A portrait of our growing nation can be found on the map entitled “Map of the Northern Part of Missouri Territory” dating from around 1817. The war of 1812 had just ended and the country was growing westward into the new territories. The map shows the area around St. Louis well settled and a spray of just created counties spreading westward. Perhaps the map’s most interesting feature is the marking of regions in both Illinois and Missouri as “Military Bounty Lands.” Military Bounty Lands were areas set aside to be given to eligible veterans for their service in the war of 1812. These were created by three different acts passed by Congress on December 24, 1811; January, 11, 1812; and May 6, 1812. Under these acts, non-commissioned officers and soldiers serving for five years, or their heirs, would be entitled to three months pay and 160 acres of public land as compensation for their military service. The map is definitely a snapshot of a young nation growing and expanding.
Garth Tardy, Library Specialist, Special Formats