One of the most strategic and beneficial decisions made by the government during the Revolutionary War was to offer land bounties as a reward for military service. Not only did this encourage enlistment, but it also paved the way for westward expansion. By populating the frontier with military veterans able to defend against Indian incursions, they enticed new settlers to follow and buy land, helping to reduce Revolutionary War debts. Serving as President of Pennsylvania in 1787, Franklin issued this War Bounty Land Grant for a large plot in Western Pennsylvania to John Keaton, a private in the state's Army.
An important piece of early American history, this incredibly rare grant holds a beautiful example of the Founding Father's sought after autograph and a stunning intact large seal.
Partly-printed vellum DS, signed "B. Franklin."one page, 15.5 x 12.5, February 6, 1787. As President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, Franklin issues a land grant to "John Keaton private in the late army of the United States" who, "is granted by the said commonwealth... a certain tract or parcel of land lying in the county of Westmoreland... containing two hundred acres."
Beautifully signed below the seal on the left side by Franklin, complete with his hallmark flourish and paraph. The document ends, "In witness whereof His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esquire—President of the Supreme Executive Council, hath hereunto set his hand, and caused the state seal to be affixed," and is signed by James Trimble as a witness.
The large eight point seal above Franklin's signature is fully intact, as is the seal on the reverse. In fine condition, with expected folds, some wrinkles, and light scattered soiling.