The 1805 Georgia Land Lottery was the first experiment of its kind in the United States. Partly in response to the Yazoo and Pine Barrens Land Frauds of the 1790s, the people of Georgia decided to distribute newly acquired lands using a lottery, thereby minimizing opportunities for corruption. Land lotteries had been used previously on a limited basis, but the distribution of public lands on a mass scale by lottery is unique to Georgia. New land was surveyed into square lots using public funds and then distributed by chance to eligible citizens. Widows and orphans, classes typically disadvantaged under the headright system, were specifically allowed to participate in the land lottery.

As the first of eight Georgia land lotteries, the 1805 Land Lottery served as the operational model for those to follow and established districts and land lots as the foundational units of Georgia’s survey system (over the township, range, and section). The purpose of this book is to document the record of title transfer from the State of Georgia to an individual for each land lot distributed through the land lottery process in 1805.