Cabin rights

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Cabin Rights)
Jump to: navigation, search

Cabin rights and tomahawk rights were processes of claiming land in North America during pre-19th-century settlement on the Northwest and Appalachian frontiers.

Tomahawk rights[edit]

To claim tomahawk rights, the claimant typically deadened several trees near the head of a spring, then blazed the bark of one or more of them with their initials or name.[1]

Tomahawk rights gave the settler no legal title unless followed by occupation or a warrant and a patent secured from the land office. But the Tomahawk rights were quite generally recognized by the early settlers, and many of them were purchased cheaply by other settlers who did not want to enter into a controversy with the claimants who made them.[1]

Cabin rights[edit]

Building a cabin and raising a crop of grain of any kind, however small, led to cabin rights, which were recognized not only by custom but also by law.[2] The laws of the colonies and states varied in their requirements of the settler. In Virginia the occupant was entitled to 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land and to a pre-emption right to 1,000 acres (4 km2) more adjoining, to be secured in either case by a land-office warrant, the basis of a later patent or grant from colonial or state authorities.


  1. ^ a b Doddridge, Joseph (1896). "The Settlement of the Western Country". In Hart, Albert Bushnell. American History Told By Contemporaries. 2. Macmillan. p. 388. 
  2. ^ Albigence Waldo Putnam -History of Middle Tennessee 1859 - Page 62 "Grants known as "cabin-rights" were in that day offered for sale, as land-scrip or warrants are in this. These were bestowed under an act of much liberality passed by the State of Virginia."
  • Dictionary of American History by James Truslow Adams, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940