Military Evidence for Tennessee Ancestors

Many of the original land entries in Tennessee were Military Bounty Land Claims.  And while they were supposed to apply to the military land district only–along the Cumberland River in Middle Tennessee–claims on the land extended across eastern, middle, and into western Tennessee.

Availability of these extensive bounty lands led your ancestors to claim military service–even if they did not serve; or, even if they served on the wrong side; or, even if they served in the wrong state!   Even if, your ancestor was originally from Virginia, if he claims military service in North Carolina, for Tennessee lands, you can find him. By using the claim number with related document numbers, you can track your ancestor from Tennessee back to his home county in North Carolina.

What a great time it is to be searching for those difficult-to-find ancestors in Tennessee!

Military Bounty Lands: Located in Tennessee, under North Carolina laws

1780 Enlistment Act, 3,000 needed

– bounty land of 200 acres and a prime slave

– land awarded in Powell River Valley (East Tennessee)

1782 Military Claims Act, issue indents and certificates

– warrants issued for “duration of war” service to soldier or heirs

– Military District established along the Cumberland River in Davidson County

Privates, 640 acres

Non-coms, 1000 acres

Subalterns, 2560 acres

Captains, 3840 acres

Majors, 4800 acres

Surgeons, 4800 acres

Lt. Colonels, 5720 acres

Commandants, 7200 acres

Colonels, 7200 acres

Brigadier Generals, 12,000 acres

Chaplains, 7200 acres

Surgeon Mates, 2560 acres

– any soldier settled on military lands before 1780-, received 640 acres–called Pre-emption Grants.  Also included original settlers and other non-military persons living on Tennessee lands

1783 Military Warrants Act, register service with the Davidson County Entry Taker

1784 Extension Act, persons who served in the militia or died during settlement of Davidson County granted 640 acres.  152 persons are named in the law itself.

See Shirley Rice, The Hidden Revolutionary War Land Grants in the Tennessee Military Reservations. Lawrenceburg TN:  Family Tree Press, 1992.  See also the record abstracts of Dr. A. Bruce Pruit already referenced in previous Tennessee blogs.  Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle

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