THE OFFICIALÂ (read page 5)
OHIO LANDS BOOK
Dr. George W. Knepper
OHIO LANDS BOOK
Dr. George W. Knepper
Cover art by Annette Salrin
This book is a publication of
The Auditor of State
88 East Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43216-1140
First paperback edition 2002
Printed in the United States of America
Table of Contents
Auditorâ€™s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .v
The First Arrivals on Ohio Land
Prehistoric Indians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
Historic Indians of Ohio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Congress Creates the Public Domain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
Land Ordinance of 1785 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Seven Ranges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Northwest Ordinance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Statehood for Ohio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
Getting Started as a State
Boundaries of the New State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Privately Conducted Original Surveys
Virginia Military District . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19
Connecticut Western Reserve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
Firelands (Sufferersâ€™Land) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
Land Sales to Private Groups
Ohio Company of Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
Donation Tract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
Symmes Purchase (Miami Purchase) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
Federal Land Offices and Sales in Ohio
Harrison Land Act, May 10, 1800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
United States Military District (USMD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Lands East of the Scioto River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Lands West of the Miami River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
North of the Seven Ranges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44
Congress Lands in Northwest Ohio
South and East of the First Principal Meridian
and Base Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
North and East of the First Principal Meridian
and Base Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
Table of Contents
Michigan Survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Federal Land Grants for Specific Purposes.
Moravian Indian Grants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
French Grants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
Refugee Tract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
Zaneâ€™s Tract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52
Dohrman Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Other Grants to Individuals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Federal Military Reservations
Fort Washington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
Twelve Mile Square Reservation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
Two Mile Square Reservation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
Federal Land Grants to the State of Ohio
School Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Ministerial Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
Canal Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
Wagon Road or Turnpike Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
Salt Reservations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65
Swamp Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65
Federal Lands for Higher Education
Ohio University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66
Miami University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68
Ohio State University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69
Original Surveys Influence Ohioâ€™s Development . . . . . . . . . . . . .71
The Origin of Ohioâ€™s County Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
Additional Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79
As Auditor of State of Ohio, and custodian of state-owned land
records, I am proud to introduce the newly designed Ohio Lands book.
The book is a short history of original land treaties, grants, surveys
and subdivisions used by teachers, historians, genealogists and others.
As part of my official duties, I am responsible for maintaining the
inventory and deed records of state-owned real estate.
The office has held this responsibility since 1877, when all of the
federal land surveys, field notes, and tract and entry books concerning
Ohio were placed in the Auditorâ€™s care. All the instruments which show
any right, title or interest in state-owned land, except highways, were
required to be filed with the Auditor.
All of these records are available either at the Auditor of Stateâ€™s
Land Office or at the State Archives.
The Ohio Lands book is also available in a colorful juvenile
version entitled Along the Ohio Trail. Copies can be obtained by e-mailing
firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 800-282-0370.
This book provides a fascinating glimpse into the development of
Ohio. As we prepare to celebrate its bicentennial in 2003, I invite readers
to delve into the heritage of this great state I am proud to call home.
Auditor of State
Ohio occupies a unique place in the development of the public lands of the
United States. No other state experienced so many different systems of original land
survey. As the first state formed out of the public domain, Ohio was the social laboratory in which Congress worked out not only the basic Federal Rectangular Survey System, but also first applied the basic elements for moving a portion of the public domain from wilderness to statehood. Central to the statehood-making process was
the rational system of land division worked out in Ohio, and it is the story of that
development that we turn to in these pages. In any story about the land, it is
important to know the people who inhabited it, and so we turn first to Ohioâ€™s earliest
THE FIRST ARRIVALS ON OHIO LAND
Ohioâ€™s first known inhabitantsâ€”Paleo-Indian and Archaic Peopleâ€”arrived
more than 12,000 years ago as the great Wisconsinan ice sheet was retreating
northward. The Archaic People lived in rock shelters, although recent findings suggest
they may have erected primitive structures. They were nomadic hunter-gatherers. They
and their successors, for thousands of years, left few cultural remnants beyond stone
â€œpoints.â€ The arrival of the Adena people, about 1,000 B.C., marked a higher level of
cultural sophistication. The Adena had a modestly diverse agriculture, built substantial
dwellings, traded widely, and made decorative and ceremonial objects. They erected
thousands of small burial mounds and numerous effigy mounds across much of Ohio.
The Hopewell People lived primarily in the southern part of Ohio starting
about 100 B.C. and continuing through several centuries. Their presence overlappedâ€”
to some extentâ€”that of the Adena. The Hopewell had more sophisticated
agriculture, trade, and artisanship than the Adena. They built impressive, geometrically
shaped mounds, some apparently aligned to heavenly phenomena. About 300
A.D., the Hopewell disappeared: no one knows why. They were succeeded by other
prehistoric Indians. The last of the prehistoric groupsâ€”the Fort Ancients in the
south, and the Whittlesey Focus people in the northâ€”fade from view about the end
of the seventeenth century.
Historic Indians of Ohio
The historic Indians of Ohioâ€”those we know about from written recordsâ€”
moved into Ohio in the early and mid-eighteenth century. This is in contrast with
neighboring states where historic tribes were established earlier. The late arrival in
Ohio lands is usually attributed to the fierce Iroquois, who swept westward from
their New York villages to devastate lands from Ohio westward. The Iroquois
claimed sovereignty over the conquered lands and other tribes were not strong
enough to challenge them. Therefore, for nearly three-quarters of a century, the Ohio
lands were largely uninhabited, creating a social vacuum that ultimately would be
filled after 1730 by tribes seeking new hunting grounds. Of the many historic Indian
tribes that had some presence in Ohio, only sixâ€”Miami, Wyandot, Mingo,
Delaware, Shawnee, and Ottawaâ€”maintained more or less permanent villages.
From their post in Detroit, French traders and soldiers claimed hegemony over these
tribes during their earliest years in Ohio.
The Miami, whose home villages centered around modern Ft. Wayne,
Indiana, established Pickawillany on the headwaters of the Great Miami to
encourage British traders. This challenge to French hegemony resulted in the French
destroying Pickawillany in 1752, but the Miami remained important in Ohio Indian
affairs for another half century. The Wyandots, a branch of the Huron people,
moved first into Ohio in 1739 and, after many wanderings, settled primarily in the
Sandusky River Valley and in central Ohio. Ottawas migrated from the overpopulated
Detroit region to settle along the fringes of northwestern Ohioâ€™s Great Black
The Mingo (a name applied to Iroquois, mainly Senecas, who had drifted
westward from their home fires in New York), built villages in eastern and central
Ohio. Delaware (Lenni Lenape), driven from Pennsylvania by both white and
Indian pressure, located on or near the Tuscarawas-Muskingum waterway. A special
group of Delawareâ€”Christian converts of Moravian missionariesâ€”had short-lived
villages at Schoenbrunn, Gnadenhutten, Salem, Goshen, and Lichtenau in the
Tuscarawas-Muskingum valley. Shawnees also left Pennsylvania in the mid-eighteenth
century, and reinforced by fellow tribesmen from other regions, built villages
in the Scioto Valley and later in the upper reaches of the Great Miami.
Before arriving in Ohio, each tribe had been acculturated in some degree
through contacts with the French, British, or colonial Americans. Though France
had long claimed the Ohio country, they erected no posts in what is now the state of
Ohio. Ohio lacks the French element in its early history that is common to states to
its north and west. Great Britain defeated France in the French and Indian War
(1754-63 in North America), took over some French posts in the interior, built some
of its own, and dominated the Ohio country until the close of the American
(â€œbeautiful springâ€) in
1772 as a mission to the
Delaware Indians. The
settlement grew to
include sixty dwellings
and more than 300
inhabitants who drew up
Ohioâ€™s first civil code
and built its first
Christian church and
â€œThe Power of the Gospelâ€ by Christian Schuessle depicts David
Zeisberger, Moravian missionary preaching to the Delaware Indians.
Revolution, largely by supplying the Ohio Indians who were a vital link in the
lucrative fur trade.
After assuming control over trans-Appalachian lands, Great Britain tried to
maintain an Indian reserve, especially in the region north and west of the Ohio
River. Back country settlers from Pennsylvania to the Carolinas could not be
restrained, however. Led by venturesome men like Daniel Boone, they invaded the
Kentucky hunting grounds of the Shawnee, while other colonials occupied home
sites near the Ohio River in western Virginia. Inevitably aggressive frontiersmen
trespassed on Ohio lands, and eastern land companies sent scouts into Indian lands
seeking favorable locations in which to plant commercial ventures. In 1774, the
Shawnee and their Indian allies, led by the Shawnee chief Cornstalk (Holokeska),
fought an American colonial army to a draw in the Battle of Point Pleasant, where
the Kanawha joins the Ohio in modern West Virginia. This was the only major
engagement of Dunmoreâ€™s War, a western prelude to the forthcoming American
From 1777 to 1782, while colonials battled in the east and south for their
independence from Britain, a bitter struggle was waged in Ohio between western
settlers and British-led Ohio Indians supplied from Detroit. This vicious contest is
but poorly known, yet the conflict helped persuade Britain to cede the trans-
Appalachian west to the new United States of America in the Peace of Paris (1783).
Now Ohio Indians would have to deal with aggressive American settlers and adventurers
unrestrained by British governmental policies. The British lost the war, but
they had not lost their desire to retain the profitable fur trade. To that end, they
maintained their post at Detroit (illegally since it was in U.S. territory) from which
they supplied Ohio Indians and encouraged them to resist American penetration into
their hunting grounds.
Administering its new western lands was a priority of the American government.
First, Indian claims to that land had to be cleared, so U.S. commissioners
met representatives of several Indian tribes at Ft. McIntosh in 1784-85 and concluded
a treaty that called for restricting most Ohio Indians in a reserve between the
Cuyahoga and Maumee rivers. Most Ohio lands would now be open for settlement.
The United States considered this a valid treaty and proceeded on that assumption.
The Ohio Indians, especially the Shawnee, refused to abide by a treaty negotiated
under duress by minor tribal chiefs who lacked authority to speak for their people
and for other tribes. The Shawnee were even coerced into yet another irregular
treaty at Ft. Finney (1786). Further U.S. efforts did nothing to alleviate the Indiansâ€™
sense of betrayal, nor their determination to resist with force any attempt by settlers
to penetrate their Ohio lands.
While unsettled conditions prevailed, settlers began moving into Ohio
lands. These folk, and others exposed along the frontier, were harassed by Indian
raiding parties. When it appeared the Ohio Indians and their allies were coming
together in a loose confederation to oppose settlement, the federal government
reacted. In 1790, Maj. Gen. Josiah Harmar was sent to punish the Indian confederacy.
His ill-trained army suffered humiliating defeats by Indian warriors, led by
the Miami war chief Little Turtle (Meshekinoquah) in the vicinity of modern Ft.
Wayne, Indiana. The next year, the governor of the
Northwest Territory, Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair, trying to
succeed where Harmar had failed, led his army into the
worst defeat ever inflicted upon the U.S. Army by Indian
warriors, at a place later called Ft. Recovery. Then, in
Wayneâ€™s men at Fallen Timbers –
The original painting, â€œCharge of
the Dragoons at Fallen Timbers?â€
by R.F. Zogbaum, ca. 1895. It is part of
the Ohio Historical Societyâ€™s art collection.
the Battle of Fallen Timbers
in 1794. The monument is
located southwest of Maumee,
Lucas County, Ohio.
The photograph was taken
1794, Maj. Gen. â€œMadâ€ Anthony Wayne led well-trained troops to a convincing
victory at Fallen Timbers. The Ohio Indians, recognizing their inability to stop
Wayne, met with him to sign the Treaty of Greenville (1795), a treaty they
honored. It called for a line to separate Indian country from lands now open to set
tlement. The Greenville Treaty Line confined the Indians to Ohioâ€™s
northwest quadrant and beyond to the north and west. The
Line was laid on the ground by surveyors in 1797, and it
became a determining feature in the survey and description of
General â€œMadâ€ Anthony Wayne
Fort Recovery, built in 1792, on the site of Major General Arthur St. Clairâ€™s defeat
by an Indian confederacy. Fort Recovery is in Mercer County, Ohio. The
photograph of the reconstructed fort was taken ca. 1940-1949.
Photographic reproduction of a drawing of Fort Greenville, which was
the headquarters of General Anthony Wayne in his 1793-1796 campaign
against the Confederated Indian Tribes
CONGRESS CREATES THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
The War for Independence was still in progress on October 10, 1780,
when the Continental Congress resolved that western lands it might acquire by
treaty with Great Britain or by cession from the states â€œshall be disposed of for
the common benefit of the United States.â€ Republican states were to be formed
in the ceded land, and they would enjoy â€œthe same rights of sovereignty,
freedom, and independence, as the other states.â€ Great Britain surrendered her
claim to western lands in the Peace of Paris (1783), but several states had claims
based on their colonial charters. Both Virginia and Connecticut had western land
claims that would affect the future state of Ohio. In 1781, Virginia offered her
western lands to Congress, which accepted the offer three years later.
Connecticutâ€™s cession was accepted in 1786. These state land cessions, plus
those of Massachusetts, paved the way for Congress to establish, in the region
north and west of the Ohio River, the first public domain.
The legal matters of ownership having been settled, Congress was still
faced with the reality of Indian occupancy. The Treaty of Ft. McIntosh (1785)
was the first of many treaties between the United States and various Ohio Indian
tribes, each treaty releasing additional Indian land to the control of the new
nation. Even as Congress sought access to Indian-occupied land, American settlers
were crossing the Ohio, encroaching on Indian land, carving out small
clearings in the wilderness, providing liquor to Indian peoples, and often
cheating them in trade. These squatters had no legal right to the land they
occupied, but most were tough, independent, self-righteous, and resisted
authority, so it proved impossible to remove them. Easterners sometimes
referred to them as â€œbanditti,â€ a favorite put-down of the time.
In 1783, Congress ordered Josiah Harmar, commander of the tiny
United States army stationed at Pittsburgh, to roust these people from their new
homes and send them back across the Ohio. The army had little success, even
though resorting to the burning of cabins and fields. Once the army had left and
the ashes cooled, these determined folk rebuilt on Ohio soil. Ft. Harmar, erected
in 1785 at the confluence of the Muskingum and the Ohio, was designed to stem
the flow of squatters, but it, too, proved ineffective.
