Life after the Revolution: Military Tract Map and Deeds
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Topic: American Revolution, Land Grants, Military Service
Skills: Interpreting Evidence, Geographic Reasoning
These documents show how Revolutionary War military tracts were dispersed and the names of first settlers to these areas.
Issac Samson and Hanyost Tewahongarahken sell their land in the Military Tract in Cayuga County, 1791. (Also see: Simeon DeWitt's map of the Military Tract)
These two deeds recorded in 1791 in Cayuga County document the sale of land originally given to Issac Samson and Hanyost Tewahongarahken, an Oneida Indian, for their service in the American Revolution. Their lots can be located on the Simeon DeWitt map of the Military Tract Lands in New York.
During the Revolutionary War, men who joined the Continental army were promised a minimum of 600 acres of land for their service. After the war, both the Federal and New York State governments granted to the veterans land in the central part of the State called the Military Tract. Over 1.5 million acres were divided into 28 townships six miles square and mapped by Simeon DeWitt. This tract in the Finger Lakes district included the present counties of Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Cortland, and portions of Oswego, Wayne, Schuyler, and Tompkins counties. The number of acres each man received was determined by his rank in the army. Each veteran drew a number that indicated the piece of bounty land he was to receive. Many who were granted land in the military tract had no intention of moving to a new location and sold their parcel to land speculators or other interested parties.
How does history impact our understanding of our sense of place today?
Check for Understanding
How did the Revolutionary War influence the settlement of New York State?
Compare the Simeon DeWitt map of the Military Tract to Google maps. List the names of the original townships. Who were they named after? How many of these names still exist today?
Research the involvement of the Iroquois in the American Revolution. What was their role in the war and how did the war impact each of the Iroquois nations?