Lineage Society

Did Connecticut issue bounty land for Revolutionary War service?

Enjoy a final great question from our inaugural “Tracing Connecticut Revolutionary War ‘patriots'” program.

First of all, what’s bounty land? This finding aid from NARA offers a great brief description. In short, bounty land was a right to “public” land (owned by the state or federal government). It was issued to Revolutionary War veterans as a reward for their service. Some states offered bounty land for soldiers that had supported their cause.

Connecticut was not one of them, although you’ll still sometimes hear claims that Connecticut offered bounty land. What Connecticut offered was land in exchange for damages. This land located in Ohio, called the Firelands or the Suffers’ Lands, was supposed to recompense families who had their property burned by the British. The majority of the claims were not occupied by the original claimants. See the above cited resource at the CT State Library or this profile at Ohio History Central for more details.

Lineage Society

Did Connecticut pay state Revolutionary War pensions?

Another great question from our Revolutionary War program!

While some states – most notably Virginia – paid state level pensions to increase participation in the American Revolution, Connecticut did not. If your ancestor were to receive a pension for his military service from Connecticut during the American Revolution, it was paid by the federal government. The majority of these pensions have been digitized and are accessible with a subscription from Fold3.

Happy hunting!

Lineage Society

Did Connecticut pay supply taxes during the American Revolution? And did paying them qualify my ancestor for DAR or SAR?

Thanks to all who attended our Revolutionary War program this past Wednesday. We received some great follow up questions after the program and wanted to share the answers here.

While some colonies (now states) had taxes that were gathered specifically in support of the War, Connecticut did not. Instead, towns gathered taxes for the running of government as they always had. In some cases, they allocated a specific portion for the support of the Army. You can find out when and where this occurred by reading the town meeting records of the town where your ancestor resided.

The question of DAR/SAR qualifications is a complicated one. When these taxes were paid, it wasn’t stated that the money would be going to the Army. It was allocated afterwards. Therefore, it’s less clear whether someone with loyalist leanings would have objected to paying them. We’re still waiting for a ruling from DAR or SAR on this matter. If you do decide to submit taxes as service from Connecticut, be sure to find a secondary source.

How do you document that your ancestor paid these taxes? You’ll need to access and copy two sets of documents. First, you’ll need to access the section of the town meeting records that indicates the allocation of this money. In most cases, the town meeting records are held at either the State Library or the office of the local town clerk. If you can’t locate them, the State Library should be able to help. Second, you’ll need to access the grand list, the document that indicates your ancestor paid taxes that year. Many have not survived, but those that have are generally in the office of the town clerk.

Best of luck! And if you do submit this, please let us know how it goes.