Under the terms of the Proclamation of 1763, issued by England's King George III, soldiers who served in the French & Indian War and Lord Dunmore's War were paid with bounty land warrants. The soldier's rank determined the acreage awarded by the warrant. The warrants were used to obtain land patents.
The same principle of "land for military service" was used to pay soldiers of the Revolutionary War. Each colony determined the acreage per rank, requisite duration of service and location of its respective military district. The Military District for Virginia was located in southwestern Kentucky and southcentral Ohio. The Revolutionary War Warrants website contains information regarding military warrants issued to Virginia veterans prior to 1792 and all Kentucky patents authorized by those warrants, and the database indexes 4,748 bounty land warrants issued by Virginia to veterans of the Revolutionary War.
In 1818 the Jackson Purchase in Kentucky was acquired from the Chickasaw Indians. A number of Revolutionary War veterans or their assigns had settled in the area without clear title to their land holdings, and in 1820 the Kentucky General Assembly approved legislation that instructed the veterans or their assigns to proceed with the land patenting process. The West of Tennessee River Military Patents website includes information on 242 patents authorized by warrants issued under this legislation.
Military Land Office
On July 20, 1784, the Land Office for the Virginia Military District was opened near Louisville. Colonel Richard Clough Anderson was the Principal Surveyor for veterans serving in the Virginia Continental Line, and Major William Croghan and General George Rogers Clark were appointed Principal Surveyors for veterans serving in the Virginia State Line (or Militia). Due to the size of the Military District, a number of deputies assisted the Principal Surveyors.
In 1879 the Kentucky General Assembly abolished the office of surveyor of military lands. The "present incumbenf of that office" was ordered to send all books, papers and documents pertaining to his office to the Register of the Land Office "by the safest and cheapest mode of conveyance." 1879 Acts, Chapter 105, Article IV.
Please consult the frequently asked questions for more detailed information about military registers and land records in Kentucky.
Information regarding non-military warrants and the resulting patents is available on the Non-Military Registers and Land Records website.