This is a transcription of a little bound notebook in the Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg which is untitled but which contains invaluable information regarding the earliest western Pennsylvania settlers. This weathered account book holds chronological entries, presumably by the surveyor in charge, of the land tracts transferred from Virginia jurisdiction to that of Pennsylvania in 1779-1780. These transfers were made necessary because two of His Majesty’s colonies, Virginia (which then included West Virginia) and Pennsylvania, had engaged in a wrestling match over the territory. Pennsylvania eventually won when the Mason-Dixon Line was finalized in 1779, and Pennsylvania then gave surveys and patents “in pursuance of a Virginia Certificate” to those who could prove they had received the land from Virginia before the change in jurisdiction. Thus, when a Pennsylvania land tract states that it was received “under a Virginia Certificate,” its official transfer can almost always be found recorded in this ledger.
After the Revolutionary War, settlers had to take two steps to officially transfer their claims from Virginia to Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania agreed to secure the land tracts to the family who had originally settled on the land regardless of which colony issued the warrant. This required a 2-step process that apparently required two separate trips by the settlers: (1) obtain an official “Virginia Certificate” from Virginia certifying the legitimate right to the claim; and (2) have the claim officially recognized by having it entered into this “transfers” ledger by Pennsylvania officials. Then they had to pay a Pennsylvania deputy surveyor to come to the land and physically survey it. The Survey Book and page number were added in the margin of the ledger entries in a much later hand.
This ledger was first transcribed and printed in the 1894 Pennsylvania Archives (Third Series, Vol. III, pp. 483-573), but some entries were inadvertently left out. This transcription corrects that and adds the hundreds of annotations made in the margins of the notebook in the 120 years since the 1894 transcription was published.
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