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Re: Military Warrants for Joel Harris
Posted by: Peggy Reeves (ID *****5798) Date: August 14, 2013 at 19:07:15
In Reply to: Military Warrants for Joel Harris by Kristina Harris of 6349

I find three different "Joel Harris" soldiers at the BLM site who received military warrants for their service. One from NY, one from NC, and the one you mention from TN. The one from TN does have two warrants based on his service, but his service was not in the War of 1812, it was in the Florida War, which was in 1836. Still think he is yours?

Soldiers received bounty land for their service in every war from the Revolution up to but not including the Civil War. that includes 1812, the Mexican War, and all of the various Indian Wars up to 1855. The Civil War did not give bounty land, but the Homestead Act was passed in 1862 which made all citizens eligible for free land if they agreed to move, live on it, and improve it. Soldiers were given priority.

Figure out which War your soldier would have been the right age to be in, and go from there. If he got land under one of the bounty land acts as the "warrantee", then he certainly does have a service record because he needed to prove his service in order to get the bounty land warrant. Soldiers often proved their service by mailing in their original discharge papers, which were then put into the bounty land application files at NARA and were not usually returned to the soldier.

The Joel Harris in the Florida War got two bounty land warrants, but sold both of them to other parties, noted as the "p" for "patentees" at the BLM site. The soldier is the "w" for "warrantee". In short, the soldier received a fancy certificate called a warrant which entitled him to exchange it for a land patent. Many soldiers, including Joel, sold the paper to someone else who wanted to move west. That other party then selected land they wanted and used the warrant to obtain a patent for ownership of it.

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