It was with a sense of urgency, therefore, that Congress considered how
best to develop western lands. It was imperative that the West be governable,
preferably by responsible people amenable to legal norms. Congressâ€™ first
attempt was to enact the Ordinance of 1784. Thomas Jefferson was the moving
spirit behind this plan to create ten new states north of the Ohio. He proposed the
states be laid out in rectangular form with no consideration of natural boundaries.
Before the ordinance was implemented, however, Congress came forward with a
superior plan which initiated many features of a federal land policy.
Main Treaties Ceding
Indian Lands in Ohio
No. Concluded Place o
TTreaty Acres C
CCeded Tribes C
1 Aug. 3, 1795 Greenville, Ohio 16,930,417 Eleven northwestern
2 July 4, 1805 Fort Industry, Ohio 2,726,812
3 Nov. 17, 1807 Detroit, Michigan 345,600
4 Nov. 25, 1808 Brownstown, Michigan Two Roads
Same tribes as at
5 Sept. 29, 1817 Fort Meigs, Ohio 4,554,459 Same as at Fort
(Maumee Rapids) Industry, and
Senecas in addition.
6 Sept. 17, 1818 St. Marys, Ohio
7 Oct. 2, 1818 St. Marys, Ohio
8 Oct. 6, 1818 St. Marys, Ohio 297,600
THE LAND ORDINANCE OF 1785
On May 20, 1785, Congress enacted a land ordinance which became one of
the most significant pieces of legislation ever passed by the federal legislature. The
Land Ordinance of 1785 created rules for the orderly survey, sale, and settlement of the
public domain, with settlement to occur only on surveyed land. Land ceded by the
states and purchased from the Indians was to be divided into six mile square townships
created by lines running north and south intersecting at right angles with east-west lines.
Townships were to be arranged in north-south rows called ranges. Most townships were
to be subdivided into 36 one mile square sections. Each range, township, and section
was to be numbered in a regular, consistent sequence.
The first north-south line was to be the western boundary of Pennsylvania, and
the first east-west line (called the Geographerâ€™s Line or Base Line) was to begin where
the Pennsylvania boundary touched the north bank of the Ohio River. The
Geographerâ€™s Line was to extend westward through â€œthe whole territoryâ€ which at that
time was meant to include lands lying between the Ohio River and Lake Erie. The first
actual survey extended 42 miles westward, but it did not proceed north of the
The Geographer of the United States was to make a return of the survey after
each seven ranges had been completed, at which time the Secretary of War was to
choose by lot one seventh of the land to compensate veterans of the Continental army.
The rest of the lots were to be sold at auction in New York, then the nationâ€™s capital. A
section (one square mile or 640 acres) was the smallest unit for sale, and some townships
were to be sold in their entirety. The minimum price was one dollar per acre to be
paid in cash or in land warrants of equivalent value. No land would be sold on credit.
The Ordinanceâ€™s other provisions had long term consequences. In each
township, section number 16 was to be reserved for the support of public schools. (This
was the first federal aid to education, predating the Constitution itself.) Sections number
8, 11, 26, and 29 in every township were reserved for future sale by the federal government
when, it was hoped, they would bring higher prices because of developed land
around them. Congress also reserved one third part of all gold, silver, lead, and copper
mines to its own use, a bit of wishful thinking as regards Ohio lands.
THE SEVEN RANGES
On the last day of September, 1785, Thomas Hutchins, Geographer of
the United States, and his crew began the first survey of federal landâ€“the Seven
Ranges in eastern Ohio. As directed in the Ordinance, they pushed the
Geographerâ€™s Line 42 miles westward from Pennsylvania. Every six miles they
ran lines south to the Ohio River, and within these ranges ran township lines.
Using the 1785 numbering system, ranges were numbered westward from the
Pennsylvania border, townships were numbered south to north within each
range, and sections were numbered in sequence starting with section 1 located
in the townshipâ€™s southeast corner, then running south to north in each tier until
section 36 was reached in the northwest corner. As directed in the Ordinance,
section 16 was reserved for the support of public schools, and sections 8, 11, 26,
and 29 set aside for future sale.
In the Land Act of 1796, Congress changed the section numbering
system. Sections were now to be numbered so that section 1 was located in the
townshipâ€™s northeast corner. Numbers would then progress west and east alternately
through the township â€œwith progressive numbersâ€ until number 36 was
reached in the townshipâ€™s southeast corner. This system of section numbering
Sections numbered Sections numbered
After Law of 1796 Before Law of 1796
The problem of keeping townships six miles square when the earth is
curved was solved in 1804 by Jared Mansfield, Surveyor General of the
Northwest Territory. Mansfield established an arbitrary meridian and
an intersecting east-west base line to survey the 2nd Principal
Meridian in southern Indiana. Ranges of townships were progressively
numbered eastward and westward from the meridian, while townships
within each range were numbered northward and southward from the
base line. This use of the principal meridian and base line can be
found in Northwest Ohio where the Ohio-Indiana line constitutes the
first Principal Meridian and the 41st degree of latitude is the base line.
There are 34 meridians in the United Statesâ€“some designated by
number, but most by names.
The Seven Ranges
OHIOThe problem of keeping townships six miles square when the earth is
curved was solved in 1804 by Jared Mansfield, Surveyor General of the
Northwest Territory. Mansfield established an arbitrary meridian and
an intersecting east-west base line to survey the 2nd Principal
Meridian in southern Indiana. Ranges of townships were progressively
numbered eastward and westward from the meridian, while townships
within each range were numbered northward and southward from the
base line. This use of the principal meridian and base line can be
found in Northwest Ohio where the Ohio-Indiana line constitutes the
first Principal Meridian and the 41st degree of latitude is the base line.
There are 34 meridians in the United Statesâ€“some designated by
number, but most by names.
The Seven Ranges
became standard thereafter in all original federal surveys.1 Range, Township,
Section, Part of Section, and the original land survey name have become the
basic legal property description for most of the land originally surveyed by the
United States government in the 29 public land states. The original field notes
and plats of the United States government land surveys in Ohio have been
deposited by the Auditor of State into the State of Ohio Archives at the Ohio
Historical Center in Columbus.
The Ordinance of July 13, 1787 provided
â€œ…there shall be formed in said territory, not less than three nor more than five states…â€
The original boundaries were defined as:
Eastern State (numbers 1,2,3,4); Middle State (numbers 5,6,7,8,9) and
Western State (numbers 10,11,12,13,14,15). These divisions are marked by broken lines on the map.
Congress later decided to divide the Northwest Territory into the states of:
Ohio (1803), Indiana (1816), Illinois (1818), Michigan (1837), Wisconsin (1848), and
Minnesota (1858). These states are shown by the heavy solid lines on the map.
Map Source: Biographical Directory – General Assembly of Ohio 1929-1930: Columbus, 1931.
Numbering townships from the Ohio River, and sections according to the 1796
standard, was used in these surveys: East of the Scioto River and West of the
Ohio Company Purchase; North of the Seven Ranges between the United States
Military District and Connecticut Western Reserve; East of the 1st
Meridianâ€“West of the Great Miami River and East of the 1st Principal Meridian.
THE NORTHWEST ORDINANCE
As land sales progressed in the Seven Ranges, and as Congress permitted
Virginia and Connecticut to develop their reserves in Ohio, Congress realized it was
time to establish an orderly system of government north and west of the Ohio River
in what was now designated the Northwest Territory.2 To this end, Congress enacted
the Northwest Ordinance, a remarkable document outlining how a wilderness area
would progress through a three-step process to ultimate statehood. Both northern and
southern influences were present in the document. Some of Thomas Jeffersonâ€™s ideas
from the Ordinance of 1784 were melded with sections composed in large part by
Nathan Dane of Massachusetts.
In the first stage of development, the Northwest Territory was to be governed
by a governor, a secretary and three judges, each appointed by Congress. The
governor and any two of the judges, acting together, could select laws from the codes
of the original states. The second stage began when 5,000 free adult males resided in
the Territory. Then eligible voters would elect a legislature, but the governor retained
an absolute veto over its acts. The third stage began when 60,000 inhabitants were
resident in any of the three proposed divisions of the Territoryâ€”the eastern, central,
or western â€œstates.â€ At that point the territorial legislature could petition Congress for
statehood. At least three states, but no more than five, were to be erected in the
Territory. Each new state was to be equal to the existing states â€œin all respects whatsoever.â€
A â€œbill of rightsâ€ guaranteed that basic civil rights would be protected. Trial
by jury was guaranteed, as was freedom of religion. Public schooling was to be
encouraged. Involuntary servitudeâ€”slaveryâ€”was prohibited except in punishment
for crimes for which a person had been duly convicted.
The Northwest Ordinance contained practical steps for achieving statehood,
assuring that there would be no second-class states created in the Territory. It enumerated
civil rights essential to a free people. There had never been anything like it in
the history of the world. It is little wonder that scholars rank the Northwest Ordinance
with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as a document fundamental
to the emergence of the American republic.
The Northwest Territory ultimately embraced Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,
Michigan, Wisconsin and the northeast corner of Minnesota.
STATEHOOD FOR OHIO
Ohio comprised most of the eastern division, or â€œstate,â€ in the
Northwest Territory, and was the first part of the public domain to emerge into
statehood. In October, 1787, the Confederation Congress selected its own pres
ident, Arthur St. Clair, to be governor of the Northwest Territory. Winthrop
Sargent was appointed secretary, and three judges were appointed. In the
summer of 1788, Governor St. Clair arrived at Marietta, the first authorized set
tlement in the Northwest Territory, but he soon moved on westward to
Losantiville, a struggling settlement that St. Clair renamed Cincinnati. Here he
was more centrally
located to administer his
sprawling charge. From
the beginning, St. Clair
faced opposition from
who chafed under
appointed rule, and who
set out to expedite the
They rushed the count
that found the 5,000
free adult males necessary
to elect a legislature.
chafed under the governorâ€™s
veto power, and
again hastened the count
to establish the 60,000
before the territorial legislature
Photographic reproduction of an engraving of
the Chillicothe Courthouse, 1801. The engraving
was published in a periodical, “American
Pioneer,” volume 1, number 6 in June 1842.
View of Front Street in Marietta, Ohio.
Shows Thomas Wells and Co. and the
News Depot, ca. 1850-1859.
Congress for statehood. In their effort to hasten the state-making process, these
leaders in the Northwest Territory found allies in President Thomas Jefferson
and the U.S. Congress.
On April 30, 1802, Congress enacted the Enabling Act whose preamble
read, â€œThat the inhabitants of the eastern division of the territory northwest of
the river Ohio, be, and they are hereby, authorized to form for themselves a constitution
and State government, and to assume such name as they shall deem
proper, and the said State, when formed, shall be admitted into the Union upon
the same footing with the original States in all respects whatsoever.â€
Delegates chosen in the eastern division met in a constitutional convention
in November, 1802 held in Chillicothe, where they drafted a constitution
for the State of Ohio. Both houses of Congress quickly accepted this constitution
and forwarded their approval to President Jefferson, who signed the bill
creating Ohio on February 19, 1803. The language of the bill seems plain
enough; Ohio was a State as of that date. But a host of legalisms muddied the
water to the extent that
Ohioâ€™s official birth date
was ultimately set by the
Ohio General Assembly as
March 1, 1803, the day the
new legislature met for the
The settlement at â€œthe point,â€ Marietta, ca. 1790
Territorial government is inaugurated, 1788.
Arthur St. Clair
Governor of the
Critics charge that Ohio was not properly admitted to the Union because
Congress passed no final joint resolution specifically admitting Ohio. However,
both houses of Congress did promptly seat Ohioâ€™s two senators and lone repre
sentative without any caveat about their legality. One hundred and fifty years
later, during celebration of the Stateâ€™s sesquicentennial, Congress passed such a
resolution (one would hope tongue in cheek) and submitted it to President
Dwight D. Eisenhower who signed it, thus making Ohio legitimate, retroactive
Ohio was the first state carved out of the public domain, and therefore
the first to be fashioned by Congress. As we shall see, it was in Ohio that
out its ultimate
system of surveyâ€”
System. Federal aid
to public schooling
was pioneered in
Ohio, and slavery
was banned in Ohio
as it had been in the
Certainly no other
state has so good a
claim as Ohio to be
the model for
It is a
Above: An artistâ€™s drawing of the Capitol Building
in Chillicothe when it was Ohioâ€™s first capital city 1803-1810.
Reproduction of a photograph depicting the
building that served as Ohioâ€™s capitol building
in Zanesville. Zanesville was the second
capital of Ohio from 1810-1812.
GETTING STARTED AS A STATE
In 1803, the new State of Ohio was largely a wilderness, and some areas
would remain so until after the Civil War. Only Cincinnati and a half dozen
small communities had much of a presence among its 60,000 plus residents. On
January 11, 1803, Edward Tiffin of Chillicothe was elected governor, but did
not assume office until March. Tiffin had been a leading proponent of statehood
as had many of his influential townsmen, so it was reasonable that Chillicothe
became Ohioâ€™s first capital city. It retained that honor until 1810 when
Zanesville wooed away state government by offering a splendid new building
for its use. Two years later, Chillicothe provided improved facilities and state
government moved back to that town. It was clear, however, that a more central
location would better serve a growing state. In 1816, therefore, the legislature
moved the seat of government to the raw new town of Columbus, where it has
Photographic reproduction of an engraving of the first state buildings
in Columbus, Ohio, including the United States Courthouse, Public
Offices and the Old State House, ca. 1814 – 1816.
3) The State of Ohio Archives at the Ohio Historical Center has the originaldeed to the ten acre State House grounds.
Boundaries of the New State
The Constitution of 1802 defined Ohioâ€™s boundaries, each portion of which would
be challenged by a neighboring state throughout the nineteenth, and well into the
twentieth century. The boundary with Pennsylvania, originally completed in 178586
by Thomas Hutchins, was twice resurveyed in the nineteenth century before both
Ohio and Pennsylvania were satisfied. All the water of the Ohio River along Ohioâ€™s
border belonged to the earlier established states of Virginia (after 1863, West
Virginia) and Kentucky. Ohio sought to have the state line run through the middle of
the Ohio River, but it lost every legal effort to secure half of that stream.
Meanwhile, damming of the river changed its configuration in the twentieth century,
and ultimately federal courts ruled that waters lying beyond the original river
shoreline on the Ohio side belonged to Ohio. Ohioâ€™s border with Indiana was surveyed
erratically and proved to be inaccurate. Though some corrections were made
in the line, both states agreed to leave the boundary essentially as it was. Ohioâ€™s
northern border with Michigan has a dramatic history outlined on page 46. Once the
line was finally agreed upon and marked on the land, there remained controversy
over the question of why Ohioâ€™s boundary, from its eastern land terminus, should go
off northeasterly to the Canadian border instead of proceeding as a simple extension
of the line marked out on land. Late in the twentieth century, federal courts agreed
that Ohio should retain the disputed portion of Lake Erie.
