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1772 Land Grant in British West Florida to Thomas Boyd

[West Florida Land Grant.] - Main View

1772 Land Grant in British West Florida to Thomas Boyd


Unique land grant in British West Florida with survey by the Civil Engineer who laid out Pensacola.


[West Florida Land Grant.]
  1772 (dated)     15 x 16.75 in (38.1 x 42.545 cm)


This remarkable survivor is an original 1772 land grant in British West Florida issued to Thomas Boyd, a British officer who served with distinction in the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763). Covering territory near what is today Natchez, Mississippi, the grant is signed by Peter Chester (1720 - 1799), then governor of West Florida. It includes a survey and letter by Elias Durnford (1739 - 1794), the British military surveyor best known for laying out Pensacola, then the capital of British West Florida.
Thomas Boyd
Captain Thomas Boyd was a British officer, likely of Irish descent. Little else is known of Boyd - including whether or not he actually settled his grant. He is likely NOT Lieutenant Thomas Boyd, most famous for his grizzly tortured death to Seneca Indians in 1779, during the American Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783).
Land Grants Near Natchez
Following the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763), the British acquired Fort Natchez and the surrounding territory from the French via the 1763 Treaty of Paris. Rather than created a new territory, the existing British Territory of West Florida was expanded northwards to accommodate the new lands. At the same time, the Royal Governors began issuing land grants to officers who served with distinction during the war, most from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Many established plantations, bringing with them wealth and an appetite for upper-class living.


Elias Durnford (June 13, 1739 - June 21, 1794) was a British army officer, civil engineer, and surveyor. He is best known for laying out the colonial capital of West Florida, Pensacola. Elias Durnford was born in Ringwood, Hampshire, England. Durnford joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in 1759. He served in the Seven Years' War (1756 - 1763), participating in the 1761 Capture of Belle Île and the 1762 Battle of Havana. Lord Albemarle made him Aide-de-camp in Havana. In this role, he became an accomplished artist. He later posted to the new British colony of West Florida as chief engineer and surveyor general. During this time, he also performed private survey work for the many land grants then being passed out throughout West Florida - most to soldiers who served with distinction in the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763). He famously laid out the city of Pensacola, Florida, in 1764. He had his own grand, spacious plantation, Belle Fontaine, located on the eastern cliffs above Mobile Bay. He became the Lieutenant Governor of West Florida in 1769 when John Elliot (1742 - 1769), the governor, committed suicide in 1769. He remained in this position until the 1770 arrival of Peter Chester (1720 - 1799). He fought briefly in the American Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783), surrendering to the Spanish in 1780, his estate in ruins. He returned to England but fought in additional campaigns against the French in Martinique, Guadeloupe, and St. Lucia. He died of yellow fever in 1794 on the island of Tobago. More by this mapmaker...


Average. Three sheets joined, two of which are manuscript, including map-survey, and a hand written letter to Thomas Boyd. Staining, soiling, overall toning.