Revolutionary War Pensions and Land Grants – The Fine Print

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Digging through all of the Revolutionary War pensions I have noticed several differences and decided to do a little research on the pension itself for the reasons. As usual when dealing with the government there are a lot of and, ifs and buts. Many of those submitting claims could neither read or write, it is no wonder that there were so many lawyers engaged to help write letters and sort things out.


There were three types of pensions that were given, each with separate rules and regulations, they were invalid, service and widows pensions. From the looks of things as time went on the rules kept changing.


The children of some of the soldiers in my files were going after the pensions of their father after their mother’s death. These “children” were usually in their seventies when petitioning the government for money. One family tried, unsuccessfully for a year from 1855 to 1856, and made claim that the money owed amounted to over $3,000.


The estimate for the number of pensions granted in 1818 was 20,485 soldiers. The number leaped to 33,425 in 1832.


On September 16, 1776, land grants were allowed to be given to officers and soldiers who had served or were serving. Heirs were also allowed to claim land from this grant. Noncommissioned officers and soldiers could claim 100 acres, ensign, 150 acres, lieutenants 200 acres and other officers up to 500 acres for a colonel. In 1780 the law stated that generals could claim land from 850 acres to 1,100 acres depending on their rank. By 1855 Congress authorized 160 acres per soldier, despite rank.


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