In the Enabling Act of 1802, federal lands lying
within the boundaries of the new state would remain
under federal control. When such land was sold,
three-fifths of the money received by the federal government
was to go to Ohio to be used in constructing
roads within the state. The other two fifths was to be
used by the federal government to build roads to the
Ohio boundary. In return, Ohio pledged not to tax federal
lands within the state for a five year period. Once
federal land was purchased, of course, the new
owner had to pay state taxes on his land.
Edward Tiffin was chosen
speaker of the territorial house of
representatives. He would go on
to become a Democratic-
Republican governor of Ohio
from 1803 until 1807.
PRIVATELY CONDUCTED ORIGINAL SURVEYS
Two major sections of Ohioâ€”the Virginia Military District and the
Connecticut Western Reserveâ€”were surveyed privately, the Virginia Military
District under Virginia custom (i.e., indiscriminate claim and metes and bounds
survey), and the Western Reserve in a rectangular pattern chosen by the
Connecticut Land Company. These private surveys were underway while
Congress was experimenting with the federal survey system, seeking to create a
uniform system for the public domain. We will first examine the two private
original surveys, and then follow the evolution of the federal original survey
Virginia Military District
Virginia ceded most of her western lands to Congress in 1781, and
Congress accepted her offer in 1784, including the reserving of approximately
4,204,800 acres between the Scioto River to the east and the Little Miami River
to the west. On the map the area appears as a misshapen triangle with its base
on the Ohio River from which it extends northward some 141 miles. Virginia
intended to use this land to satisfy state military bounty warrants issued as compensation
to her veterans of the American Revolution.
Virginia Military District, comprising
all or part of 23 counties, is the only Ohio
land not originally surveyed on the rectangular
pattern. Virginia custom was used.
Indiscriminate claims were defined by metes
and bounds surveys. More than 16,125 such
surveys were made in the District. The result
was a patchwork of
land holdings that
relied upon natural
of rocks, etc.â€”for
As markers changed, disappeared, or were disputed, endless confusion resulted,
and the Virginia Military District is said to have experienced more litigation
over land claims than all the rest of Ohio put together.
Virginia military bounties varied in size from the 100 acres due to a
private, to the 15,000 acres that could be claimed by a Major General. The
amount increased if the veteran had served more than six years. The heirs of a
man killed in service were eligible for his bounty. All told, about 6,146,950
acres in Ohio and Kentucky4 were issued under Virginia land warrants to veterans
and their heirs. There was a brisk trade in land warrants since veterans or
their heirs could sell them, usually to speculators at a substantially discounted
Virginia compensated its veterans of both the
French and Indian War (1754-63) and the War for
Independence (1775-1783) with western land grants.
Virginiaâ€™s most famous veteran, George Washington,
served in both wars and was entitled to 23,333 acres. He
never claimed them: instead, he purchased two warrants,
totaling 3,100 acres, all but 49 of which were within
surveys run in 1787 in Clermont County (two surveys) and
Hamilton County (one survey). An act of Congress (July 17,
1788) nullified these surveys, and Washington never filed
for a U.S. patent under the congressional acts of 1790 and
1794. He mistakenly believed he owned the surveyed land.
These lands were allegedly resurveyed in 1806 and
properly certified to the U.S. Secretary of War. Claim
jumpers occupied the land and secured U.S. patents to it,
thus depriving Washingtonâ€™s estate of valuable resources.
His heirs were never compensated.
4) Kentucky was part of Virginia until attaining statehood in 1792.
price. Ultimately some 25 individuals controlled about 1,035,408 acres within
the Virginia Military District.
From its earliest days, land speculation has been big business in
America. Huge estates could also be acquired by surveyors, who took a healthy
share of the land they had laid out as compensation. This form of compensation
was especially common in the Virginia Military District. Among the most suc
cessful at this practice were Nathaniel Massie, who surveyed many of the ear
liest land claims in the region and accumulated some 70,000 acres in the
process, and Duncan McArthur, later a governor of Ohio, whose holdings
Claiming land by a Virginia Military Warrant involved sending
the warrant to the principal surveyor of the Virginia Military District
in Ohio. He then gave the warrant to a deputy surveyor, who would
make a general description of the claim (entry) and then run a
survey. Virginia permitted a 5% error factor for these surveys, but
this was often exceeded. Following acceptance of the survey, the
warrant was sent to the federal government and a U.S. Patent issued.
For their services, the deputy surveyors often received 20% to 50%
of the acres called for in the warrant, or they could be paid in cash,
which was scarce on the Ohio frontier. In Ohio, the entry number and
survey number are the same.
The first Virginia Military District survey was run by John
Oâ€™Bannon, November 13, 1787, in what is now Clermont County. The
first U.S. Patent for District land was issued on February 20, 1796.
The State of Ohio Archives has original Virginia Military District
Entry and Survey records, a card index of entrymen, W.P.A. plats of
16 of the 23 counties involved, and a list of the entries which were
withdrawn. Inquiries can be researched by surname, warrant number,
or survey number. Additional district records can be found at the
University of Illinois Library at Urbana, IL, and the Western Reserve
Historical Society, Cleveland. Soldierâ€™s applications are filed at the
Virginia State Library, Richmond.
exceeded 90,000 acres. Early surveyors often became developers, laying out
communities and encouraging settlers by offering free lots to first comers. In
this fashion, Massie developed Manchester (1792), the Districtâ€™s first real town,
and Chillicothe (1796), which soon became the Northwest Territoryâ€™s political
By 1830, most of the Virginia Military Districtâ€™s best land had been
claimed, but there were still veteransâ€™ warrants in private hands. On May 30,
1830, and again on August 31, 1852, Congress passed laws permitting Virginia
Military Warrants to be exchanged for land scrip. Land scrip operated as a form
of currency and could be used to acquire any U.S. public lands open for entry at
private sale. The federal government ultimately issued land scrip for 1,041,976
acres in exchange for Virginia Military Warrants. On December 9, 1852 Virginia
relinquished, and ceded to the federal government its claim to any unlocated
land in the Military District, and in 1871 Congress ceded this land to the State
of Ohio. In 1872, Ohio set aside this land as an endowment for the Ohio
Buckeye Station, second oldest building in Ohio, built by General
Nathaniel Massie in 1797. It is in Manchester, Adams County, Ohio.
This photograph was taken ca. 1940-1949.
Agricultural and Mechanical College (founded 1870). Ohio had previously
received 630,000 acres from Congress to be used for an A&M college under the
terms of the Morrill Land Grant College Act of 1862. With this support the
college grew, and in 1878 was renamed Ohio State University.
Connecticut Western Reserve
The Connecticut Western Reserve includes all or parts of 14 counties in
northeastern Ohio. The Reserve extends 120 miles westward from the Ohio-
Pennsylvania line, and is bordered on the south by the 41st parallel of latitude
and on the north by Lake Erie. All of Erie and Huron counties are in the
Reserve as is the easternmost extension of Ottawa County and the Erie Islands.
Connecticutâ€™s western land claims were based on several royal charters,
the most determining of which was the royal charter of 1662 issued by King
Charles II of England. On surrendering its western land claims to the United
States on September 13, 1786, Connecticut retained this reserve, which the state
anticipated would be a New Connecticut in size and influence. It was not to be,
however. The Western Reserve contains approximately 3,366,921 acres, or just
over 5,260 square miles, including the Firelands, a portion of the Reserve that
was treated differently from the rest. Connecticut retained jurisdictional control
of the Reserve until surrendering it to the United States by Deed of Cession,
May 30, 1800.
Prior to this cession, the State of Connecticut had sold all of the Reserve,
except the Firelands, to the Connecticut Land Company by a quitclaim deed to 35
investors (many more investors later joined in the enterprise). This sale was completed
on September 2, 1795. The Connecticut Land Company paid $1,200,000 to
the State of Connecticut which invested the money in a fund to benefit public
schools in that state. The company investors, whether individuals or groups,
pledged money to acquire land from the state. Each individual or group was the
grantee (buyer) of as many 1,200 thousandths, in common and undivided, of that
part of the Western Reserve as each had subscribed dollars to the purchase price.5
5) The quit claim deed to Moses Cleaveland, who led the first party to survey
and settle in the Reserve, was for 32,600 twelve hundred thousandths.
In 1796, the Connecticut Land Company, anxious to start land sales,
outfitted a survey party, led by General Moses Cleaveland, to run the original
survey lines and scout out the regionâ€™s resources. The region east of the
Cuyahoga River was clear of Indian claim as per the Treaty of Ft. McIntosh
(1785) as confirmed by the Treaty of Greenville (1795), but to insure that local
Indians would pose no problems, Cleaveland met Seneca subchiefs near Buffalo
and placated them with trade goods before continuing with his party to the
mouth of the Cuyahoga. The surveyors could operate only east of the Cuyahoga
(which was part of the Greenville Treaty Line) since Indian claims to lands west
of the river were still valid, and would remain so, until vacated by the Treaty of
Ft. Industry (1805).
The Connecticut Land Company determined upon a rectangular survey.
Townships were five miles square except, of course, for partial townships bordering
Lake Erie. Many townships were subdivided into four lots of 4,000 acres
each. In most cases, however, purchasers subdivided the surveying townships
into lots of various sizes and patterns. Ranges were numbered westward from
the Pennsylvania line, and townships were numbered south to north from the
Much of the Reserve contained poorly drained or inferior soils, so
â€œequalizingâ€ townships were set aside to compensate share owners unlucky
enough to draw shares for inferior land. This practice, as well as the method of
drawing lots, meant that a single purchaser could end up with widely dispersed
Lots sold slowly in the Reserve. In its early days it was isolated from
access to markets. The opening of New Yorkâ€™s Erie Canal in 1825, followed by
completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal (1825-32) and the Penn-Ohio Canal
(1840), greatly relieved that isolation, but in the meantime, sales moved slowly
and eastern land owners were stuck with extensive, unsaleable holdings. Indeed,
there was more absentee land ownership in the Reserve than elsewhere in Ohio
during the first quarter of the nineteenth century.
Firelands (Sufferersâ€™ Lands)
On May 10, 1792, the Connecticut state legislature set aside the western-
most 500,000 acres of the Western Reserve to compensate, in proportion to their
loss, the 1,866 Connecticut residents whose property had been damaged by British
coastal raiders during the American Revolution. Much property was destroyed by
fire (hence the term Firelands), especially in New London where the turncoat,
Benedict Arnold, led a devastating raid against his home region.
The Sufferers, their heirs or legal representatives, formed an Ohio corporation
on April 15, 1803 to manage their Ohio lands. With Indian claims having
been reduced in 1805, the corporationâ€™s Board of Directors authorized a survey. All
500,000 acres were surveyed into five mile square townships which were further
subdivided into four quarter townships each containing 4,000 acres. The sufferersâ€™
proprietary rights were divided into 120 classes, each of which represented 120th of
the total property loss. Then, by a complicated process, lots were drawn assigning
the 120 classes to surveyed property. Sufferers with claims in more than one of the
120 classes found their lands dispersed and difficult to manage. By the time details
of this complex plan were worked out, many original sufferers had died, or were too
old to take up lands in Ohio.
The Firelands are located in Erie and
Huron counties, whose western boundaries
have a westering of 4′ 40″ from the true
meridian so that a constant 120 mile distance
west of the Pennsylvania line could be main
Ottawa County are
also within the
LAND SALES TO PRIVATE GROUPS
Even as the Confederation Congress was negotiating with Virginia and
Connecticut as to their reserved lands in Ohio, it was involved with speculative
ventures led by men from Massachusetts and New Jersey. In two instances,
Congress sold Ohio land to private groups, whose settlements were to add
another distinct element to the complex pattern of original surveys.
Ohio Company of Associates
In 1783, General Rufus Putnam led fellow officers, veterans of the
American Revolution, in petitioning Congress to pay for their services to the
nation with western land grants. When Congress failed to act, Putnam and
fellow Massachusetts officers met at Bostonâ€™s Bunch of Grapes tavern on March
1, 1786, and formed the Ohio Company of Associates to pursue this program.
The company was capitalized at $1,000,000 in Continental Certificates, the
money to be raised by selling 1,000 shares at $1,000 per share. Congress was
then approached for a western land grant, but it showed little interest. Skillful
lobbying led by Manasseh Cutler helped congressmen to see the advantages of
having a corps of solid citizens setting up communities in the western
wilderness. The military experience of the associates would help to keep the
Indians in check, and to protect the new settlements. Congress, therefore, agreed
to sell 1,500,000 acres of Ohio lands lying west of the Seven Ranges, north of
the Ohio River, east of the 16th range (not yet surveyed), and extending as far
north as required to secure that acreage.
This land was to be privately surveyed on the pattern established by the
Land Ordinance of 1785. In each six mile square township, section 16 was to be
reserved for support of public schools, section 29 to support religion, sections,
8, 11, and 26 for later disposition by Congress, and two entire
surveying townships (72 square miles) in perpetuity for
support of a university.
Since the land was paid for in
severely depreciated Continental securities,
its price was actually about twelve and a half
cents per acre. In allowing payment in depreciated secu
rities, Congress undercut its own recent rule, embraced in the Land Ordinance of
1785, that land must be paid for in cash or its equivalent. When the Ohio Company
could not meet its second payment, it settled for the 750,000 acres it had paid for.
Dividing Ohio Company land into shares was extremely
complex as indicated in this chart. The allotment deeds show seven
separate tracts, grouped in six divisions, were conveyed for each
share as follows:
DDiivviissiioonn TTrraacctt AAccrreess
First One eight acre lot 8.00
Second One three acre lot 3.00
Third One house lot of (about) .37
Fourth One one hundred and sixty acre lot 160.00
Fifth One one hundred acre lot 100.00
One six hundred and forty acre lot or section 640.00
Sixth One two hundred and sixty two acre lot or fraction 262.00
This is called the Ohio Company First Purchase, and a U.S. Patent
for this land was issued May 10, 1792 by President George
Exterior view of the Rufus Putnam Residence in
Marietta, Ohio, ca. 1895. It was one of the dwellings
in Campus Martius, the fortification erected by the
Ohio Company, ca. 1790-1799.
