The Military Tract in Illinois


The great bulk of early bounty land at the time of the Revolution was in Virginia, as it existed in colonial times. Since Virginia provided the great bulk of fighting men in the Revolution, the first bounty lands were to be located between the Mississippi, Ohio and Green Rivers in what is now Kentucky. However, this area did not provide enough land, and the Virginia Military Tract was established, which was in what is now the state of Ohio. Continental Army soldiers from Virginia were the only group allowed to settle in the Ohio area, while state soldiers were to use the lands in Kentucky.

In May 1812, an act of Congress was passed which set aside bounty lands as payment to volunteer soldiers for the War against the British (War of 1812). The land was set aside in western teritories that became part of the present states of Arkansas, Michigan and Illinois. Lands in Missouri were later substituted for those in Michigan, due to the undesirable nature of the bounty land there.

The Illinois Military Tract included the following Counties:

Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, McDonough, Mercer, Peoria, Pike, Schuyler, Stark, and Warren Counties. It also includes part of Henry and Bureau Counties, and those parts of Marshall and Putnam which are on the west side of the Illinois River.