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Revolutionary War

Process for Receiving a Land Grant: Bounty Land

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This week is the final installment of this series. In the past four parts, I talked about the different aspects of getting a land grant – different ways to receive a patent, the entry, the warrant and survey with plat maps, and the patent. Today, I want to turn towards the State of Tennessee.

counties in the area that would later become Tennessee in 1790

State of Tennessee in 1790

During the Revolutionary War, the state of North Carolina was required to raise up troops for the Continental Line. Although the Continental Line was the army of what was to become the United States, individual states were responsible for supplying additional troops. It is important to note that this is separate from the state militias. Some states, like North Carolina, chose to entice men to serve on the Continental Line by granting land in areas that had not been settled, known as bounty land. For North Carolina, the land was in the far western parts of North Carolina in the area that would become the state of Tennessee. Not all soldiers who served on the Continental Line were eligible for bounty land. Only those on the Continental Line for no less than 24 months were eligible. (more…)

ExploreNC: July is Military History Month

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This July, the Government and Heritage Library is highlighting North Carolina’s military history at ExploreNC, and we’ve updated the Military History page to include links to many new resources, including information about the state’s early military conflicts. 

Check it out here:

ExploreNC: Military History (July)

As one of the original 13 colonies, North Carolina’s military history is deep, rich, and complex—and some of the battles fought in the early days of the colonies and the United States took place on her soil. Small but intense conflicts occurred in the colony’s early history, as rival factions, both native and colonial, vied with each other for space and control of the land. North Carolina was one of the last states to join the Confederacy, and it is during this time that the phrase “Tar Heels” gained popularity. You might still hear some old timers quote Walter Clark about the Tar Heels: “First at Bethel.  Farthest to the Front at Gettysburg and Chickamauga. Last at Appomattox.” Eighty years later, as World War II raged, the first class of African Americans to serve in the US Marine Corps began their training at the segregated Montford Point Base adjacent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Today, North Carolina’s land, sea, and airspace help to train many of the soldiers and sailors currently on active duty around the world. So, as we celebrate the anniversary of our country’s Declaration of Independence, take a few moments to learn a little more about the impact of North Carolina on our country’s military history.  read more . . .

Digital Collections: Help us solve this Revolution War mystery!

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Letters between Nathanael Greene and the Society of Friends at New-Garden, courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina. Click through to see in the North Carolina Digital Collections.

Letters between Nathanael Greene and the Society of Friends at New-Garden, courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina. Click through to see in the North Carolina Digital Collections.

A mysterious pair of letters appears in the May 24, 1790 edition of the North Carolina Chronicle; or, Fayetteville Gazette, and we want your help interpreting it! We came across the letters while browsing Guilford County materials in the North Carolina Digital Collections for our County of the Week series.

The letters, originally written during the Revolutionary War, reflect the difficult choice Americans faced during the war–between loyalty to the British crown and patriotism to their local community–and the they also speak to the difficult position of North Carolina Quakers dedicated to pacifism. Although the original letters are fascinating in their own right, we were curious about why they were reprinted in the newspaper almost a decade later. What related events might have been happening in North Carolina and Guilford County in the spring of 1790? What was the goal of the newspaper in reprinting the letters?

In the first of the two letters, Nathanael Greene, famous commander of the Southern Department of the Continental army (and, later, namesake of Greensboro) pleads for help from the Friends (Quakers) of New-Garden in Guilford County. Greene’s army had just fought one of the most important battles of the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, and Greene’s success at this battle turned the tide of the war in favor of the Americans. However, Greene’s army left to pursue the enemy towards Wilmington,  leaving behind its wounded soldiers at the Courthouse. Thus, Greene wrote the Greensboro Quakers begging them for help.

I address myself to your humanity, for the relief of the suffering wounded at Guilford court-house. . . . [Y]ou are generally considered as enemies to the independence of America; I entertain other sentiments. . . . I respect you as a people, and shall always be ready to protect you, from every violence and oppression. . . .

The British are flattering you with conquest, and exciting your apprehensions respecting religious liberty. They deceive you in both. . . .

Having given you this information, I have only to remark, that I shall be exceedingly obliged to you, to contribute all your power to relieve the unfortunate wounded at Guilford. . . . I shall be able to judge  of your feelings as men, and principles as a society.”

The Society of Friends at New-Garden’s reply, also reprinted in the newspaper a decade later, indicates that:

we shall do all that lies in our power; although . . . from our present situation we are ill able to assist. . .  as the Americans have lain much upon us, and of late the British have plundered and entirely broke up many amongst us. . . . but, notwithstanding all this . . . we have as yet made no distinction as to party and their cause, as we have now none to commit our cause to, but God alone”

What knowledge do you have to share about the original letter, and why do you think it was reprinted so many years later in the North Carolina Chronicle; or, Fayetteville Gazette?


If you’re interested in the history of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in North Carolina and the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, you might be interested in these titles from the Government & Heritage Library:

Copy of sketch of New Garden Quaker community, Guilford Co., North Carolina, time of battle of Guilford Court House (March 15, 1781), Digital Collections

Minutes of North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends  … (18721908, 1911-1912, 1915, 1945)

Babits, Lawrence E. and Joshua B. Howard, Long, obstinate, and bloody : the Battle of Guilford Courthouse (2009)

Hilty, Hiram H., New Garden Friends Meeting : the Christian people called Quakers (1983)

Newlin, Algie I., The Battle of New Garden (1977)

Revolutionary Pensions, Part 2

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cover from volume 3 of that 1835 pensions

Last week, I talked about Revolutionary War pensions, not including the pensions of 1835. This week, I want to talk about a source in our library for the 1835 pensions.

Between June 1834 and March 1835, the U.S. Senate passed 3 resolutions calling for a detailed list of all pensioners that have been placed on the federal pension rolls for all states. These were originally published in 3 volumes in Senate Document 514, Serial Numbers 249-251. It was rearranged and reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Company in 1968 in 4 volumes as Pension Records of 1835  and then for a third time with an index this time by Genealogical Publishing Company in 1992 and then finally reprinted in 2002.  (more…)

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