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Military Bounty Land Warrants in the United States, 1847-1900 (ICPSR 9514)

Principal Investigator(s): Oberly, James W.


Between 1847 and 1855 the Congress of the United States passed four land warrant acts which granted 60 million acres of land to veterans and their heirs. The Pension Bureau determined the eligibility of these individuals and issued military bounty land grants for up to 160 acres. Most of these land warrants were issued before 1860, but the government continued to make grants through the remainder of the 19th century. Because of these Congressional acts approximately one in nine U.S. families received a land warrant for earlier military service. Families usually sold their warrants for cash to third parties who then presented them to the General Land Office as payments for parcels of public land. Variables include the number of acres awarded to the warrant recipient, the conflict in which the veteran served, his wartime military rank, his state of residence, the public land office where the warrant was located, the year the warrant was issued, and the type of military unit in which the veteran served. Information is also provided concerning the ability of the recipient to sign his name, the relationship of the recipient to the original veteran, whether or not the grant had been sold, and, if so, the name of the buyer.

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Study Description


Oberly, James W. MILITARY BOUNTY LAND WARRANTS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1847-1900. Eau Claire, WI: James W. Oberly, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire [producer], 1990. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1991. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09514.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09514.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    land distribution, land ownership, military service, nineteenth century, veterans

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1847--1900

Date of Collection:   

  • 1979--1988

Universe:    United States veterans and their heirs.

Data Type(s):    administrative records data


Sample:    Random sample of one-half of one percent of the total number of land warrants issued by the General Land Office by authority of the United States Congress.

Data Source:

Record Group 49, Records of the Bureau of Land Management (formerly General Land Office), National Archives and Records Administration: Military Bounty Land Warrant files, Acts of 1847, 1850, 1852, and 1855


Original ICPSR Release:   1991-05-03

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