Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Marker Details

Historical Marker:

Military Tract

The marker is three miles south of Orion in the rest area on the east side of US 150.
No coordinates identified
Dedication Date:
Dedication By:
Illinois Department of Transportation and The Illinois State Historical Society

Marker Description:
Military land bounties were offered by the United States Government in the early national period to attract men into the Army or to reward soldiers for their services. Warrants were issued to the men for these bounties. One of the three tracts created to meet the warrants given in the War of 1812 was located in the State of Illinois, in the triangle between the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The Northern Boundary, which extended ninety miles east from the Mississippi, is one mile north of here and ninety miles north of the base line of the Fourth Principal meridian. The Illinois tract, surveyed in 1815-1816, contained more than 5,000,000 acres, of which 3,500,000 were allocated to military bounties. Comprising 207 entire townships, each six miles square, and 61 fractional townships, the tract included fourteen present-day counties and parts of four others. Soldiers of the War of 1812, who received 160 acres each, were required to locate their warrants by lottery. Most soldiers or their heirs decided, however, against moving great distances to take up thier claims. Instead, they sold their warrants to speculators. One company alone acquired 900,000 acres. Such large-scale land holdings aroused frontier hostility against absentee speculators. Squatters settled upon the lands, ignoring titles and rights. Many speculators were unable to realize a quick profit and , faced with ever-increasing taxation, lost their titles or sold their lands at a loss of money. Population growth, which was rapid in parts of the region from about 1823 to 1837, was retarded by conflicting land claims. Final adjustment of the claims was made only after years of litigation and much legislation.

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