Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Virginia Land Laws (Part IV) Escheated Lands

Titles to lands previously granted [before 1704] were confirmed, whether duly recorded or not, but after that time all patents and the rights on which they were founded were required to be recorded. Patentees were required to seat [settle] and plant the granted lands within three years. Seating and planting meant the building of one acre. A failure to so seat and plant a grant within the prescribed three years meant a forfeiture of the grant and of the right on which it was founded. Time was extended to three more years in case of the death of the grantee. If lands were forfeited (escheated), they might not be patented to another for three years after the date of the first patent, and not then without an order of the general court. If any patented tract was found to contain more than the patent expressed, the patentee might obtain a patent for the surplus.

Every form (patent) contained a reservation of a fee rent (tax) of one shillings for every fifty acres and a requirement that the premises should be seated and planted within three years from the date of the grant. This fee rent (tax) for each fifty acres was the so-called quit rent. This "rent" was often waived for the benefit of the early settlers into an area which the Governor or Council felt beneficial to the colony. A Rent Roll of Virginia 1704 - 1705 was taken and described as : " A True and Perfect Rent Roll of all the Lands held by her Majesty in...(each county listed)" This account gives the owners and their acres of land patented in each county of Virginia for 1704. This reference is published in a book entitled :

"The Planters of Colonial Virginia", by Thomas Wertenbaker, Princeton University Press, 1922. It is a tax record and land record of all Virginia that had been settled up to this point. This record is an invaluable resource for the genealogist who has reached this date in their family tree climbing.

Escheated lands were forfeited or lapsed lands. This term appears in many of the records during this period.

No comments:

Post a Comment