Thursday, January 13, 2011

Land Laws Virginia - Meritorious Service

The method of granting land for "meritorious service" was adopted to encourage military services in the Indian wars. [1754-1763] Governor of Virginia Robert Dinwiddie, on February 19, 1754, announced a Proclamation granting land to those who provided military services. Known as "military grants", these became official under the King's Proclamation of October 7, 1763 which stated:

"And whereas we are desirous, upon all occasions, to testify our royal sense and approbation of the conduct and bravery of the officers and soldiers of our armies, and to reward the same, we do hereby command and empower our governors of the said three new colonies, and all other our governors of our said provinces on the continent of North America, to grant without fee or reward, to such reduced officers as have served in North America during the late war, and to such private soldiers as have been, or shall be disbanded in America, and are actually residing there, and shall personally apply for the same, the following quantities of lands, subject at the expiration of ten years, to the same quitrents as other lands are subject to in the province within which they are granted, as also subject to the same conditions of cultivation and improvement..."

What a deal! Pay all the soldiers with land that was not already occupied. This would not cost the British government. This would not cost the colonies. As it would turn out, many large tracts of land ended up in Central Kentucky. At the time of this "Proclamation of 1763", the land grants were considered to be part of the colony of Virginia. All the grants were under the same conditions of "cultivations and improvement" given the previous post. This would be the foundation for much of the western expansion into the wilderness. More to come.

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