Reproduction of a
portrait of General
Rufus Putnam (profile),
ca. 1780-1789. He was
a Revolutionary War
veteran and member of
the Ohio Company who
helped to found
Marietta, Ohio and
open the Northwest
Territory for settlement.
Washington.6 The First Purchase ultimately contained 913,883 acres including
the reserved sections and townships.
A congressional resolution of July 23, 1787, permitted military bounty
warrants to be used in acquiring Ohio Company land. Such warrants, totaling
142,900 acres, were used in acquiring the Ohio Company Second Purchase
totaling 214,285 acres. The U.S.
Patent for the second purchase
was also issued on May 10,
The Ohio Company divided
964,285 acres it had acquired
into 822 shares of 1,173.37
Exterior view of the Ohio Company Land Office
in Marietta, Ohio, ca. 1895. It was built after the acres each. On February 1,
Ohio Company landed at Marietta in 1788. This
1796, a deed of partition or
photograph depicts the building in its second
location. In 1791 the Land Office was moved
allotment was made to 817
450 feet east of its original location so that it
could be protected by the guns at Campus shareholders. The remainder
Martius from attacks by Native Americans
was held in trust for the
hostile to Anglo-American settlement of the
Ohio Valley. It is the oldest building in company. All lands not previ-
Ohio and presently part of the
Campus Martius State Memorial. ously conveyed or disposed of
were sold in 1849.
The initial survey of Ohio
Company lands began with the
advance party of settlers, who
arrived at Marietta in April,
1788. On the east bank of the
Muskingum across from Ft.
Harmar, a town featuring in-lots
and out-lots was laid out. Rufus
Putnam directed the initial
Photograph of the Marietta LandOffice building.
Under the new Constitution, which took effect in 1789, the nationâ€™s administrative
business, formerly conducted by congressional boards, was conducted
by the executive branch through various agencies, boards, and offices.
survey under terms of the Land Ordinance of 1785, using its range, township,
and section numbering system. Some sections were divided differently to
accommodate the allotment plan.
Ohio Company records are in the Marietta College Library, Marietta,
Ohio. Copies of plats showing the allotments and original proprietors are in the
State of Ohio Archives in the Ohio Historical Center.
The Donation Tract of 100,000 acres, located along the northern
border of the Ohio Company lands, was
authorized by Congress on April 21, 1792, to
create a buffer zone sheltering Ohio Company
lands from Indian incursions. To this end, a
100-acre lot would be given to any male,
eighteen or older, who would actually settle
on the land at the time the deed was conveyed.
The 100,000 acres, located in present
Adams, Fearing, Salem, Muskingum, Palmer,
Waterford, and Watertown townships in
Memorial to the Big Bottom
Washington County, and in Windsor
Massacre, the January 2, 1791
Township, Morgan County, were originally battle between Ohio Company
settlers and the Wyandot
surveyed into 100-acre lots allotted by agents
Indians. The memorial is
located in Morgan County,
of the Ohio Company. On May 10, 1792 the
Ohio. The photograph was
U.S. Patent for the land was issued to the taken ca. 1940-1949.
Ohio Company which then issued deeds to the
actual settlers. In 1818, lands not conveyed reverted to the federal government
and were sold at the Marietta Land Office.
This marked the first time that federal land was given without charge to
specified settlers, predating the more famous Homestead Act of 1862 by seventy
years. Whether or not the tract actually served as a buffer can not be determined,
but it is true that the Ohio Company lands never experienced another
Indian raid to compare with the Big Bottom Massacre of 1791.
Symmes Purchase (Miami Purchase)
The Ohio Company of Associates was not the only group petitioning the
Confederation Congress for western lands. New Jersey interests, led by Judge John
Cleves Symmes, a member of Congress, persuaded that body in 1787 to sell
1,000,000 acres lying north of the Ohio River between the two Miami rivers.
Symmes had been attracted to this land by the recommendation of Benjamin Stites,
a soldier and trader to whom Symmes granted land near the Little Miami. Stites
and company erected some huts and called their settlement Columbia. It later
became an eastern extension of Cincinnati.
Symmes never paid for nor developed the full 1,000,000 acres he sought.
He mishandled survey and sales to such an extent that Congress restricted his purchase
to 311,682 acres, including lands reserved for special purposes. On occasion,
Symmes had sold land lying outside the bounds of his purchase. Sometimes his
associates back in New Jersey sold lots, inadvertently, that Symmes had already
sold to others, and the reverse was true as well. Symmes ignored repeated federal
requests to set aside the full surveying township he was obligated to supply for
support of an academy. This confusion was amplified by Indian wars that
developed as the U.S. Army attempted to quell threats
from an Indian confederacy through a series of campaigns
against the tribes in the early 1790s.
On September 30, 1794, President George
Washington signed the U.S. Patent deeding to
Symmes 248,250 acres, plus a surveying
township to be held in trust for an academy. As
with the Ohio Company purchase, section 16 in
each township was reserved for the support of
public schools, section 29 for ministerial lands in support of churches, and sections
8, 11, and 26 for the future use of the federal government. In addition, the
patent reserved 15 acres for Ft. Washington, erected in 1789 and used thereafter
as a staging post for the U.S. Army in its attacks against the Ohio Indian confederacy
(1790-94). One square mile near the mouth of the Great Miami was
also reserved for military purposes.
Symmes paid $70,455 in public securities to acquire 105,683 acres, and
used military land warrants totaling 92,250 acres for an additional 142,857
acres. Depreciation of securities, plus a federal allowance of one-third dollar off
for bad land and incidental charges, meant that Symmes actually paid about
two-thirds of a dollar per acre. As with the Ohio Company, private purchasers
benefited from a better price than Congress offered through regular sales at
federal land offices.
Symmes conveyed the entire third range in trust to his close associate,
Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey, because Dayton had purchased military bounty
warrants from veterans who needed
cash to buy land located outside the
Symmes Purchase. This third range is
often called the Military Range in the
records of Warren and Butler counties.
The Symmes Purchase was privately
surveyed. It is the only original
land survey in the United States that
has ranges running south to north, and
fractional townships running west to
east. Sections are numbered according Captain John Cleves Symmes Memorial,
Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio. Symmes,
to the Land Ordinance of 1785. North
son of the original proprietor, was a
of the Symmes Purchase, the federal captain in the War of 1812, an educator,
surveyor, and a philosopher responsible
â€œBetween the Miamis Surveyâ€ con-for the Theory of Concentric Spheres
and Polar Voids. This monument
tinued the unorthodox numbering
was erected in the 1840s and the
system in order to maintain consistency photograph was taken ca. 1940-1949.
with the Symmes numbering.
Persons who unwittingly purchased land which Symmes sold beyond the
limits of his patent, and who settled on that land, were technically squatters on
federal land. Congress corrected this problem through relief acts, passed March 2,
1799 and March 3, 1801, giving these settlers pre-emption rights, the first right to
buy their land from the federal government, in most cases at a favorable rate.
Pre-emption rights were of exceptional interest to western settlers. These
congressional acts set a precedent that was extended in future land legislation, predating
by four decades the Pre-emption Act of 1841 which was more general in
A view designed to give easterners a look at a
â€œwestern clearingâ€ from Ladies Repository,
vol. XV (1855); Ohio Historical Society
subject to fraud
and to illegal
not yet surveyed.
Cabin raisings were often community efforts.
Ohio Historical Society
Surveyor Christopher Gist is depicted in one
of the 18 original art renderings by Annette
Salrin for the official Ohio Bicentennial of the
American Revolution celebration calendar.
Ohio Historical Society
FEDERAL LAND OFFICES AND
SALES IN OHIO
Determining the price of federal land and the conditions under which it
could be sold was a feature of the land ordinances of 1785 and 1796. In each
case, the minimum amount one could purchase directly from the federal government
was set at one full section (640 acres), and the minimum price (lands
were sold at auction) was set at one dollar per acre in 1785, and two dollars per
acre in 1796. Payment was to be in cash or in debt certificates the equivalent of
cash. In 1785, there was no credit provision: in 1796, one half the purchase
price was due at the time of sale, and the other half within a year.7
Obviously Congress expected initial purchasers to be from the monied
class, for $640 plus fees, in cash, was well beyond what the typical settler could
pay. The sale of large amounts of land, with payment in cash, promised to bring
money into the federal treasury more expeditiously than the sale of many small
amounts to a large number of individual purchasers. Although these laws
favored speculators, once the speculator possessed land, he normally expected
to sell it to settlers in smaller, affordable parcels. If he could not, he faced a loss
on his investment. Purchasers at federal land offices sometimes banded together,
spreading their resources beyond the purchase of a single section, and sharing
responsibility for potential losses.
The history of federal land policy is replete with efforts to balance the
interests of the federal government with the interests of land-seeking settlers on
the one hand and speculators on the other. The federal government wanted to
maximize income from sales, the settler wanted cheap land under favorable
terms. To this end, settlers pressured their congressmen to keep federal land
7) The Confederation Congress (1781-89) and Congress under the new constitution
(1789-) relied on income from land sales for a substantial part of the
revenue needed to operate the government and maintain the military. The
new nation had but recently fought against what its people considered
excessive and unfair taxation: it was prudent for legislators to seek non-tax
sources of revenue, hence their eagerness to optimize income from the sale of
prices low and terms of payment easy. Speculators, having purchased land they
expected to resell, lobbied to keep prices high enough that they could sell under
the federal price and still turn a profit. The sale terms that evolved under these
countervailing forces represented compromise. Each party hoped to find new
terms of sale that redounded to its benefit. An example of this can be found in
the Land Act passed by Congress in 1800, and known as the Harrison Land Act
for its sponsor.
The State of Ohio Archives has a card index of about
175,000 cards, some of them duplicates, arranged by surname,
and then the given name of the purchaser (entryman) who
acquired federal public lands in Ohio. It also has the Federal
Tract and Entry books which are arranged by surveying
range, township, section, and part of section. These give the
name of the purchaser (entryman), quantity of acres entered,
and date of entry. Sometimes additional information is given,
such as the purchase price, state or country of residence at
the time of entry, the final certificate number, and the federal
land office where the land was sold. The current county and
civil township are not given in the tract and entry books, but
can be determined by using the range, township, section, part
of section, and original survey name, with a map showing
Ohioâ€™s original land subdivisions.
In the year 2000, original land deed records were
electronically imaged and are available in the State Auditor’s
Office Legal Division. The State Auditor’s Office has more
than 300 cubic feet of original land records in the State of
Ohio Archives. Inquiries should be sent to either the State of
Ohio Archives: Ohio Historical Center, 1982 Velma Avenue,
Columbus, OH 43211 or State Auditor’s Office, Legal Division,
88 East Broad Street – 5th floor, Columbus, OH 43215.
Harrison Land Act, May 10, 1800
William Henry Harrison was the sole representative to Congress from
the Northwest Territory. He was associated politically with the group pressing
for early statehood for Ohio. He was born into privilege, but as a frontier resident,
he was familiar with the liberal land policies desired by actual settlers on
western lands. The land act that he sponsored represented a compromise of
sorts. It liberalized sale terms while retaining a substantial price per acre.
The Land Act of 1800 established federal land offices in Steubenville,
Marietta, Chillicothe, and Cincinnati. Land office business was now more
readily accessible to potential purchasers. The new law provided for sale at
auction, and the minimum price was set at two dollars per acre. Private entry
was permitted if the auctioned land did not sell. The minimum amount to be
sold was cut in half, to 320 acres (half section). For the first time, the law
extended credit to purchasers. The entryman (purchaser) had to deposit 5% of
the purchase price, including surveying fees, on the day of sale. Another 20%
was due within 40 days. Additional payments of 25% of the purchase price were
Bird’s eye view of Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio, ca. 1940-1949.
to be made within two, three, and four years after date of sale. The last three
payments carried an interest charge of 6%. Any tract not completely paid for
within one year after the date of the last payment would be advertised for sale
by the registrar of the land office, who would then sell it at public sale for no
less than the whole arrears due. If the land was not sold, or the arrears paid, it
would then revert to the United States. A discount of 8% per year was allowed
for prepayment of any of the last three payments. A purchaser who paid in full
for his tract on the day of sale could thus buy $2 an acre land for $1.64 an acre.
The act also created two positionsâ€”Receiver of Public Monies, and
Registrar of Public Lands. These officials in each land office could permit the
Surveyor General of the United States to lease the reserved sections of townships
for up to seven years on condition that the lessee make improvements. The
act provided pre-emption rights for anyone erecting a grist mill.
The first federal land office opened in Steubenville in July, 1800. This
office and its sister offices in Ohio enjoyed brisk sales that disposed of 398,647
acres at a price of $834,888 in the 1800-01 season alone. By June 30, 1820, the
four Ohio land offices had sold 8,848,152 acres (13,825 square miles) for
$17,226,186 at an average price per acre of $1.95.
These figures appear to show that federal land was moving at a healthy
pace, but there were problems. More than 29% of those acres were resold due to
default on payment. The first large scale default was related to the Panic of
1819, which was caused in large part by over-extension of credit in public land
sales. Land purchasers were often wildly optimistic about their ability to meet
payments. Too many actual settlers, who should have used their funds to
improve land they already owned, took a flyer and purchased additional land
beyond their ability to pay.
Ohio was still a wilderness in 1820. Only a few towns of respectable
size, nearly all of them along rivers in the stateâ€™s southern reaches, challenged
the great forests and soggy plains. Even the most favorably located farmers
risked a yearâ€™s work as they sent their goods by flatboat down the Ohio-
Mississippi riverway to market at New Orleans. Those living in Ohioâ€™s interior
had scarcely any way to market their crops and livestock. Cash money (specie)
was extremely scarce: much business was carried on by barter. But one could
not barter with the federal land office. It is little wonder there were frequent
defaults on land payments.
Every interest suffered during the Panic of 1819, not just farmers. Land
speculators, banks and other lenders, and business interests generally, even those
in the eastern states, felt its effects. So there was support for the new Land Act,
passed by Congress April 24, 1820, that abolished the credit system. To offset
this loss of maneuvering room, the price of public land was reduced to $1.25
per acre and the minimum purchase reduced to 80 acres. Sales continued, as the
economy recovered, and the Chillicothe land office alone, from 1820 until its
closing in 1876, managed 94,182 entries.
