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1769 John Lukens Signatures on Land - James Kerr and Thomas Doyle

1769 John Lukens Signatures on Land - James Kerr and Thomas Doyle


These are two colonial Pennsylvania Land Grant Warrants written in the names of the future Lt Thomas Doyle (1743 – 1786) and Private James Kerr (1725-1812) for an area in and around the Susquahana River. Below is information (included with your purchase) on how these land warrants were granted on the east side of the River Basin. 

An excerpt from the PA State Archives:

"On June 17, 1765 a new application system was implemented making a formal application the required first step in the patenting process. The new procedures also introduced a new type of warrant, called a warrant to accept, that was granted after a survey was conducted. Under the new system, the applicant was to appear in person at the Land Office in Philadelphia where his name, the date of application, and the description of the land were entered in a special application book. To curb speculation, each applicant was limited to a maximum of 300 acres."

After 1768, as more land was purchased from the Native American tribes in the area, these land grants were extended to the west of the river including the Muncy Creek area and Loyalsock Creek regions that are on these two warrant papers. Part of the reason for the granting of these lands was to prevent Connecticut settlers of the Susquehanna Company from moving further west into territory claimed by Pennsylvania. 

These are rare pieces of our colonial history with both Lt Thomas Doyle and Private James Kerr both soldiers in the Revolutionary War in the Pennsylvania militia and - in Doyle's case - in the Continental Army. (This paperwork will also be included in your purchase). 

John Lukens served as Surveyor-General of Pennsylvania and Delaware, 1761-1776, and of Pennsylvania, 1781-1789. Lukens' public position gained him a role in the team which surveyed the tangent line, middle point, and the 12 mile radius from the center of the New Castle Courthouse which formed the northern boundary of Delaware. These measurements, taken in 1762, were used by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in laying out the final Mason-Dixon line.

Lukens remained Surveyor General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania until the American Revolution. In 1776, he was ordered to close down the land office in Philadelphia and move to Lancaster where he remained until October 1778. Until 1780, the Pennsylvania land office was essentially shut down. In 1781, the General Assembly elected Lukens to his previous position of Surveyor General for a five year term, since the position was no longer an appointed one. In 1785, he was reelected and continued in the position until his death in 1789. John Lukens was not a soldier in the Revolutionary War but did lose his son Jesse (1748-1775) early in the war on December 28, 1775.

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