Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Central New York Military Tract
The United States Congress had already guaranteed each soldier at least 100 acres (0.4 km²) at the end of the war (depending on rank), but by 1781, New York had enlisted only about half of the quota set by the U.S. congress and needed a stronger incentive. The state legislature authorized an additional 500 acres (2 km²) per soldier, using land from 25 Military Tract Townships to be established in central New York State. Each of the townships was to comprise 100 lots of 600 acres (2.4 km²) each. Three more such townships were later added to accommodate additional claims at the end of the war.
The tract covered the present counties of Onondaga, Cortland, Cayuga, and Seneca. Most of these township names are reflected in current town names in these counties, but the area of the military townships do not correspond exactly with any of the modern towns, which only cover a fraction of the original townships.
The names themselves have been attributed to Robert Harpur, a clerk in the office of New York's Surveyor General, Simeon De Witt. Harpur apparently had an interest in the classical literature.
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