Donation land tracts occupied parts of the present day counties of Lawrence, Butler, Mercer, Venango, Crawford, Warren and Erie.The Donation Land records document the process by which these Donation lands were distributed to veterans of the Pennsylvania Line.In 1760 the proprietors issued a general warrant to survey for their own use all of the unsold islands in the Delaware, Schuylkill, Susquehanna and other rivers and creeks within the settled part of the province.The proprietors subsequently made special grants of these islands to purchasers who were willing to pay the highest price.The last section is a warrant register for riverbeds for the period 1848-1903 that provides similar types of information for the riverbeds.The General Assembly used the Purchase of 1784, or Last Purchase, as an opportunity to implement new land laws and procedures.William Penn occasionally granted islands as a special award for services rendered, as when he granted Thomas Fairman an island in the Delaware River in 1701 in recognition for his service as a surveyor.By the middle of the eighteenth century, developing industries made islands especially valuable.
Information given is the warrant date, warrant number, name of warrantee, number of acres, location, and terms of sale.
Land located west of the Allegheny River and Conewango Creek was set aside for Depreciation and Donation lands while land east of these rivers was opened to settlement as soon as preemption applications for squatters already living in the area between Lycoming Creek and Pine Creek were settled.
The initial sale of land in the eastern portion of the Last Purchase took place through the Northumberland Lottery.
Transcript of applications for islands giving the date of application, the name of the applicant, the acreage, and a brief description of the location.
The first two pages contain a copy of the return of survey for the twenty-five islands in the Schuylkill River that were originally warranted to the proprietors in 1760 and surveyed in 1763. Information given is date of the order, name of the applicant, county and township where applicant resided, county and river where island was located, name of the nearest property owner on shore, a description of the location, the names of the appraisers, the date the view and appraisal was conducted, and the date approved.
The southern portion of the northwestern land was offered for sale in 1785 as Depreciation Land to redeem certificates given to Pennsylvania's Revolutionary War soldiers to compensate them for having received pay in depreciated currency.