Did you know that much of the land in Ohio was originally designated as land grants for Revolutionary War veterans? Although I knew about the founding of Ohio in Marietta, until I moved to Westerville I didn’t know about the military land grants. Westerville is located in some of the original land grant area. It also turns out that I have an ancestor who moved to Ohio and was a Revolutionary War veteran.
As early as 1776, and again in 1780, the Continental Congress had resolved to grant bounty lands to officers and men of the Continental Line. Each state was responsible for seeing to the needs of soldiers in its own regiments. The new Congress under the Articles of Confederation (1781-89) had initially provided bounty lands for Continental Army veterans in the Seven Ranges (the land within 42 miles of the Pennsylvania Border), but this provision did not succeed in meeting the need. On June 1, 1796, Congress addressed the issue again, passing legislation that created the United States Military District (USMD).
Survey of the USMD began in March 1797. According to the provisions of the act, the land was to be divided into surveying townships five miles square (16,000 acres) with the township then divided into quarter townships of 4,000 acres each.
Bounty Land grants were given to veterans based on their rank. A Major General could get 1,100 acres of land while a Private could get 100 acres. A large section of land in Delaware County was given to General Thaddeus Kosciuszko. Tom and I saw a portion of this land when we did our scavenger hunt of Dublin. Kosciuszko was given a payment of $15,000 and a land grant of 500 acres for his services to the United States. The tract of land is known as “The Kosciuszko Lands” and is located on the east side of the Scioto River in Dublin. There is a Thaddeus Kosciuszko Park located on part of the land. Fun fact: Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Historic Site is the smallest site in the National Park system. Tom and I visited it a couple of years ago when we were in Philadelphia.
Most of the veterans who were awarded land in Ohio sold it cheap. They were not interested in becoming settlers in Ohio. Only 262 Revolutionary War veterans traveled to Ohio to live on their land. One of my ancestors, Jacob Fox, was a Revolutionary War veteran who applied for some of this bounty land in Ohio. Although we could find his application, we could not find a record stating that he received land.
Jacob Fox (Fuchs) was one of the Pennsylvania Germans who served with von Heer’s Provost Guard in the Revolutionary War. He enlisted when he was 14 with two of his brothers and several other friends from Reading, Pennsylvania. He served until 1783 when most of the guard was furloughed.
In 1800 Jacob, and some of the men he served with, emigrated to Ohio. They took a flatboat down the Monongahela to the mouth of the Scioto River. From there they took wagons to Pleasant Township in Fairfield County, Ohio. Although this land was close to the military lands, it was not in the district. In 1832 Jacob, some of his children, and some of these veteran friends moved to Hancock County. According to the Ohio Auditor’s Office, those veterans that held warrants but had not received land, could exchange the warrants for land anywhere in Ohio after 1830.
I am not sure if Jacob Fox was ever given any land as a result of his Revolutionary War service, but it is interesting to speculate. Tom and I visited Jacob Fox’s grave in Hancock County with Mom and Dad last week. Another piece of family history inserted into the puzzle of our lives.