The purchase of federal land was a bureaucratic process in the early
nineteenth century. Once a purchaser (entryman) paid for his land, the registrar
of the land office issued a final certificate (or certificate of location if land scrip
was used in the purchase). The final certificate was then sent to federal author
ities in Washington D.C. and a U.S. Patent was
issued. Accounts and records had to be verified,
thus extending the process. Until March 1833,
each U.S. Patent was signed by the
President of the United States. The patent
was then returned to the originating land
office to be delivered to the owner (patentee).
Some patentees failed to record their
U.S. Patents, and others never even picked
them up from the land office. At the time of
its closure in 1876, the Chillicothe land
office held thousands of unclaimed patents.
These were returned to the General Land
Office in Washington D.C.
In 1800, William Henry Harrison,
served as secretary tothe Northwest Territory. He would
go on to become the 9th President
of the United States
(March 4, 1841 to April 4, 1841).
AN ORIGINAL FEDERAL SURVEY ON THE
FIVE MILE SQUARE PATTERN
From the story of original surveys in Ohio to this point, it is evident that
Congress was willing to allow a variety of practices. Congress was not beyond
experimenting with their own six mile square township pattern, and in 1796 they
did so. Only the Connecticut Western Reserve, privately surveyed, used the five
mile square, and that survey was going on even as Congress established its own
five mile square survey to accommodate soldiersâ€™ bounty land warrants.
United States Military District (USMD)
As early as 1776, and again in 1780, the Continental Congress had
resolved to grant bounty lands to officers and men of the Continental Line. Each
state was responsible for seeing to the needs of soldiers in its own regiments.
The new Congress under the Articles of Confederation (1781-89) had initially
provided bounty lands for Continental soldiers in the Seven Ranges, but this
provision did not succeed in meeting the need.
On June 1, 1796, Congress addressed the issue again, passing legislation
that created the United States Military District, sometimes referred to as
the USMD Lands or the USMD Survey.
Survey of the USMD began in March
1797 according to the provisions of the act of
June 1, 1796. The land was to be divided into
surveying townships five miles square
(16,000 acres) with the township then divided
into quarter townships of 4,000 acres each.
Ranges were numbered east to west, starting
at the line of range seven in the Seven
Ranges. Townships were numbered
northward from the base line, which is the
south line of the USMD tract. Quarter townships
were numbered in a counterclockwise
direction starting with the number one in the
Bounty Land Warrants
for Veterans of the
Acreage by Rank*
Major General . . .1100 acres
Brigadier . . . . . . . .850 acres
Colonel . . . . . . . . .500 acres
Lieutenant Colonel .450 acres
Major . . . . . . . . . . .400 acres
Captain . . . . . . . . .300 acres
Lieutenant . . . . . . .200 acres
Ensign . . . . . . . . . .150 acres
Non-Commissioned 100 acres
Soldier . . . . . . . . . .100 acres
Surgeon . . . . . . . .400 acres
Surgeonâ€™s Mate . . .300 acres
*Source: William Donohue Ellis, The
Ordinance of 1787: The Nation Begins,
Dayton, Ohio: Landfall Press, 1987, p. 28
townshipâ€™s northeast corner. The quarter townships were subdivided by their
original proprietors in whatever manner they wanted.
One wonders why the original survey conformed so poorly to the actual
size of veteransâ€™ warrants. One explanation, it would seem, must center around
Congressâ€™ desire for speed in reconciling the veteran pay issue, and the practical
problems of subdividing the land on a finer grid. Veterans had to pool their war-
rants if they were to buy from the government. Apparently Congress recognized
the awkwardness of these conditions and, in 1800, allowed 50 quarter townships
and fractional quarter townships, not already taken, to be divided into 100 acre
lots. Two years later, Congress permitted some fractional townships to be
divided into 50 acre lots. On March 3, 1803, all remaining land not covered by
warrants, or previously subdivided, were to be surveyed into one mile square
sections and sold on the same terms as other public lands.
In the USMD, as elsewhere in the surveyed lands, many veterans sold
their warrants to speculators or jobbers at a fraction of their true value. Of the
1,043,460 acres claimed by land warrant, 569,542 acres were patented to just 22
persons. The actual location of the 262 quarter townships claimed by military
warrants was determined by a drawing. Few absentee owners ever visited their
land, and fewer still spent any time on it. They sold it, sight unseen, as a speculative
venture, often paying no regard to any attachment of sale made by Ohio
officials for delinquent taxes.
By 1823, the United States government had issued 10,958 warrants
for service in the Revolutionary War totaling 1,549,350 acres,
and more were issued under various laws thereafter. These warrants
could only be used in the USMD except for those used in the Ohio
Company lands or in the Symmes Purchase. Veterans who held on to
their warrants finally received relief by the act of May 30, 1830, which
allowed them to exchange their warrants for land scrip issued in 80
acre amounts, good for $1.25 an acre on land anywhere in the public
domain available for private entry. This act, plus seven other warrant
exchange acts, caused more than 12,138,840 acres of land scrip to be
issued. Researchers will find that land scrip could be bought cheaply,
depending on market conditions. Its use in land transactions does not
infer the holder was entitled to it by military service. Veterans often
sold their land scrip to land jobbers, thus producing a dead-end situation
for family researchers.
TERMS OF SALE UNDER VARIOUS
U.S. LAND ACTS 1785-1862*
Year Minimum P
1785 $1.00 per acre Specie, loan-office or debt certificates. 640 Acres
1796 $2.00 per acre One-half down, one half due in one year 640 Acres
1800 $2.00 per acre One-quarter cash, remainder to be paid in
three annual installments.
1804 $2.00 per acre One-quarter cash, remainder to be paid in
three annual installments.
1820 1.25 per acre Cash. 80 Acres
1830 Land Scrip acceptable in lieu of cash
1832 $1.25 per acre Cash, Land Scrip. 40 Acres
1841 $1.25 per acre Squatters who built homes and improved
land could purchase one-quarter section
before it was offered for public sale.
1855 $1.00 per acre Land not sold for 10 years to be offered at
$1.00 per acre; if not sold for 30 years, land
could be disposed of at 121/2Â¢ per Acre.
1862 $10 (filing fee) Title could be obtained after 5 years
residence under Homestead Act.
*1800-1862 Initial Sale by Public Auction
The USMD is bounded on the north by the Greenville Treaty Line, on the
east by the Seven Ranges, on the south by the Refugee Tract and
Congress Lands, and on the west by the Scioto River. Its 2,560,000 acres
(4,000 square miles) are located in Franklin, Delaware, Knox, Licking,
Morrow, Noble, Marion, Holmes, Coshocton, Muskingum, Tuscarawas, and
Initially all of the public domain could be described as Congress Lands,
but that name was replaced in those regions developed in special surveys such
as the Seven Ranges or the United States Military District. What remained in
the public domain outside these particular regions was still referred to as
Congress Lands, and they were surveyed under the federal rectangular system,
with six mile square townships, and with the numbering system of 1796.
Lands East of the Scioto River
This tract contains more than 3,500,000 acres lying east of the Scioto
River, south of the Refugee Tract and the United States Military District, west
of the Seven Ranges, the Donation Tract and the Ohio Company Purchase, and
north of the Ohio River.
The major portion of this tract was coveted by the Scioto Company, a
speculative venture led by the influential William Duer, which attempted to ride
the coat tails of the Ohio Company to success. The Ohio company did succeed,
of course, but mismanagement and fraud doomed the Scioto Company. It was
unable to pay Congress for its purchase and the land remained in the control of
the federal government.
This survey was integrated into the Ohio Company and Seven Ranges
surveys with the six mile square townships numbered south to north and ranges
numbered east to west. A different survey was used in a 25,200 acre tract that
Congress reserved for the French Grants (see page 50). Many irregularities in
applying the national system occur in the East of Scioto Tract due to surveying
errors, multiple surveys, and erratic numbering.
Lands West of Miami River
This tract lies west of the Great Miami River, east of the Ohio-Indiana
state line, and south of the Greenville Treaty Line. The original survey in 1798
contained a triangular shaped slice of land, now located in Indiana, that
extended to the Greenville line as it ran from Fort Recovery to opposite the
mouth of the Kentucky River. The Ohio Enabling Act of 1802 established
Ohioâ€™s western boundary as a surveyorâ€™s meridian, north from the mouth of the
Great Miami. Ranges are numbered east and west of that meridian, those in
Ohio being â€œEast of the First Meridian.â€ Townships are numbered south to north
with irregularities caused in part by the surveyors basing the numbering on the
North of the Seven Ranges
Congress originally expected to include in the original survey of 1785
lands between the Ohio River and Lake Erie. Connecticutâ€™s reservation,
accepted by Congress in 1786, preempted lands north of the 41st parallel.
Between that parallel and the Base Line of the Seven Ranges Survey, extending
westward from the Pennsylvania line to the Tuscarawas River, lands were surveyed
circa 1801 under the law of 1796. The ranges and townships followed
those of the original Seven Ranges, but the sections were numbered according
to the 1796 pattern.
Land west of the Cuyahoga-Tuscarawas line and north of the U.S. military
District remained Indian territory until that land was ceded in the Treaty of
Ft. Industry (1805). The ceded lands lying within the Western Reserve were surveyed
as an extension of the original Western Reserve survey of 1796-97.
Congress Lands south of the Reserve were surveyed in 1806-07. This survey
had six mile square townships and continued the range, township, and section
numbering system of the Ohio River Survey, section numbering being based on
the 1796 land act.
The Signing of
the Treaty of
dictates terms to
the Indians. This
hanging in the
rotunda of the
CONGRESS LANDS IN NORTHWEST OHIO
Lands west of the Ft. Industry line and north of the Greenville line constitute
northwest Ohio, the last major region of the state to be developed. Here lands â€œguaranteedâ€
to Indian tribes by the Treaty of Greenville (1795) were relinquished by the
tribes in one treaty after another. By 1818, most of northwest Ohio was in possession
of the United States although many small reservations remained until they, too, were
abandoned through forced agreements. After the Wyandots of Upper Sandusky were
forced out in 1842-43, no organized Indian tribe remained in Ohio, and, to this day, it
is one of a small handful of states containing no Indian reservation.
South & East of the First Principal Meridian and Base Line
In 1817 the Ohio-Indiana border was surveyed and became known as the
First Principal Meridian for all land surveyed in the rest of the United States. The
41st parallel of north latitude became the base line. Congress Lands lying east of the
meridian and south of the base line were first surveyed in 1819 under the direction
of Edward Tiffin, Surveyor General of the United States. The tract included Indian
reservations surveyed after the tribes left. This survey used the standard six mile
square township, but townships were numbered north to south. Ranges were numbered
west to east.
North & East of the First Principal Meridian and Base Line
This tract extended eastward from the First Principal Meridian to the
western boundary of the Western Reserve, and northward from the Base Line (41st
parallel) to the line then separating Ohio from Michigan Territory. The survey in
1820-21 created six mile square townships, numbered south to north, and ranges
numbered west to east. A
some years later.
Twelve Mile Reserve and a
Two Mile Reserve, legacies of
the Treaty of Greenville, plus
certain lands still held by
The Michigan Survey
This original land survey is located in Williams, Fulton, and Lucas
counties. It is a continuation of the federal rectangular surveys starting from the
Michigan Meridian, located west of Detroit, and the Base Line located northwest
of Detroit. Due to misconceptions about the geography of the region at the time
Ohio was going through the state making process, controversy erupted over
proper location of the border between Ohio and Michigan Territory.
The controversy traces to the assumption that an east-west line drawn
through the southern extremity of Lake Michigan, as provided in the Northwest
Ordinance of 1787, would give the â€œeastern divisionâ€ (i.e. Ohio) the mouth of the
Maumee River, clearly the most desirable feature of the region. This line was confirmed
in the Ohio enabling act of 1802, but shortly thereafter it was discovered
that Lake Michigan extended further to the south than had been assumed, and an
east-west line from its southern extremity would intersect Lake Erie south of the
mouth of the Maumee. Armed with this information, delegates to Ohioâ€™s constitutional
convention wrote into the new state constitution that, with the approval of
Congress, Ohioâ€™s northern border would be a line drawn directly from Lake
Michiganâ€™s southern extremity to the â€œmost northerly cape of the Miami
(Maumee) Bay.â€ Congress approved the constitution without either confirming or
rejecting Ohioâ€™s self-negotiated line.
In 1817, the Surveyor General of Ohio oversaw a survey by William
Harris, who ran a boundary line according to the language of the Ohio
Constitution. Michigan objected and ordered its own survey, known as the Fulton
Line, according to boundary descriptions in the Northwest Ordinance and the
Ohio enabling act of 1802. Land between the Harris Line and the Fulton Line,
sometimes called the â€œToledo Strip,â€ was hotly contested. Both Ohio and
Michigan Territory threatened to occupy this land with militia, and each made
other gestures by which they hoped to demonstrate control. The issue came to a
head in the mid-1830s as Michigan was preparing for statehood. Both Congress
and Andrew Jacksonâ€™s presidential administration became involved in the dispute.
Ultimately Ohioâ€™s superior political clout prevailed, and on June 15, 1836,
Jackson signed a congressional act awarding the disputed region to Ohio.
Michigan achieved its main goal, statehood, in 1837 and, as consolation for loss
of the â€œToledo strip,â€ was awarded 9,000 square miles which became its Upper
In 1915, Ohio and Michigan joined in a resurvey of the Harris Line that
â€œsatisfiedâ€ both states. However, where the Harris Line touched Lake Erieâ€™s shore,
it was extended northeasterly to the Canadian boundary in Lake Erie, giving Ohio
many square miles of Lake Erie coveted by Michigan, which claimed the Harris
Line should have been extended in a straight line to the boundary. This conflict
was resolved in 1973 when federal courts ruled that the disputed area in Lake Erie
belonged to Ohio.
The Michigan Survey is based on the Michigan Meridian and Base Line.
Ranges are numbered from the Meridian in both an east and a west direction.
Township numbering is uniquely irregular, but it is based on the line of the 41st
The survey of Northwest Ohio used the
Ohio-Indiana state line as a â€œFirst Principal
Meridian.â€ The 41st parallel of north latitude
became an intersecting, east-west base
line used in surveying.
