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United States Gotoarrow.png U.S. Military Gotoarrow.png War of 1812 Gotoarrow.png Bounty Land Warrants

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

General Background[edit | edit source]

In 1812 the federal government reserved a total of 6 million acres of the public domain land for War of 1812 veterans.  Initially, public domain land was offered as an incentive to serve in the military and later as a reward for service and could be claimed by the veteran or his heirs.

Between 1812 and 1842, these districts were located in Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas. 

   Cgmills  add more later
For further details refer to Hawkins, Kenneth, comp., Research in the Land Entry Files of the General Land Office, Reference Information Paper 114, (Washington, DC, NARA, Revised 2009)

How veteran/heir obtained federal bounty land[edit | edit source]

1  A veteran or his heir applied for a bounty land warrant at local courthouse.

2  If granted, the veteran was issued a warrant or script which could be exchanged for the purchase of  a      certain number of acres of land in one of the bounty land districts set aside for War of 1812 veterans. 

3   Having received notification of the land warrant number, the veteran could then apply for a land patent which granted him actual ownership of the land.   The application and supporting papers were not actually given to the veteran, rather a "Bounty Land Warrant File" was created and kept by the federal General Land Office or in the respective state agency.

Some of the original colonies and eastern states also sold land and awarded military bounty land warrants; for these records contact the appropriate state archives or historical society.

Cgmills check out the War of 1812 state wiki pages under "bounty land records" to see if we have referred the reader to these archives/historical societies.   If not, perhaps we can track down where these items can be found in each of these 8? states

For more information regarding application process and records generated hereby, refer to McFarland, Jan Bishop Bounty Land Warrants for Military Service in the War of 1812 (Accessed 26 July 2012).

Record Information and Components[edit | edit source]

Abounty land application typically provides the veteran's name, age, military unit, place of residence, term of service and, if applicable, the name of the veteran's widow or heir.

Bounty land warrant files should contain the issued warrant, letter of assignment (if he transferred his interest in the warrant to another person), and other pertinent papers.  Thewarrant itself should include the name of the veteran, his rank at discharge, his branch of service and date the warrant was issued.  Documents contain information similar to the pension files and include the veteran’s age and place of residence at the time of the application.   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.

Federal Legislation and Land Location[edit | edit source]

The majority of bounty land acts were those of 1812 (2 stat 278) which resulted in state value patents and scrip acts of 1847, 1850, 1852 and 1855 which yielded military land patents. 

~~As a result of the federal Bounty land act of 1812 (2 stat 278), warrants were granted to War of 1812 soldiers (in addition to Revolutionary War veterans).  These warrants were exchanged for state value patents issued for the purchase of land located in the military land reserves of Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas. The land patents for Illinois and Missouri were issued between 1817 and 1819, while those in Arkansas were not issued until 1819. 

Following the passage of federal legislation in 1842 (2 stat......), veterans/heirs who qualified to receive federal bounty-land warrants or scrip could purchase acreage in any public domain land that lay west of the Mississippi River, north of the Ohio River and west of Pennsylvania and in the states of Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi (excluding of Texas and Hawaii). This and subsequent scrip acts passed in 1847, 1850, 1852, and 1855 led to the purchase of military land patents in these areas.
See the map below general  land location in these states. 

The federal government gave no bounty land for military service after 1855, although some in progress land dealings were not finalized until later years. 

Finding Bounty Land Warrants and Case Files[edit | edit source]

Bounty land records often contain documents similar to those in pension files, with lots of genealogical information. Many of the bounty land application files relating to the War of 1812 service have been combined with the pension files. Bounty Land application files are housed at the National Archives.

Each warrant  was issued a identification number . between ...  and ... 

When warrant information is listed on the veteran's military pension application it consists of three distinct parts: the original warrant number, the number of acres granted, and the year the act was passed. ( Cgmills use WPG # as example .......... 50 represents 1850)


Some of these records have been microfilmed, War of 1812 Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858, NARA Series M848- 14 rolls, and are indexed on roll no. 1 for assignees in the Arkansas and Missouri military districts. 

Indexes[edit | edit source]

General Land Office records, kept by the Bureau of Land Managment,  can be searched by name for warrants and patents issued to War of 1812 veterans under a variety of bounty land acts passed between 1812 and 1855.  

   What about unindexed records and cancelled and relinquished case files??? Refer to  tract books at GLO-ESO headquarters.

Records[edit | edit source]

Some bounty land warrants for the War of 1812 have been microfilmed.

  • War of 1812, military bounty land warrants, 1815-1858 (The National Archives, Washington, D.C.) FHL Film 15 Microfilm reels
    . A description of these records can be found at Internal link to wiki page

~~Warrant Applications are indexed and can be found in Record Group 15 ~~ remember to also have "unindexed" files searched ~~ What about land-entry case files found in Record Group 15???Are these synonymous?

    Script files from 1830 in Record Group 49???? 

~~But if name of warrantee does not appear in index, search the War of 1812 Pension Application Index. War of 1812 bounty land applications are no longer kept separately but have been placed in their respective pension files, . ADD LINK

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. (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.

Copies of Bounty Land Warrant Applications for Federal military service before 1856 can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 85. Select "Order Reproductions" and then select "Military Service and Pension Records".

~~ADD Link to explanation of order options form 85a,b,c,d

Categories of War of 1812 pension/bounty land files available using NATF Form 85:

  • A complete Federal pre-Civil War military pension application based on Federal military service before 1861 (includes the Pension Documents Packet.)
  • A pension document packet that contains reproductions of eight documents containing genealogical information about the pension applicant, to the extent these documents are present in the file.
  • A complete military bounty land application file based on service 1775-1855 (includes only rejected Revolutionary War applications).

[edit | edit source]

Other Resources[edit | edit source]

Consult the following for  more information about bounty land records:

Bounty Land Warrants by Conflict[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]



Additional Records[edit | edit source]

  • 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. 

The following sources are also helpful:

  • Christensen, Katheren, compiler. Arkansas Military Bounty Grants,War of 1812. Hot Springs, Arkansas: Arkansas Ancestors, 1971. (FHL book 976.7 R2c) (Worldcat) 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.

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

Copies of Bounty Land Warrant Applications for Federal military service before 1856 can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 85.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]