This chapter is based on the Township Patent Map of Washington Township drafted by the Tax Mapping Department of Westmoreland County. It shows the first landowners of land within the township-–in other words, the people to whom the colony or state of Pennsylvania transferred ownership of each tract.
The employees of Westmoreland Co. Tax Mapping Division produced one overall “Frontier Map 1783-1825” (see below) dividing the entire county into 353 segments. They then “zoomed in” and created two sets of patent maps: (1) a Township Patent Map for each township showing the segment of the 353 tract locater boxes located within that specific township (included in this atlas), and (2) further zooming in, they drafted 353 Detailed Tract Maps showing 4-8 original metes-and-bounds tracts superimposed over current road maps with some of each tract’s identifying information (available as a separate download for a nominal fee). We purchased all of their maps from the Tax Mapping Division of Westmoreland County and received copyright permission to publish them.
Information on the county maps is incomplete. For example, only the name of the person who received final title (known as the "patentee") is given, but we estimate that about 40% of the time, the patentee was preceded by an earlier owner (or "warrantee"). We therefore looked up each tract (about 4,000 of them) in the relevant Patent Book, Warrant Register, and copy of the original survey and corrected entries or added missing information. In all cases of discrepancies, we relied on (1) the Pennsylvania State Patent Registers for patent dates and size of tracts, (2) Pennsylvania State Warrant Registers for names of warrantees and their warrant dates, and (3) the images of surveys of each tract copied into Survey Books which have been scanned and posted online by the Pennsylvania State Archives.
Each chapter in this atlas covers one township as it currently exists and begins with the relevant Township Patent Map. Following the patent map, charts contain all of the information we were able to discern regarding each tract (names of the warrantee and patentee, or first owners; size of the tract; dates of the warrant and patent; Survey Book or Deed Book reference; and the patent books in which the transaction was recorded. We also added the number of the Detailed Tract Map(s) on which the tract appears. We also added copious footnotes that give additional details for these owners.
These land conveyances start in the 1760s when the western portion of Pennsylvania was opened for settlement and continue through the 1800s. Once the land was transferred from the government to private individuals, all subsequent sales were recorded in the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg, PA.
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