Land Warrant for Abraham Lincoln's Black Hawk War Service, 16 April 18521
It is hereby Certified, that under the Act of September 28th 1850, entitled “An Act granting Bounty Land to certain Officers and Soldiers who have been engaged in THE MILITARY SERVICE of the United States”Abraham Lincoln Captain 4th Illinois Volunteers Black Hawk Waris entitled to locate FORTY ACRES at any Land Office of the United States, in one body, and in conformity to the legal subdivisions of the public lands, upon any of the public lands, subject to entry at private sale. Given under my Hand and the Seal of the Department, this16thday ofApril1852

J E Heath2Commissioner
Note. You can locate this Certificate at any of the United States land offices, or it will be located for you by the General Land Office on the return of it, with your request to that effect endorsed thereon, specifying the State and Land District in which you wish the location made. If you locate it, fill up and sign the following application.
To the Register of the Land Office at18
Locate this Certificate in thequarter of sectionin Townshipof Range

<Page 2>
[ certification ]
State of Illinois } ss[scilicet]
County of Sangamon
Be it known that on this day app[ear]ed before the undersigned an acting Justice of the peace for said County Abraham Lincoln to me known to be the identical person he represents himself to be & who after being by me duly Sworn deposes and say[s] that he is the identical Abraham Lincoln w[ho] was Captain of the 4th Illinois volunteers in the Blackhawk war and the Identical Abraham Lincoln to whom the within Land Warrant for 40 acres was issued and that he desires to locate the same in his own name3
A. Lincoln–
A M Watson4Charles Arnold5
[ certification ]
Subscribed & Sworn to before me this15thday of July 18546
Wm F. Elkin Justice peace7
1Abraham Lincoln signed his name in the certification of this document, which appears on the reverse side of the land warrant and is shown in the second image.
2James E. Heath signed his name and wrote the script that appears in the blanks on the land warrant form.
3It is unclear who wrote the script in this paragraph of the certification as well as the word “Witnisses.”
At the outbreak of the Black Hawk War, Lincoln volunteered for the Illinois state militia. On April 21, 1832, Lincoln and other men from the New Salem area were mustered into a company in the 4th Regiment of Illinois Mounted Volunteers, and the members of the company elected Lincoln as their captain. When his month of service ended, Lincoln re-enlisted twice, for twenty and thirty days respectively, serving as a private both times. He was finally discharged on July 10, 1832.
On September 28, 1850, the U.S. Congress passed an act granting certain groups who had served in the United States military during the Revolutionary War, any of “the Indian wars” since 1790, and the Mexican War parcels of public land. Per this act, the amount of land that veterans (or their legal heirs) were entitled to depended upon the length of engagement and actual time served. As this land warrant demonstrates, Lincoln was entitled to forty acres of public land for the time he served as captain of the 4th Regiment of Illinois Mounted Volunteers. This land warrant was subsequently certified by a land office in Iowa, filed with the U.S. General Land Office in Washington, DC, and a patent for land in Tama County, Iowa was issued to him.
Lincoln eventually received another 120 acres of land for his service during the Black Hawk War after a federal law passed in 1855 declared that all who had served in any U.S. war since 1790 were entitled to 160 acres of land in total. This 120 acres of additional land Lincoln received was located in Crawford County, Iowa, 144 miles west of the forty acres he held in Tama County. There is no evidence that Lincoln ever received any revenue from any of these bounty lands. After his assassination, since he did not leave a will, the forty acres of Tama County land passed in one-third equal divisions to Mary Lincoln, Robert Lincoln, and Thomas “Tad” Lincoln. The Crawford County land also passed to the remaining Lincoln family.
Muster Roll of Abraham Lincoln’s Company of Mounted Volunteers; Muster Roll of Captain Elijah Iles’ Company of Mounted Volunteers; Muster Roll of Captain Jacob M. Early’s Company of Mounted Volunteers; Ellen M. Whitney, comp., The Black Hawk War, 1831-1832: Illinois Volunteers, vol. 35 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1970), 1:176-78, 227-30, 544-46; “An Act Granting Bounty Land to Certain Officers and Soldiers Who Have Been Engaged in the Military Service of the United States,” 28 September 1850, Statutes at Large of the United States 9 (1862):520-21; Certification of Land Warrant for Abraham Lincoln’s Black Hawk War Service; Land Patent of the United States to Abraham Lincoln; Land Warrant to Abraham Lincoln; Certification of Land Warrant to Abraham Lincoln; Land Warrant to Abraham Lincoln; Land Patent of the United States to Abraham Lincoln; “An Act in Addition to Certain Acts Granting Bounty Land to Certain Officers and Soldiers Who Have Been Engaged in the Military Service of the United States,” 3 March 1855, Statutes at Large of the United States 10 (1855):701-2; Harry E. Pratt, The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln (Springfield, IL: Abraham Lincoln Association, 1943), 67-69.
4Abner M. Watson signed his own name.
5Charles Arnold signed his own name.
6It is unclear who wrote this script.
7William F. Elkin signed his name and wrote the script “Justice peace.”

Partially Printed Document Signed, 2 page(s), Vault, RG 49, Entry Unknown: Records of the Bureau of Land Management, NAB.