FEDERAL LAND GRANTS FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES
Congress made federal land grants to groups or individuals for specific
reasons: some in sympathy for a mistreated group, some for services rendered
the United States, and at least oneâ€”Zaneâ€™s Tractâ€”in fulfillment of a business
Moravian Indian Grants
Moravian missionaries came to America in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, in part to introduce Christianity to the Indians. In 1772 and
shortly thereafter, they brought their Delaware and Mohican converts to the
Tuscarawas Valley. There they established several villages, but the location was
unfortunate. The villages were situated between hostile, British-supported tribes
to their west, and aggressive American frontier fighters to their east during a
period of bloody struggle in the Ohio country. On March 8, 1782, a band of
about 100 Pennsylvania militiamen who had suffered atrocities from hostile
Aerial view of the Moravian Village, Schoenbrunn, in New Philadelphia,
Tuscarawas County, Ohio, 1930-1939.
Indians descended upon Gnadenhutten, rounded up the Christian Indians nearby,
and systematically murdered 96 men, women, and children.
The slaying of these innocents horrified many easterners, safely
removed from the crude realities of the frontier. Congress thus made recompense
in the Land Ordinance of 1785 by granting to the Moravian Indian survivors
three tracts of 4,000 acres each, located near Schoenbrunn,
Gnadenhutten, and Salemâ€”Moravian towns situated in the Tuscarawas Valley.
In an ordinance of September 3, 1788, these tracts were donated in trust to the
â€œSociety of the United Brethren (Moravian) for propagating the Gospel among
the Heathen.â€ This act was intended to help Moravian missionaries in the task
of â€œcivilizingâ€ the tribes, and was to encourage scattered remnants of the
Christian Indian peoples to return to their former homes along the Tuscarawas.
On February 24, 1798, a U.S. Patent was issued to the United Brethren
as trustees for the Indians, but few of the now scattered Christian Indians
returned to their shadowed valley. Thus, by agreements signed by a U.S.
Commissioner, the United Brethren and the Christian Indians, the trust was
revoked in 1823 and the three tracts transferred to the federal government. The
executed April 24,
1824, and accepted
by Congress May
the three tracts
were divided into
farm lots and later
sold by government
agents at the courthouse
Interior of reconstructed schoolhouse in the
Moravian village, Schoenbrunn, in New
Philadelphia, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, 1939.
remaining unsold were later sold at the Zanesville Land Office. The Christian
Indians received a $400 annuity from the sale proceeds, and the United Brethren
Society received enough money to pay the debt remaining from improvements it
had made to the tracts.
The French Grants, located along the Ohio River in Scioto County, were
awarded to 101 Frenchmen who had been swindled by the Scioto Company (see
page 43). Unscrupulous agents sold lands the company did not own to credulous
French emigrÃ©s. In the process, they grossly misrepresented what lay in store for
Arrival of the French settlers at Gallipolis.
lands to which the
worthless titles were
within the Ohio
The Ohio Company
provided them initial
shelter and then sold
lots to them for $1.25 an acre. Many of the French decided to try their luck elsewhere,
but those who remained founded Gallipolis (city of the Gauls).
Congress was prevailed upon to aid these unfortunates who had paid
twice for land. It passed a bill on May 31, 1795 giving 24,000 acres to â€œthe
French inhabitants of Gallipolis.â€ John Gervais received 4,000 of these acres for
services in obtaining the grant. The remainder was surveyed into 92 lots of
217.4 acres each. This is commonly called the First Grant. Eight inhabitants of
Gallipolis did not receive a portion of the First Grant, so Congress granted an
additional 1,200 acres on June 25, 1798. This land was surveyed into 150-acre
lots and is known as the Second Grant.
The Refugee Tract of 103,527 acres is located in parts of Franklin,
Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties. It extends eastward from the Scioto River
for 42 miles along the south line of the United States Military District. In the
first 30 miles, the Refugee Tract is four and one half miles wide, but it narrows
to three miles wide in its easternmost twelve miles.
The refugees were persons from British Canada who had fled south to
aid the colonial cause during the War for Independence. Terms of the grant were
restrictive. On April 7, 1798, Congress granted land to refugees who had fled
south before July 4, 1776, continued to aid the United States, and who did not
return to reside in territory ruled by the British monarch prior to November 25,
1783. In other words, the refugee had to have been away from home, aiding the
revolutionary cause during the entire revolutionary struggle. Not many could
qualify, even though Congress provided that bounty land could be claimed by
widows and heirs of such persons if they died within the United States or in
colonial service during the Revolutionary War.
An act of February 18, 1801 established the boundaries of the Refugee
Tract and named the claimants and the amount of land to which each was
entitled. Other claimants were named in an act of April 23, 1812. In all, 67
claimants received 58,080 acres, most of it in 320, 640, 960, 1280, and 2,240
The Refugee Lands were not set aside until after the regular federal
surveys had progressed to the United States Military District, so range,
township, section lines and numbers were already established. Townships were
fractional (partial) and were subdivided into 320-acre lots by halving each full
section with a north-south line. The claimantâ€™s grant was located by drawing
lots. An act of April 29, 1816 authorized the Chillicothe Land Office to sell
45,447 unclaimed acres.
In Columbus, the Refugee Grant lies approximately between Fifth
Avenue on the north and Refugee Road on the south. The Ohio Statehouse and
most downtown office buildings are located within the tract.
Ebenezer Zane, an early settler of Wheeling in Western Virginia, con
tracted with the federal government to build a road through the southern Ohio
wilderness. Zaneâ€™s Trace, as the road was called, was hacked out of the dense
forest in 1796-97. It was little more than an improved bridle path connecting
Wheeling with Limestone (Maysville), Kentucky, a principal stopover for down
As payment for his work, Congress authorized Zane to locate three
tracts of 640 acres each so
long as he paid for the
surveys and did not interfere
with existing government
surveys. Zane located his
tracts where his trace crossed
the Muskingum, Hocking,
and Scioto rivers. He received
the right to operate ferries at
these strategic sites. The
wisdom of his choices
became apparent as the
Muskingum crossing grew
into Zanesville (named for
Ebenezer), the Hocking
crossing became Lancaster,
and Chillicothe developed
across the Scioto from his
By an act of April 3,
1802, Ebenezerâ€™s brother,
Isaac Zane, was granted three
sections of 640 acres each, for
services to the federal gov-
Reconstruction of the home of Ebenezer Zane, Jr. in
Logan County, Ohio. The home was built in 1805
and used as an army headquarters in the War of
1812. The photograph was taken ca. 1940-1949.
Memorial to Isaac Zane & Simon Kenton, Zanesfield,
Logan County, Ohio. The memorial was unveiledSeptember 8, 1914. The photograph is ca. 1940-1949.
ernment as intermediary with the Ohio Indians. Two of the sections were reserved
for the use and benefit of Isaacâ€™s children, living at the time of his death, or their
heirs. Zane was issued a U.S. Patent for these tracts on August 28, 1806. They are
located in the civil townships of Salem and Concord in Champaign County.
Arnold Henry Dohrmanâ€”agent for the United States to the Portuguese
crown during the Revolutionary Warâ€”fed, clothed, and nursed American sailors
captured by British cruisers and then released into Dohrmanâ€™s hands. His request
for reimbursement for the funds he personally subscribed in this work were in large
part disallowed by the Treasury for lack of proper documentation. Congress sympathized
with his plight, however, and on October 1, 1787, granted him an entire
township (23,040 acres) as compensation for his expenses and in recognition of his
By an act of February 27, 1801, President John Adams issued a U.S.
Patent to Dohrman for Township 13, Range 7 in the Seven Ranges Survey. Today,
half of that land lies in Harrison, and half in Tuscarawas counties. On March 3,
1817, Congress granted his widow, Rachel, a lifetime annuity of $300, and to each
of Dohrmanâ€™s minor children, $100 annually until they reached age 21.
Other Grants to Individuals
The Dohrman grant was unusually generous, overshadowing in scope
grants made to many others in Ohio. The United States made small grants to some
Indian leaders as part of treaty negotiations, to white men freed from Indian captivity,
and to early settlers who traded with the Indians on behalf of the United
States. The lands granted were located in northwestern Ohio, some of them along
the St. Maryâ€™s River.
Other individuals were rewarded with the grant of pre-emption rights,
which was the right to have first opportunity at purchasing federal land without
having to bid on it. This advantage was eagerly sought by settlers, and their lobbying
with congress finally paid off in the Land Act of 1841, granting pre-emption
to people settled on federal land that they did not own.
FEDERAL MILITARY RESERVATIONS (FORTS)
Pioneer Ohio had two kinds of fortifications: those that were locally
created, like Mariettaâ€™s Campus Martius, and those that were federally mandated.
Federal fort locations (the structure plus surrounding land), often preceded
original surveys, and their lands were integrated into the original surveys
at a later time. A few federal forts, however, were original surveys.
Fort Washington was built in Cincinnati in 1789 to protect settlers. It
became the staging post for U.S. Army campaigns against the Indian confederacy
in the 1790s. The military reservation covered 15 acres, and was set aside
for use by the federal government in John Cleves Symmesâ€™ U.S. Patent. Its military
value much diminished, Congress ordered the property subdivided in 1806
into town lots and streets which were to conform to the original town plat of
Cincinnati. The survey, certified July 8, 1807, shows the fortâ€™s boundaries to be
Fourth Street to the north, Ludlow Street to the east, the Ohio River to the
south, and Broadway to the west. Modern Cincinnatiâ€™s waterfront attractions are
built partly on the old Fort Washington grounds.
Twelve Mile Square Reservation
The Treaty of Greenville (1795) reserved to the United States a twelve mile
square military reservation located at the rapids of the Maumee. This strategic
location had been recognized by the British, who erected Ft. Miami on the north bank
in 1794 to assist Ohio Indians to stop further encroachments upon their lands. As a
condition of Jayâ€™s Treaty (1794), the British abandoned the fort in the summer of
1796. During the War of 1812, General William Henry Harrisonâ€™s army erected Ft.
Meigs on the south side of the Maumee just below the rapids, but long before that,
surveys had been made within the Twelve Mile Square.
By an act of Congress March 3, 1805, the Reserve was surveyed into four,
six mile square townships, numbered clockwise with number one located in the
southwest corner. Each township was partially subdivided into sections although
many sections impinged upon private land claims. In 1816, sections fronting the river
were subdivided into long lots of about 160 acres apiece. They are numbered 1 to 93
and called â€œRiver Tractsâ€ in the State Auditorâ€™s records. Also in 1816, town lots and
out lots were to be laid out in a quantity not to exceed two entire sections. Included
was the town of Perrysburg.
Two Mile Square Reservation
The Two Mile Square, now embraced within the city limits of Fremont, was
another strategic location reserved to the United States in the Treaty of Greenville
(1795). It was located on both sides of the Sandusky River at the rapids. During the
War of 1812, Americans built Ft.
Stephenson on an acre of land on
the riverâ€™s west side. In 1813, young
Major George Croghan and his
badly outnumbered troops successfully
defended the fort against a
British and Indian force of about
In 1807, the Two Mile
Square was surveyed into four 640acre
sections. By an act of April 26,
1816, section one, east of the river,
was divided into 310 in-lots and 63
out-lots to create the town of
Croghanville, named to honor the
defender of Ft. Stephenson. In 1829,
the town, now on both sides of the
river, was incorporated as Lower
Fort Washington, erected
1789-90 in Cincinnati.
Sandusky. In 1848, however, its
name was changed to Fremont to
honor Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont,
the â€œPathfinder of the West.â€ The
federal land office in Wooster
handled early land sales.
Marker commemorating Fort
Washington, built in 1789 and 1790 on
the Ohio River, opposite the mouth of
the Licking River. It was demolished in
1808. The marker is located in
Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. The
photograph was taken ca. 1940-1949.
FEDERAL LAND GRANTS TO THE STATE OF OHIO
In addition to its grants to groups and individuals, the federal government
made substantial land grants to the State of Ohio in support of specific
purposes. These grants involve many interests. The principal ones are described
Among the Founding Fathersâ€™ generation were leaders who believed an
educated public was necessary to sustain a self-governing republic. Even before
adoption of the Constitution of 1787, the Confederation Congress had provided
real support for public schooling by providing, in the Land Act of 1785, that
section 16 (one square mile) in every survey township, be set aside for the
â€œmaintenance of public schools within said township.â€8
The ordinance regards the township as a surveying unit, a six mile
square containing 36 one mile square sections numbered in a prescribed
sequence. Section 16 is located close to the center of the township. Civil townships,
on the other hand, are political units of local government within counties.
In states surveyed under the federal rectangular system, survey townships and
civil townships usually have the same boundaries, but there are many exceptions.
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 identified characteristics to be found
in a well-ordered, democratic society, but it made no provision, beyond encouragement,
for support of public schooling. In the enabling act of 1802, however,
Congress offered three positions which, if accepted by delegates to the 1802
constitutional convention, â€œshall be obligatory upon the United States.â€ The first
proposition was that section 16 in every township, â€œand where such section has
been sold, granted, or disposed of,â€ equivalent land closest to section 16, â€œshall
be granted to the inhabitant of such township for the use of schools.â€
Convention delegates responded with a counterproposal. The United
States should donate one thirty-sixth (2.77%) of the land area of Ohio for the
8) By 1920, 73,155,075 acres of public land had been given by the federal
government to the public land states in support of public schooling.
The United States government ultimately
granted 704,204 acres to Ohio for
the support of public schooling. Each
township received section 1
116 whenever possible,
or another section in lieu of it. Early
land grants sometimes interfered with the
availability of section 16, so it was not
uncommon for a substitute section to be
assigned. Downtown Columbus, for
Congress reserved section 16 near
example, is situated in Range 22, Township the middle of each township for
the use of public schools.
5, Section 16 (according to Matthewâ€™s
Survey) which should have been reserved
for support of public schools. However, the Refugee Grant overlapped this
section 16, and it was therefore unavailable for schools, but was available to
claimants of the Refugee Grant. Thus township 5â€™s schools were assigned
Section 15 in Township 11, Range 21 (Matthewâ€™s Survey), which is located next
to Township 11â€™s school section, now located in Madison Township, Franklin
County, near Groveport.
The Virginia Military District, the Connecticut Western Reserve, and
the United States Military District all received school lands, but these lands
were not located within either the Virginia Military District or in the Western
Reserve because neither tract was developed under federal jurisdiction.
Virginia Military District school lands (105,600 acres) are located in
Morrow, Wayne, Holmes, Ashland, Richland and Crawford counties.
Western Reserve lands are located in Holmes and Tuscarawas counties
(56,000 acres) and in Williams, Defiance, Paulding, Putnam, Henry, and Van
Wert counties (37,724.16 acres). In all, the Connecticut Western Reserve was
granted 93,724.16 acres.
