Seneca County, NY


Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants

The first act granting bounty lands in New York was passed on March 20, 1781. This and other subsequent acts set aside land in the Finger Lakes region in central New York and was known as the Military Tract. Included were the present day counties of Cayuga, Cortland, Onondaga and Seneca and parts of Oswego, Schuyer, Tompkins, and Wayne. The Military Tract consisted of 60,000 acres and was divided into 28 townships, subdivided into farm lots of 600 acres. Each of these townships bore the name of a classical literary hero. Land was also purchased from the Onondaga Indian Nation and the Cayuga Nation in 1788 and 1789. Purchases were also made from the Oneida and Tuscaroras.
Upon the purchase of this land, New York held the balloting for the distribution of the land. The name of each veteran was written on a slip of paper and put into a box. The names of the lots were written on another slip of paper and these were matched with the veteran's name as they were pulled from the boxes. Letters of Patent were given to the veterans. The land was to be settled within seven years and certain fees such as surveying costs had to be paid. Four lots from each township were set aside for use of schools and churches, some were given or sold by the state to fufill other obligations.
Only a minor part of the land that was given to the Revolutionary War soldiers actually was settled by the veterans. Because of the time that it took for the state to get clear title of the land, many became impatient and sold their rights to land speculators.
The amount of land set aside for veterans was:
privates - 500 acres
chaplains - 2000 acres
captains and surgeons - 1500 acres
majors - 2000 acres
lieutenant-colonel - 2250 acres
brigadier general - 4250 acres
major general - 5500 acres

Township NumberNamePresent day county
1
LysanderOnondaga
Click here for Onondaga Co. Military Tract information
2
HannibalOswego
3
CatoCayuga
Click here for Cayuga Co. Military Tract information
4
BrutusCayuga County [now Weedsport]
Click here for Cayuga Co. Military Tract information
5
CamillusOnondaga
Click here for Onondaga Co. Military Tract information
6
CiceroOnondaga
Click here for Onondaga Co. Military Tract information
7
ManliusOnondaga
Click here for Onondaga Co. Military Tract information
8
AureliusCayuga Co. [now Union Springs]
Click here for Cayuga Co. Military Tract information
9
MarcellusOnondaga
Click here for Onondaga Co. Military Tract information
10
PompeyOnondaga
Click here for Onondaga Co. Military Tract information
11
RomulusSeneca
12
ScipioCayuga
Click here for Cayuga Co. Military Tract information
13
SemproniusCayuga
Click here for Cayuga Co. Military Tract information
14
TullyOnondaga
Click here for Onondaga Co. Military Tract information
15
FabiusOnondaga
Click here for Onondaga Co. Military Tract information
16
OvidSeneca
17
MiltonCayuga
Click here for Cayuga Co. Military Tract information
18
LockeCayuga
Click here for Cayuga Co. Military Tract information
19
HomerCortland
20
SolonCortland
21
HectorTompkins; prior to 1817, Seneca
Click here for Tompkins Co. Military Tract information
22
UlyssesTompkins [now Trumansburg];prior to 1817, Seneca
Click here for Tompkins Co. Military Tract information
23
DrydenTompkins
Click here for Tompkins Co. Military Tract information
24
VirgilCortland
25
CincinnatusCortland
26
JuniusSeneca
27
GalenWayne; prior to 1820, Seneca
Click here for Wayne Co. Military Tract Information - follow the link for Historical Articles
28
SterlingCayuga
Click here for Cayuga Co. Military Tract information

Please click
here for a map showing the location of the Military Tract in relation to the Phelps & Gorham Purchase and Watkins & Flint Purchase.
Please click here for a map of how the military tract was laid out.


Sources for Military Bounty Lands:
New York Area Key by Florence Clint [American Fork, Utah: Swift Printing, 1979]
Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants; awarded by state governments by Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck [Genealogical Publishing Co., 1996]
The Balloting Book and Other Documents Relating to Military Bounty Lands in the State of New York [Albany, NY: Packard & VanBenthusen, 1825; reprinted by W.E. Morrison & Co., Ovid, NY, 1983] (for lookups on this title only, please see Bibliography page.)

Background courtesy of ushistory.org
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c1998 Diane Lerch Kurtz