I’ve written several times about bounty land in this forum because it is such a golden record group for genealogy research.
Today, I have a very specific example of what you can find in a Bounty Land Application File (can be obtained from the National Archives for $50). Yes, that’s a lot of money, but just look at what you can learn about your ancestor.
Who is Jacob Hollibush?
Jacob Hollibush (b. 1786, PA) served in the War of 1812 as part of the Pennsylvania Militia. His widow, Mary, applied for bounty land based on her deceased husband’s service in the War. When she received the warrant (certificate the holder applies to the cost of purchasing land in the Public Domain (all states except the Colonies, Texas & Hawaii)) she signed it over to my ancestor, Jonas Greenwood, who used it to purchase land in Kansas c. 1859.
And that pretty much summed up everything I knew about Jacob and Mary Hollibush until I got the application file his widow, Mary, submitted to obtain the bounty land warrant
Jacob Hollibush’s Bounty Land Application File
The story of Jacob & Mary Hollibush broke wide open when I obtained his Bounty Land Application File. In it, Mary had to document a) his service, b) his death, and c) proof of her marriage. In doing so, she submitted sworn statements from herself and her brother, who knew the couple and served with Jacob. These statement really told the full-throated narrative of Jacob & Mary’s lives. I couldn’t have asked for anything better!
In an unassuming land application file, here’s the golden information I learned:
- Jacob was born in 1785 in Pennsylvania. (birth date & place)
- He served in the War of 1812 from Oct 13 to Nov 22 1813 in the PA Militia under Captain May, Col. Stover; discharged in Little York. (service record, and place of discharge)
- Jacob married Mary in Little York, York, PA February 11, 1813, and no formal document of their marriage exists to her knowledge (marriage date & location, and first person knowledge about the record- or lack thereof)
- Jacob died October 10, 1854 in Cottage Grove, Dane, Wisconsin and is buried in nearby Jefferson Township (death date and place, burial information)
- Mary was born 1786 in Pennsylvania. (birth date & place)
- Mary’s maiden name Hake. (MAIDEN NAME. MAIDEN NAME)
- Mary has a brother, George, who served with Jacob in the War of 1812. (George received Bounty Land of 160 acres for his service.) (extended family, more land records)
About Jacob & Mary
- They lived in York with her father for two years after they were married. (residence)
- They moved to Howland Township, Turnbull County, Ohio, where they lived for ten years. (migration path)
- They, then, moved (October 1845) to Cottage Grove, Dane County, Wisconsin, where they remained until his death and where Mary remained thereafter. (more migration path dates & locations)
Viola! In less than a dozen pages, I have birth, marriage and death facts, a migration path (which is notoriously hard to find in this time in American History), military service, extended family relations, testimony that a marriage record doesn’t exist, and a maiden name.
Isn’t that worth $50?
Interestingly, it still leaves wide open the question of how my ancestor, Jonas Greenwood from Massachusetts who migrated to Kansas then obtained a bounty land warrant from Mary Hollibush who was born in Pennsylvania and migrated to Wisconsin, obtained the bounty land warrant from the Hollibushes. How on Earth did their paths cross?? Ah, but isn’t that the joy of genealogy?
Go forth and order your bounty land application files. Here’s the link to the forms on the NARA site. You want form 85. Treasures await!