United States Military District school lands totaled 72,000 acres and
are located in Guernsey, Coshocton, Muskingum, Licking, Morrow, and
Delaware counties. The Donation Tract, the Two Mile Square reserve, the
Moravian Tracts, and the French Grants were granted school lands either
within the tracts, or adjoining them.
support of public schools. Also, the United States should give the state not less
than three percent of the net proceeds derived from public land sales in Ohio for
constructing roads within the state, and should donate one survey township
(23,040 acres) for an institution of higher learning. Finally, the Ohio legislature
should be given control of the donated lands, in trust, for the purposes Congress
intended when making the Grant.9 Congress accepted these bold counterproposals
on March 3, 1803, thereby appropriating public land to honor its commitment
On April 15, 1803, Ohioâ€™s first state legislature provided for leasing and
administering school lands. Initially lands were to be leased for seven to fifteen
years. The lessee was obligated to clear and fence the property, plant 100 apple
trees, and perform other duties. In 1817, in what proved to be an unfortunate
move, the legislature allowed school lands to be leased for 99 years, renewable
forever. Some legislators wanted to sell school lands, and on February 1, 1826,
Congress permitted sales with the provision that the townshipâ€™s inhabitants must
vote their consent. The legislature complied with this mandate and, on January
20, 1827, enacted the voting, appraisal, and conveyance procedures to be followed.
Proceeds from the sale of school lands were to be deposited in the
Common School Fund, and interest on the principal paid to the schools within
the original surveyed townships.
The Ohio Constitution of 1851 (still the basic law of Ohio, although
much amended) provided in Article VI, Section I for protection of the principal
of all funds received from the sale or other disposition of the lands granted or
entrusted to the state for educational or religious purposes. This article was
amended in 1968, and the trust monies were then dispersed for educational purposes.
Until 1914, school lands were administered by trustees of the original
surveyed townships. Often their stewardship was sloppy, a problem that went
back to the earliest days of statehood. In 1838, for example, Samuel Lewis, the
stateâ€™s first Superintendent of Common Schools, issued the â€œFirst Annual Report
9) Miami University became the beneficiary of the grant of a township to support
from this department for the State of Ohio.â€ Lewis rode on horseback over
much of the state gathering information. His report chronicled abuses by
township trustees including misdirecting tax monies ostensibly collected for
school purposes, and leasing school lands to favorites under excessively generous
terms. Later generations would call the latter abuses â€œsweetheart deals.â€
In 1914, the Auditor of State became responsible for leasing mineral
rights on school lands, and in addition to his other duties, the Garver Act of
1917 made him Supervisor of School and Ministerial Lands. The Auditor
retained supervisory control until August 1, 1985, when the legislature transferred
most of these duties to the Director of Administrative Services.10
On June 29, 1988, legislation went into effect that transferred the
general charge, supervision, management, and all remaining monies of school
lands from the Director of Administrative Services to the Board of Education in
each school district that had been allotted these lands. Title to them is now held
in trust by the State of Ohio, through the General Assembly, as per a March 3,
1803 Act of Congress.
The Auditor of State maintains the record copy of School and
Ministerial Land deeds issued by the State of Ohio. Final certificates for such
lands, as well as lease records, are located in the State of Ohio Archives, Ohio
In the early years of the American Union, some states still taxed their
citizens for the benefit of religion. This was a holdover from English and other
European traditions where one denomination constituted a state church and
received its support and other perquisites from the state. In America, however,
religious diversity undercut that practice as it became apparent that there would
be no agreement on whose religious practices would prevail, let alone earn
10) At the time of transfer, four school land farms totaling 1,232 acres were
under two year leases, while several small lots in Columbiana County were
under lease for 99 years, renewable forever. The four school land farms were
located in Hardin County, Marion Township (R9E, T4S, S16-640 acres);
Ross County, Green Townships (R21, T9, S15-312 acres); Marion County,
Big Island Township (R14E, T5S, S15-160 acres); and Franklin County,
Madison Township (R21, T11, S16-120 acres).
Some 99-year leases renewable forever are still in effect in
Marietta and in Hamilton Countyâ€™s Delhi and Green townships.
Persons occupying these lands do not own them, which presents a
title problem. To clear this problem, persons pay the back rent and
receive a deed from the State of Ohio. The back rent on some parcels
has been as low as five cents a year because the original 1805 rent
formula is still in effect.
In 1833, Congress authorized Ohio to sell ministerial lands.
Money from the sale was invested, and churches within the original
surveying township received the interest and rent money until 1968,
when the constitutionality of such church-state relationships was
challenged. Congress then authorized the remaining ministerial funds
to be dispersed for schools. In May, 1968, Ohio voters approved a
constitutional amendment that directed any future ministerial income
be used solely for educational purposes.
public tax support. Congressâ€™ grant of ministerial lands in Ohio (such grants
limited to the Ohio Company Purchase and the Symmes Purchase) was
therefore somewhat of an anomaly.
Both the Ohio Companyâ€™s First Purchase and the Symmes Purchase
provided that section 29 of each township be set aside for the support of
religion. Monies realized from the leasing or sale of section 29 were to be distributed
to the townshipâ€™s churches on a pro rata basis according to each denominationâ€™s
membership. As with school lands, township trustees were in charge of
administering these lands. After Ohio emerged as a state, the Ohio General
Assembly became the trustee of ministerial lands. The legislature enacted laws
permitting 99-year leases, renewable forever. Income from ministerial lands,
therefore, was severely limited.
Ohioâ€™s ministerial lands totaled 43,525 acres. In the Ohio Company
First Purchase, ministerial lands were located in Washington, Meigs, Gallia,
Lawrence, and Athens counties. When the original survey was made, it was dis-
covered that Marietta was within a ministerial section, and the federal government
would not permit the sale of section 29 in Marietta. Congress did not
set aside section 29 in the Ohio Companyâ€™s Second Purchase (parts of Vinton,
Morgan, Hocking, and Athens counties), but on January 7, 1796, the Ohio
Company set aside section 29 in each of the ten surveying townships located in
this tract. Congress treated section 29 lands in the Symmes Purchase as it did
those in the Ohio Company lands through a contract with the Board of Treasury.
Ministerial lands in the Symmes Purchase are located in parts of Hamilton,
Butler, and Warren counties.
Ministerial lands are yet another evidence that Ohioâ€™s experience with
federal lands is unique.
Congress made no other provision
for the support of
religion elsewhere in the public
domain. Some small, specific
mission grants were made in a
few western states based on the
historic presence there of continuous
Canals opened the
interior of Ohio to national and
world markets. In 1825 the
state commenced construction
on the Ohio and Erie Canal
and the Miami Canal, later
extended into the Miami and
Erie Canal. It was an enormous
undertaking for a relatively poor state to handle. Ohio followed the lead of New
York State, which had just completed its Erie Canal, and sold state-backed
bonds in eastern money markets to finance construction of these two through
The old Miami and Erie Canal, built between
1825-1845, St. Marys, Auglaize County,
Ohio, ca. 1940-1949.
routes connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River. Several short feeder lines were
In Ohioâ€™s settled areas, land for canal right-of-way was secured through
eminent domain. In some cases, land owners donated right-of-way to the state
knowing that a canal would enhance the value of their remaining holdings. The
northward extension of the Miami and Erie, however, ran largely through unsold
federal lands. In 1828, Congress granted Ohio 500,000 acres in the stateâ€™s northwestern
region to help finance the northward extension of the Miami Canal.
This was the first of several grants that ultimately totaled 1,100,361 acres. Ohio
realized $2,257,487 from the sale of these lands.11
Ohioâ€™s canal era was rather brief. Construction started July 4, 1825. By
July 4, 1827, the first usable section of the Ohio and Erie (36 miles from Akron
to Cleveland) was in operation. Ultimately the Ohio Canal System included
more than 795 miles of through canals and feeders, five reservoirs comprising
11) Ohioâ€™s major canals and their length were: Ohio and Erie, 308 miles; Miami
and Erie, 248 miles; Wabash and Erie, 18 miles in Ohio (most of it was in
Indiana); Hocking, 56 miles; Walhonding, 25 miles; Sandy and Beaver, 6
miles (the state was only responsible for a small part of this canal);
Muskingum improvement, 91 miles; and eight feeders, 42 miles.
32,903 acres, 29 stream dams, 294 lift locks, and 44 aqueducts. These cost the
state $15,967,652. The cost of operating and maintaining the system, up to
November 15, 1901 was $12,464,130. Gross receipts for that period were
The mature canal system had scarcely begun to function when, in the
1850s, large scale railroad development undercut the canalsâ€™ importance. By
encouraging railroad development, the state actually contributed to the demise
of its considerable canal investment. In the Civil War era, the state surrendered
control of the system to private interests that took what profit they could and
allowed the system to deteriorate. Late in the nineteenth century, the state
reclaimed control, but found itself stuck with unprofitable, deteriorating properties.
Neither Ohioâ€™s governors nor other influential people could persuade the
legislature to invest in a major overhaul. In 1913, a great flood washed out or
destroyed nearly all the still viable sections.
Much canal right-of-way was converted to other uses. Railroad tracks
were laid on some, roads and trunk sewer lines preempted other sections, and
private citizens whose land abutted canal lands often treated canal property as
their own. The state recovered some of its canal lands, but much remained
outside its grasp. Today, canal towpath and reservoirs are prized for their recreational
Wagon Road or Turnpike Lands
As provided in the congressional enabling act of June 30, 1802, Ohio
received three percent of the net proceeds from federal land sales in the state to
be used exclusively for building roads within the state. (Another two percent of
federal sales was marked for construction of roads leading to Ohioâ€™s boundaries.)
The state used this seed money effectively to help construct its earliest
roads. By June 30, 1880, Ohio had received $596,634 from this source.
As it had with canals, Congress recognized the importance of roads by
granting federal land to the state to help in the construction of two important
roads. On February 23, 1823, Ohio was granted 60,000 acres along the 46-mile
route of the Maumee Road. Income from these lands made it possible for Ohio
to construct a road running from Perrysburg on the Maumee to the western
boundary of the Western Reserve (at modern Bellevue). The help was essential
because much of the roadway ran through the Black Swampâ€™s supersaturated
terrain which made road building an expensive proposition. In 1827, the state
received an additional 31,596 acre congressional grant, this one in support of
the Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike.
Federal land grants to Ohio for canals and roads came at a time in the
nationâ€™s history when there was much disagreement about what role the federal
government should play, if any, in financing internal improvements. Many
argued that financing roads and canals should be borne entirely by the states in
which the improvements rested: they were the beneficiaries, not taxpayers
across the nation at large. Others countered by claiming that roads and canals,
wherever located, were, or soon would become, part of a national transportation
system that would expedite the mails, allow quick movement of troops and supplies
to threatened areas, and generally help bind the nation together. Even
eastern business officials
and consumers would
benefit from having
goods flow freely within
western states and
across state boundaries.
Ohio was fortunate. It
received its federal land
grants for roads and
canals before resistance
to federal funding of
tightened during the
of Andrew Jackson
Rutted road with Zanesville, MuskingumCounty, Ohio in the distance,
ca. 1886-1888. This photograph is part ofa collection compiled by Henry Howewhile researching the 1889 edition ofâ€œHistorical Collections of Ohio.â€
Scioto Salt Springs
Photo courtesy of:
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Salt was a precious and scarce commodity on the frontier. It was valued
for seasoning, but it was also essential for the preservation of certain foods,
mainly pork. Many a frontier family or military garrison subsisted on little more
than salt pork during winter months. Indians had â€œboiled saltâ€ at Ohioâ€™s salt
springs. The springs were located in surveyorsâ€™ notes, and they brought prime
prices on the market.
Congress recognized the
special value of salt springs. In the
Land Act of 1796, it reserved salt
springs on federal land from sale. In
Ohio, these reservations were found
in present day Jackson County
(23,040 acres or one township),
Delaware County (4,000 acres), and
Muskingum County (1,280 acres).
The Scioto springs were Ohioâ€™s
largest and most valuable. A thriving
settlement grew up around them,
causing the state legislature to create
a new county of Jackson with the
county seat located at the salt works.
In 1816, Congress authorized the
sale of 640 acres of this reservation and the proceeds of $7,196 were used to
construct county buildings. In 1824, Congress authorized Ohio to sell all of its
remaining salt lands and use the proceeds for â€œliterary purposes.â€
On September 28, 1850, by act of Congress, Ohio received 25,640 acres
of land mostly in the undrained Black Swamp of Northwestern Ohio. The land
was considered worthless at the time, but draining it in later years produced
FEDERAL LANDS DONATED BY
CONGRESS FOR UNIVERSITIES
In the First Ohio Company Purchase, two surveying townships were
reserved by Congress perpetually â€œfor the purposes of a university.â€ These lands
comprising 46,080 acres are located in the civil townships of Athens and Alexander
in Athens County. The recipient of this land grant was Ohio University, chartered by
the state on February 18, 1804. The next year the state legislature permitted the
University Trustees to lease these lands to settlers for 99 years, renewable forever.
The leases fixed an annual rent of six percent of the appraised value of the lands.
This decision was short-sighted. The trustees were interested in immediate income,
and doubtless, had only a limited number of options for obtaining it in what was still
Photographic reproduction of a drawing by Henry Howe depicting Ohio University
at Athens, Ohio in 1846. Ohio University, founded in 1804, was the first institution
of higher education established in the old northwest. This photographic
reproduction of Howe’s drawing dates ca. 1970-1979.
In 1826, Congress permitted the state to sell land in the two surveying
townships, but for lands already leased, persons holding the lease paid only the rent
established by the 1805
law, and that condition
institution was a uni
versity in name only
when the first students
appeared in 1809. For
some years it remained
more a secondary school
than a true college, but by
1820 it was offering some
Among the universityâ€™s
early graduates were men
of distinction in the early history of Ohio. Ohio University was the first collegiate
institution in the old Northwest Territory, and the first publically assisted insti
tution of its kind in America.
Ohio Universityâ€™s Cutler Hall, built in 1816.
Aerial view of Ohio University, founded 1804 in Athens, Athens County,
Ohio, ca. 1940-1949.
John Cleves Symmes, as we have noted, was involved in several difficulties
while trying to develop the land he and his associates had purchased
between the Miami rivers. Among them was his failure to honor the sale provision
requiring him to set-aside a full surveying township in support of higher
education. Congress expected Symmes either to give the federal government
land in that amount from his grant or to pay $15,360, plus interest from the date
of his 1794 patent. Although Symmes had conflicts with Congress, he still had
political clout, having been chosen by Congress as one of the three judges for
the Northwest Territory.
