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Interpreting the Evidence

Simeon DeWitt, Map of New York, Military Tract, c. 1792

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Revolution and New Nation (1754 - 1820s)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Issues - Analysis & Decision-Making

  • Grade Level:

    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School

  • Topics:

    American Revolution
    Indigenous Peoples of North America

  • Primary Source Types:


  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Simeon DeWitt, Map of New York, Military Tract, c. 1802 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Simeon DeWitt's State Map of New York, Military Tract Detail (Onondaga), c. 1792

Historical Context
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.

Compelling Question
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?

Historical Challenges
What benefits do today's soldiers receive after they have served in the military? How do modern benefits compare with the benefits Revolutionary War soldiers received?