James Hill and His 400 Acres


Last night I found another record. It was nestled among the Pennsylvania Land Warrants, 1733-1987. The database I used was on Ancestry, but the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a site with even more details, and it’s free.

A James Hill is documented on Ancestry as having 400 acres of land. It was actually 426 acres, according to the notation in the books. That is quite a swath of land.

The warrant is dated July 19, 1792 and the land is located in Luzerne County. It may have been Northumberland County at the time. There are some named Jordan who also acquired land in Luzerne County, brothers-in-law and other relatives of James Hill through his wife Mary. The Jordans, except one, claimed land in November of 1789. That exception was John Jordan, who claimed land in August of 1792.

So what the heck is a land warrant? I was wondering the same thing myself.

“An application was a request to purchase a certain amount of land in a particular locality from the State government. The successful applicant received a land warrant from the State Land Office, and both the applications and warrants are filed in Record Group 17, Records of the Land Office, at the Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg.”

James returned the land on May 6, 1794, though why he did isn’t known. Nor do I understand how this ‘return’ process works.

I will be browsing through the records in other counties as well.


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