Monday, April 11, 2011

Bounty Land Records - Military Monday

David and Mary Reed were my fourth great grandparents. I have written here and here about my search for more information on David's service in the War of 1812. I have received David's pension file, or rather, his wife's widow pension and from those documents I learned that David and Mary had received land from the government due to his service in the military, known as bounty-land warrants. Bounty-land warrants were tracts of land issued by the government to entice volunteers to enlist in the military as well as to reward those that did serve. Mary filed for her widow's land in April 1858 under bounty land warrant act March 3, 1855.

Recently I received a copy of Mary's bounty-land file, which I requested through the National Archives (using Form 85C). Similar to the widow's pension file, this packet of documents is a wealth of information. It included the following documents:

- "Form of Declaration: To be made by the widow of a deceased person who has had a land warrant, and desires another." Long name for a great form. It includes the couple's marriage date and location, her MAIDEN name (score!), death date for David and her signature.

- A declaration from Mary's mother, Elizabeth Bryan, and her sister, Esther Morris, attesting to her marriage to David Bryan.

- A copy of a sworn statement by David Reed that outlines his military service to include when and where he enlisted and what companies he served in.

I was not originally going to order these documents, I mean, how much money do I need to give the National Archives anyway...seems like I am constantly ordering things from them. But Mary's widow pension file referenced her bounty-land warrant many times as providing proof of her marriage so I had to order it. The bounty-land warrant documents have now provided me proof of her marriage to David in December 1820, her maiden name and her mother and sister's names. I had found family trees online that listed Mary's maiden name as Bryan and now I have documentation for that. The cost of the copies was $25. Money well spent.

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