Throughout the history of advancing frontiers in many parts of the world there have been attractive offers of free land to brave and fool-hardy persons who would live at the dangerous edge of the advancing settlements. Such an offer was made to the retiring Roman legionnaires in the hope that they would live near the frontier line in Gaul and elsewhere and serve as added protection against the warlike German tribes. In 1630, a large tract of land was offered to each commander and fifty acres to other persons who would settle near the dangerous Pamunkey tribe in Virginia, and serve as a buffer against attacks by these warlike Indians. In 1636, John Chew and his nine associates were given a patent to five hundred acres in this section. In 1653, the Virginia Assembly offered ten thousand acres in the valley of the Roanoke, or Moratock, River to any group who would establish a defensive position and secure sufficient arms and ammunition to defend it. Thus at this early date in American history we can see formulated the principle of offering free land to those who have the courage to settle in relatively dangerous areas.
Covington, James W.
"The Armed Occupation Act of 1842,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 40:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol40/iss1/5