The May 1779 Land Laws passed by the Virginia General Assembly authorized the selling of Treasury Warrants to be used for patenting “waste and unappropriated land”. After proof of payment was established, the Virginia Land Office provided a printed warrant specifying the quantity of land and the rights upon which it was due. No proof of prior military service or residency was requiring for purchasing a Treasury Warrant; the initial price was forty pounds for every hundred acres. Proceeds from the sale of the Treasury Warrants were used “to create a sinking fund in aid of the annual taxes to discharge the public debt”. Some Treasury Warrants were issued by special Acts or Resolutions of the Virginia General Assembly.
By declaring there were no limits on the number of Treasury Warrants that could be purchased, the Virginia General Assembly opened the door to land speculators and their agents. Multiple Treasury Warrants could authorize one single patent for thousands of acres.
This database includes all entries in the Virginia Treasury Warrants Register, Volumes 1 & II. Included are the names of persons purchasing Treasury Warrants, immediate assignees, acreage, cost of the warrant in pounds, shillings & pence, and the date the warrant was purchased. Treasury Warrant numbers range from 1 to 23082. Some warrant numbers were skipped; some warrant numbers were duplicated.
Under the terms of the May 1779 Land Law, no Treasury Warrant could be sold before October 15, 1779. On that date, our research indicates 1354 Treasury Warrants were issued. Treasury Warrant No. 1 was purchased by Leven Powell and assigned by Powell to Thomas Chinn. The Warrant allowed 1000 acres in one or more surveys; the cost of the Treasury Warrant was 400 pounds. Chinn used the Warrant to patent 1000 acres on Mill Creek, Harrison County, Kentucky. (Ref: Patent #3067, Old Kentucky Patent Series)
Treasury Warrants 2087 thru 2386 (300 in total, 560 acres each) were issued to Colonel George Rogers Clark for the purpose of recruiting his battalions in lieu of the bounty of $750.00. (Similar allocations will be added to this website as Acts & Resolutions are identified.)
Treasury Warrant No. 23082 was purchased by Richard Vernon. The Warrant authorized 920.5 acres in surveys; the cost of the warrant was 1473 pounds, 10 shillings. The Warrant was dated December 24, 1783. On that date a total of 1470 Treasury Warrants were sold.
As we identify patents in Kentucky that were authorized by Treasury Warrants, we are including patent series and patent numbers in the “Authorized” field. Treasury Warrants are found in the Virginia Series of Kentucky land patents (grants issued before Kentucky’s 1792 statehood) and the Old Kentucky Series. An asterisk * indicates the actual Treasury Warrant is recorded in the patent file. As these Warrants were issued by the Virginia Land Office for all vacant and unappropriated land, not just Kentucky, we suggest researchers contact the Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, for information regarding other patents authorized by Treasury Warrants.
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