In September, 1776, Congress had passed resolutions for the enlistment of soldiers to serve during the Revolutionary War, resolved that each state was to furnish its respective quotas, and that Congress should make provision for granting lands to the officers and soldiers who should thus engage in the service and continue therein to the close of the war, or until discharged by Congress, and to the representative of such officers and soldiers as should be slain by the enemy. The expense of said lands was to be borne by the states in the same proportion as other expenses of the war, and were to be granted in the following proportion:
To a colonel, 500 acres; lieutenant-colonel, 400 acres; major, 400 acres; captain, 300 acres; lieutenant, 200 acres; ensign, 150 acres; each noncommissioned officer and soldier, 100 acres.
Later, in August, 1780, Congress further provided that a major-general should have 1,100 acres and a brigadier-general should have 850 acres.
By resolution passed in the New York State legislature March 17, 1783, it was resolved to discharge the obligation of Congress, and in addition, as a gratuity to the said line and to evince the just sense the legislature entertained of the patriotism and virtue of the troops of this state, to grant to each noncommissioned officer and private, 500 acres; a captain, 1500 acres, and a proportionately larger amount to each officer of higher rank. This land was to be located in the central part of the state in the district reserved for the use of the troops of the state, and became known as “The Military Tract” and embraced all or part of what is now the following counties: All of Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Cortland and parts of Tompkins, Schuyler, and Wayne ‘ a total of 1,680,000 acres.