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I have an ancestor who was the recipient of land in Bedford County, TN, pursuant an Act of the General Assembly of the aforementioned state passed on November 2 1847. I would like to know what that Act was and what it stipulated (what was the basis for the land grant)?

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I think the Act that you are looking for is probably An Act further to provide for the Occupant Settlers, south and west of the congressional reservation line, and for other purposes, which was passed by the General Assembly on November 2 1847.

The full text of the Act can be found in Acts of the state of Tennessee passed by the General Assembly, for the Years 1847-8, Chapter XX, pp50-51, which is available to view and/or download from archive.org and is reproduced below:


An Act further to provide for the Occupant Settlers, south and west of the congressional reservation line, and for other purposes

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee That from and after the passage of this act, any person or persons, their heirs or assigns, who may, by any former acts of the Legislature of this State, be entitled to any of the vacant and unappropriated lands in this State, lying South and West of the Congressional Reservation line, and North of Winchester's line, by occupancy or pre-emption right, shall have the preference and priority of entry, until the first day of September, 1849, and may, at any time within the term aforesaid, enter his,her, or their claim or claims, or any part thereof, by paying to the Entry-Taker of the county, in which said land may lie, the fees that are now allowed by law to the Entry-Taker, Surveyor, Register, and Secretary of State, in obtaining grants.

SEC. 2. Be it further enacted That if any person or persons who may be entitled to any right of occupancy, under any former act of the legislature of this State, shall not, on or before the first day of September, 1849, enter his, her, or their occupant claim, according to the provisions of the first section of this act, then it shall and may be lawful for any other person to enter the same by paying the fees aforesaid.

SEC. 3. Be it enacted That so much of the act of eighteen hundred and forty-two, chapter thirty-four, section five, as relates to the payment of twelve and one half cents per acre, and so much of the act of eighteen hundred and forty-five, chapter eight, and section two, as relates to the sale of the vacant and unappropriated lands, be, and the same are hereby repealed.

SEC. 4. Be it further enacted That any of the vacant lands, not claimed by Occupancy or pre-emption right, may be entered in the same way that vacant lands are now entered. North and East of the Congressional Reservation Line.

SEC. 5. Be it further enacted That where any person Proceeding is claiming land by right of occupancy and has not a plat and certificate, nor a regular transfer of plat and certificate, from an original claimant, on satisfactory proof being made to the Entry Taker of the county in which said land is situated, that said person, so claiming, has had the peaceable and uninterrupted possession of said land, by right of ownership, either by himself or tenant, for three years Immediately preceding the passage of this act, or the time of application for his plat and certificate, it shall be the duty of the Entry Taker to so certify, and upon such certificate, grants may issue, by the person so claiming, paying the fees.

SEC. 6. Be it enacted That in all cases where the owner of such occupant has heretofore had the same surveyed, and designated in the Entry Taker's office, of any of the offices aforesaid, it shall not be necessary to have any resurvey.

F. BUCHANAN,

Speaker of the House of Representatives

J.M. ANDERSON,

Speaker of the Senate.

Passed, November 2d, 1847


Without knowing more, it isn't possible to say very much about individual cases.

The Tennessee Encyclopedia has a page on Land Grants which provides a great deal of useful background information on the subject.

Additionally, the guide to Early North Carolina / Tennessee Land Grants at the Tennessee State Library and Archives from the Tennessee State Library and Archives also has a lot of background information which you may find useful / interesting (including a detailed description of the actual process involved in registering the grants). As they observe in their guide:

Early Tennessee land acquisition is probably more complex than any other state because of the different governments and the time involved in processing grants.


In short, the original land grants had primarily been made to those who fought in the Revolutionary War, military suppliers during that conflict (in lieu of payment), and to new settlers. The right of those settlers were protected by the State of Tennessee's first constitution.


To add one further layer of complication, many of those land grants were made by the State of Tennessee, but actually honoured earlier promises made by North Carolina under the terms of the 'Compact of 1806' between the United States government, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

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