From time to time, we will be doing a detailed history of some of the artifacts in our collection. This week, we will be talking about the 1818 Land Grant signed by President James Monroe:
In May 1812, Congress passed a law which set aside land as payment to soldiers who fought in the War of 1812. This land was located in the present states of Arkansas, Michigan and Illinois. The Illinois land was called the Central Military Tract and was located in the western part of the state between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. It included present day Henry County. The Central Military Tract was surveyed in 1816. The land was then given to the War of 1812 veterans. By law, the President of the United States was required to sign all Central Military Tract land grants.
This particular grant was issued to Francis Graves of New York and signed by President James Monroe. Mr. Graves was a sergeant during the War of 1812. For his service, he was given 160 acres in Henry County, Illinois. This acreage is located in the northeast corner of Section 28 in Weller Township, southwest of the future Bishop Hill Colony.