Virginia Claims to Land in Western Pennsylvania Published with an Account of the Donation Lands of Pennsylvania
Clearfield Company is pleased to publish in the same volume two excerpts from the Pennsylvania Archives that would otherwise have escaped the notice of most genealogical researchers interested in Revolutionary War land grants in Pennsylvania. In 1754, the colonies of Virginia and Pennsylvania entered into a dispute over the ownership of what is today the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. At the time, Virginia’s claim, which was encompassed within the boundaries of Augusta County, embraced all of Pennsylvania west of Laurel Hill and included the present-day counties of Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and parts of Allegheny and Beaver. The dispute raged over the course of the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War–during which time frontier forts were constructed, rights for land were ceded by Virginia, and settlement waxed and waned–until commissioners for the two states of Virginia and Pennsylvania were appointed in 1780 to draw proper boundaries. Eventually, in 1784, new meridian lines were run confirming the present-day boundaries of the two states. The first of the two excerpts from the Pennsylvania Archives reprinted here, “Virginia Claims to Land in Western Pennsylvania,” is a complete list of Virginia land entries in the aforementioned Pennsylvania counties between 1779 and 1780. For each of the 1,300 entries we are given the date of the entry, the name(s) of the parties to the transaction, and occasional references to subsequent transfers of grants, the amount of acreage, and a landmark indicating where the land was situated. Preceding the land records is a fascinating history of the thirty-year dispute between the two colonies/states.
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