 1812-1815, to be eligible to obtain bounty land for military service:

  • Enlisted men serving for five years or duration of the war but did not include officers
  • It was for 160 acres, or 320 for those enlisting December 1814
  • These warrants could not be sold or assigned to others; although power of attorney helped in getting around this limitation
  • Warrants had to be used in designated districts in Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas
  • Soldier could only select district but could not pick the plot.

Information Found in Bounty Land Warrants[edit | edit source]

The warrants were kept in books similar to a stub checkbook in use today. The War Department issued the warrant by filling in the name, rank, company & date in the appropriate blanks on the warrant certificate and the stub. The warrant was then signed and torn out of the book, leaving only the stub as a record. Later the actual warrants were retained and a soldier merely received notification that a warrant
had been issued in his name.

The bounty warrants usually contain:

  • Name of veteran
  • Rank
  • Company
  • Regiment
  • Date of warrant
  • Date land was located
  • Details on land and where it is located
  • State where land was located
  • Possibly information widow and children
  • To whom the warrant was sold or assigned

Veterans were offered a total of 6 million acres of bounty land in Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, and later, Missouri. Starting in 1852 bounty land warrants were also awarded outside these assigned districts. Warrants for the acts of 1812, 1814, and 1842 (excluding the general bounty land acts of 1850, 1852, and 1855) are reproduced in the following: War of 1812, military bounty land warrants, 1815-1858

  • War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858. (NARA M848) The records usually contain the veteran’s name, rank, company, and regiment; the date the warrant was issued; and the date the warrant was exchanged for a specific parcel of land. The warrants are arranged numerically by warrant number and then chronologically.

"Unindexed" Bounty Land Applications[edit | edit source]

Not all bounty land applications are found in the pension file collection mentioned above because some applications were cancelled because the applicant did not qualify. If the applications were not approved, they would be found in:

  • "Case Files of Bounty Land Warrant Applications Based on Service Between 1812-1855 and Disapproved Applications Based on revolutionary War Service" Commonly called Unindexed Bounty Land Applications
  • Includes rejected pension applications
  • Includes approximately 360,000 application files

Partially indexed in:

Obtaining the Record

Location of Bounty Land[edit | edit source]

The land given to soldiers who served in the War of 1812 was Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas,

  • War of 1812 pensioners living in Arkansas during the 1880's : abstracted from the executive documents, (Cullman, Alabama, Gregath 198?) pages 33 FHL 976.7 M2
  • Name index to Pay Rolls of Militia Entitled to Land Bounty Under the Act of Congress of Sept. 28, 1850 and its supplement, Muster Rolls of the Virginia Militia in the War of 1812. Approximately 40,000 names are indexed. 
  • Christensen, Katheren, compiler. Arkansas Military Bounty Grants, War of 1812. Hot Springs, Arkansas: Arkansas Ancestors, 1971. (FHL book 976.7 R2c) (Worldcat) - Has a list of 6,600 grantees, arranged by county name; Contains the name of the veteran, date, and warrant number.
  • Dunaway, Maxine, compiler. Missouri Military Land Warrants, War of 1812. Springfield, Missouri: Maxine Dunaway, 1985. (FHL book 977.8 R2d) (Worldcat) Lists the name of purchaser, section, township, range, warrant number, patent date, book, and page.
  • Military Land Warrants in Missouri, 1819: An Alphabetical Index of Missouri Patentees. 1858. Reprint, not published, 1988. (FHL book 977.8 R2ml) (Worldcat) Lists the date, name of patentee, land warrant number, regiment, and land description.
  • Rose, Christine. Military Bounty Land 1776 - 1855. (San Jose, California: Cr Publications, c2011). FHL Book 973 M27
  • War of 1812 Bounty Lands in Illinois. Thomson, Illinois: Heritage House, 1977. (FHL book 977.3 R2w; film 1035624 item 7; fiche 6051272) A reprint of Lands in Illinois to Soldiers of Late War. (26th Congress, 1st Session, 1840. House Doc. 262.) These records are arranged by date and include number of warrant, name of patentee, rank, description of the tract, and to whom delivered.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]