Town of Newburgh History

William S. Halstead’s War of 1812 Land Warrant

By Alan Crawford
Posted 6/20/24

One of the things being done at the Rossville Cemetery is compiling a list to document all the veterans interred there. Time is being taken to ensure each one is correctly identified and has the …

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Town of Newburgh History

William S. Halstead’s War of 1812 Land Warrant

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One of the things being done at the Rossville Cemetery is compiling a list to document all the veterans interred there. Time is being taken to ensure each one is correctly identified and has the correct flag marker placed on their final resting place. As each is researched and documented, the information will be uploaded to our website. So far, the earliest verified veterans are from the War of 1812, though I suspect we’ll find some Revolutionary War Veterans as well.

There are a number of graves which, based on the inscriptions on the markers, are from the Civil War. There is even one individual who served in the Calvary during the Spanish American War. And there are those who served our country during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Each individual’s branch of service will be verified and documented by the time the project is completed.

While I have heard of this, I have never had the opportunity to find an individual who received a bounty land warrant for his service. In Rossville Cemetery is the grave of William S. Halstead, b. April 5, 1796; d. October 16th, 1868. He served in the War of 1812, as a private, in Captain Ecker’s Calvary Company, commanded by Colonel James Warner.

The graver marker is on the list to be cleaned. When an inspection of the grave found the metal flag holder was for the Civil War, we got thinking this was odd that a mid-sixties aged man would be fighting in this conflict and decided some research obviously was needed for verification.

During the research, a document from April 5, 1860, was discovered in which Private William S. Halstead applied for a land warrant under the 1850 Act. Land warrants were issued in the early decades of our nation, both as a recruiting incentive, as well as later rewarding those who served, with a tract of land. The land could be claimed both by the veteran, or their heirs. The size varied based on a number of factors. In Private Halstead’s case, it appears he was rewarded with two tracts, one for 40 acres, and a second for 20 acres.

The exact location of these two tracts are not known at the time of writing this article, but are being researched. Many of these older records are still on microfiche which first has to be located and then searched for the particular details. This should provide the general area where it designated. With that information, we may be able to find the deed in the county where it is located.
Reviewing the census records for 1855, 1860 and 1865, William was already settled the area. He is recorded as having been born in both Orange and Rockland County in these documents. In most of these land warrants, the individual sold the property and pocketed the value. Since his farm was already established for at least 15 years, I imagine he applied for the warrant and after receiving it, sold his rights to the highest bidder. This may hinder the records search. I wonder what we’ll find by the time we’re done. Stay tuned!

I’ve included a link which will take you to the site for an article written by Stuart L. Butler in the “Prologue Magazine,” with the official details from the National Archives and Records Administration, published in 1991, if any of you wish more details on the program. Thanks, Casey! You’re the best!