Congress declared in September, 1803 that 23,321 acres (36.4 square
miles) located in the Congress Lands west of the Great Miami were to be set
aside for â€œan academy, other public schools and seminaries of learning.â€ The set
aside land is located in modern Butler County. It benefited Miami University,
chartered in 1809 by the state legislature in a town the legislature named
Oxford. Secondary level classes began in 1818, collegiate courses followed in
1824, and the first collegiate class graduated in 1826. Unfortunately, as in other
instances involving the leasing of public lands for school purposes, Miami
realized little income, for the land was leased for 99 years, renewable forever, at
what is today a negligible rate.
The earliest known photo of the Miami campus, ca. 1858. The large building
was known as either â€œThe Main Buildingâ€ or simply â€œOld Main.â€
The two smaller buildings were the North and South Dormitories.
Photo courtesy of the Miami University Archives.
The Ohio State University
While the Civil War was raging, Congress passed the Morrill Act of
1862. It offered land grants to any state or territory that would establish a
college focused on agriculture and the mechanic arts. The Morrill Act thus
became the basis for the nationâ€™s impressive â€œland grantâ€ universities, most of
which are A&M (Agricultural and Mechanical) universities.
On February 9, 1864, the Ohio legislature accepted this actâ€™s terms and
received 30,000 acres of public land for each federal senator and representative.
Since Ohio had two senators and 19 representatives, the state was entitled to
630,000 acres. Federal lands were no longer available in Ohio, however, so the
state accepted land scrip in its place. Land scrip, issued by the federal government,
could be used to acquire land anywhere in the public domain open for
private entry. Instead of buying land, Ohio sold its land scrip for $342,450.80,
about 54 cents per acre. This became the universityâ€™s initial stake. The Ohio
Agricultural and Mechanical College was chartered in 1870, opened its doors to
students in 1873, and graduated its first class in 1878. In addition to the Morrill
Grant, the state legislature assigned the school at least 76,735 acres of unlocated
Ohio State Universityâ€™s University Hall, 1874 in Columbus, Ohio,
Photo courtesy of: The Ohio State University.
lands remaining in the Virginia Military District. These lands were sold or quit
claimed to individuals until the 1940s.
Though initially designed to be an A&M college, the schoolâ€™s trustees
soon decided its curriculum should reach beyond agriculture and the mechanical
arts, and, consistent with this belief, they renamed the school Ohio State
University. To emphasize its place in the state system, the name later became
The Ohio State University.
Original Surveys Influence Ohioâ€™s Development
The original surveys of federal lands in Ohio often defined regions set
aside for the benefit of specific groups. Survey lines defining congressional land
grants became, in effect, boundaries setting off one cultural group from another.
Ohio, therefore, was a mosaic of diverse peoples from its beginning. These
groups of dissimilar background, with different economic, political, and social
traditions, were present in large enough numbers, and they maintained their
regional hold long enough to leave enduring marks upon Ohio. To this day, a
discerning viewer can find cultural traces that the stateâ€™s earliest settlers left in
their various regions.
Ohio State Universityâ€™s First Graduating Class 1878 in Columbus, Ohio,
Photo courtesy of: The Ohio State University.
New Englanders established the stateâ€™s first authorized, enduring settlement
at Marietta in April, 1788, in lands purchased by the Ohio Company of
Associates. Shortly thereafter, a larger group of New Englanders moved into the
Connecticut Western Reserve, a region Connecticut had sold to private land
developers. These two centers of New England influence supported northern
values – federalism, internal improvements, business enterprise, banks, and
public schools supported by tax money.
In south central Ohio, western Virginians and Kentuckians dominated
the Virginia Military District, infusing the region with the values of the Upland
Southâ€“localism and statesâ€™ rights, decentralization, livestock raising as an agricultural
specialty, schooling to be paid for by those attending, and a more laid-
back lifestyle than was found among New Englanders.
The Seven Ranges was not designed to favor a particular cultural group,
but its proximity to the Ohio River attracted frontier Pennsylvanians, western
Virginians and others who simply moved across the river to their new homes.
They were a somewhat diverse group, but the strong Scots-Irish presence among
them was noted for its independence, antipathy toward Indians, and love of
political and religious disputation.
John Cleves Symmes and associates sold much of the Miami Purchase
to fellow New Jerseyites and other Middle States people, some of whom came
to settle between the Miamis and some who sold their holdings to others. The
Miami Purchase was culturally mixed from the start because of its easy access
to Kentuckians seeking more secure land titles, and because it bordered the
Ohio River, the main avenue to the West for migrants. Cincinnati, the regionâ€™s
focus, quickly became Ohioâ€™s largest and most cosmopolitan city, attracting a
diversity of people including Ohioâ€™s largest concentration of free blacks and
unknown numbers of fugitive slaves.
Other cultural groups in early Ohio included Pennsylvania Germans.
Although Congress bestowed no land grant upon them, they tended initially to
cluster within the Congress Lands of the Ohio River Survey located immediately
south of the Western Reserve. They brought their language, agricultural
practices, and various Protestant religious preferences to this region. Congress
designed the French Grants and the Moravian Grants to benefit people with distinctive
social and cultural outlooks, but their numbers were too small for them
to have statewide impact.
A salad bowl of peoples, each distinct but living close by people different
from themselves, organized the State of Ohio. No one group was dominant
enough to impose its will upon the others, although it might assume for a
time the leadership role in a particular political, economic, or social cause. Early
political leadership, for example, fell to Democratic Republicans from the
regions largely inhabited by persons of southern origin. They substantially outnumbered
Federalist New Englanders. On the other hand, decades later New
England influence tended to define Ohioâ€™s move toward tax-supported schools,
internal improvements, and support for the great antebellum social reform
movements, especially anti-slavery.
Migration into the state from other parts of the Union was accompanied
by a strong flow of immigrants directly from Europe. They came principally
from Great Britain, Ireland, and the various German states. The British (English,
Scots, Welsh) settled widely across the state, having nothing to do with survey
boundaries. Nor did the Irish confine themselves to a particular region. In time,
Irish immigrants tended to cluster in villages and cities.
The German immigrants were also located in many parts of the state,
but those who were primarily farmers tended to cluster in new lands recently
opened. About 1830, Germans by the thousands started moving into north
central, west central, and northwestern Ohio, and this movement lasted for
decades. It was common for Germans to come to Cincinnati, where brokers
assisted them in acquiring government land or land sold by speculators. Most of
this land was located in those surveys located south and east, and north and east
of the Principal Meridian and Base Line. It was originally surveyed between
1819 and 1821. Some later located in the Michigan Survey.
This immigration was large enough and enduring enough to give a
flavor to these large regions of Ohio. There were cultural splits among the
Germans, most notably between Roman Catholic and Protestant believers,
leading to the establishment of villages which were exclusively one or the other.
In large part, however, values were sharedâ€“respect for the German language
(despite various dialects), architecture, agricultural practices, food specialties, a
sense of neatness and concern for property, and an enduring social and political
conservatism. As Germans and others moved into northwestern Ohio, they were
aided by the Miami and Erie Canal and by the Maumee Road connecting the
Maumee River with the Western Reserve. Both were built with funds derived
from the sale of federal land granted to Ohio for these purposes.
Ohioâ€™s growth and development proceeded at an impressive pace, so
that by 1840 it had become the nationâ€™s third most populous state, a distinction
it would hold until 1890. In the process, the original survey lines were often lost
to the public eye. In a few cases, such as the 41st parallel of latitude defining
the Western Reserveâ€™s southern boundary, a portion of a survey line serves as
part of the boundary of a county, but most counties were erected independent of
survey lines. Many contain lands from more than one original survey. Franklin
County, for instance, has some townships laid out on the six mile square grid of
the East of Scioto Survey, some on the five mile square grid of the United States
Military District, some subject to the special considerations of the Refugee
Grant, and some formed in the helter skelter of the Virginia Military District.
A special case is the Greenville Treaty Line. Between the Tuscarawas
River and the Ohio-Indiana border, it cuts west by southwest through a number
of counties, dividing one original survey pattern from another. It is interesting
that an agreement, forged in 1795 with Indian peoples, continues to impact upon
Ohio may no longer be a salad bowl of diverse people. Groups have lost
their distinctiveness through mobility, intermarriage, new immigration, and the
cultural blending wrought by a media-invoked cultural salad dressing poured
over us all.
The most meaningful original survey lines that endure today are those
marking state boundaries. They do not set us apart. They embrace us all.
The Origin of Ohioâ€™s
(Date in parentheses is year county was established, it may differ from year it was actually organized.)
Adams (1797), named for our second president, John Adams, during whose administration the county
Allen (1820), probably named for either Ethan Allen, a hero of the Revolutionary War or John L.
Allen, a hero of the War of 1812. Both men were colonels.
Ashland (1846), named after â€œAshland,â€ home of the Whig candidate for President, Henry Clay,
outside Lexington, Kentucky.
Ashtabula (1808), named after the Ashtabula River which meant â€œFish Riverâ€ in the local Indian
Athens (1805), the county is named after Athens, Greece.
Auglaize (1848), named for the Auglaize River. â€œAuglaizeâ€ is a Shawnee Indian word meaning
Belmont (1801), comes from the French words â€œbelle monte,â€ meaning â€œbeautiful mountain,â€
describing the hills of the county.
Brown (1818), named for Gen. Jacob Brown, a hero of the War of 1812. Georgetown, the county
seat, was the boyhood home of Ulysses Simpson Grant, Civil War General and 18th President of
the United States.
Butler (1803), named for Major General Richard Butler, killed during the disastrous defeat of General
Arthur St. Clair by the Indians on Nov. 4, 1791.
Carroll (1833), took the name Carroll from Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland, the last surviving
signer of the Declaration of Independence, who died in Baltimore on November 14, 1832, at the
age of 96.
Champaign (1805), is French and means â€œa plain,â€ descriptive of the level land in the area.
Clark (1818), named for Brigadier General George Rogers Clark who defeated the Shawnee Indians
in a battle near Springfield, on August 8, 1780.
Clermont (1800), comes from the French word meaning â€œclear mountain.â€
Clinton (1810), named in honor of George Clinton, who was vice-president of the United States when
the county was formed.
Columbiana (1803), derived from Christopher Columbus and Anna.
Coshocton (1810), is an anglicized version of the Indian village â€œGoschachgunkâ€ or â€œGoschachingâ€
meaning â€œBlack Bear Townâ€ or â€œwhere there is a river crossing.â€
Crawford (1820), named in honor of Col. William Crawford who was burned at the stake in 1782 by
Cuyahoga (1808), named for the Cuyahoga River. Cuyahoga is an Indian word meaning â€œcrooked,â€
or â€œwinding stream.â€
Darke (1809), named for Gen. William Darke, Revolutionary War hero.
Defiance (1845), named for Fort Defiance built in 1794 by General Anthony Wayne.
Delaware (1808), named for the Delaware Indians who came from the Delaware River area near
Erie (1838), named for the Erie Indian tribe. In their Indian dialect the word â€œerieâ€ meant â€œcatâ€ or
Fairfield (1800), Arthur St. Clair, Governor of the Northwest Territory, named this county for the
beauty of its â€œfair fields.â€
Fayette (1810), named for Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette.
He served as an American Major General in the Revolutionary War and was named an honorary
U.S. citizen in 1803.
Franklin (1803), named for Benjamin Franklin, printer and diplomat.
Fulton (1850), named for Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat.
Gallia (1803), is derived from Gaul, the ancient name of France.
Geauga (1806), the name Geauga or Sheauga was one given by the Indians to the Grand River which
flows through the county. It means â€œraccoon.â€
Greene (1803), named for Gen. Nathaniel Greene, Revolutionary War hero.
Guernsey (1810), due to the fact that many of the original settlers came from the Isle of Guernsey in
the English Channel.
Hamilton (1790), named for Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, 1789-1795.
Hancock (1820), named for John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress (1775-1777) and
first signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Hardin (1820), named for Colonel John Hardin who was executed by the Indians while on a peace
mission in 1792.
Harrison (1813), named for General William Henry Harrison, a hero of the War of 1812. First U.S.
President to have lived in Ohio.
Henry (1820), named for Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia 1776-1779 and 1784-1786; a cele
brated orator of the Revolutionary War period.
Highland (1805), describes the countyâ€™s terrain.
Hocking (1818), derived its name from the Indian word â€œHoch-Hoch-ingâ€ which meant â€œa bottle.â€
The Hocking River flows though this county which was once claimed by the Wyandot Indians.
Holmes (1824), named for Major Andrew H. Holmes, who was killed during Major George
Croghanâ€™s unsuccessful attack on Fort Mackinac (Michigan) on August 4, 1814.
Huron (1809), the name Huron was given by the French to the Wyandot Indian tribe who lived in this
Jackson (1816), named for Major General Andrew Jackson, who defeated the British at the Battle of
New Orleans, January 8, 1815.
Jefferson (1797), named for Thomas Jefferson, statesman and Vice President of the United States,
March 4, 1797 to March 3, 1801, and the 3rd President of the U.S. (1801-09).
Knox (1808), named for General Henry Knox, the first U.S. Secretary of War.
Lake (1840), named because it borders on Lake Erie; Ohioâ€™s smallest county in land area.
Lawrence (1815), named for Captain James Lawrence, commander of the U.S. Frigate Chesapeake
during the War of 1812.
Licking (1808), derived its name from the principal stream flowing through the county. Pioneers
called it the â€œLicking Riverâ€, but it was called â€œPataskalaâ€ by the Indians. The river received its
name from salt licks in the area.
Logan (1818), named for Gen. Benjamin Logan, who destroyed the Shawnee Indians Mac-o-chee
Villages in the area in 1786.
Lorain (1822), named after the Province of Lorraine, France.
Lucas (1835), named for Robert Lucas, Ohio Governor 1832-1836, who personally commanded Ohio
troops in the 1835 boundary dispute with Michigan. First territorial Governor of Iowa 1838-1841.
Madison (1810), named for James Madison, U.S. President from March 4, 1809 to March 3, 1817.
Mahoning (1846), derives its name from the Mahoning River. Mahoning is from the Indian word
â€œMahoni,â€ meaning a â€œlickâ€ or â€œMahonink,â€ meaning â€œat the lick.â€
Marion (1820), named in honor of Gen. Francis Marion of South Carolina, the â€œSwamp Foxâ€ of
Revolutionary War fame.
Medina (1812), named for Medina in Arabia, the town to which Mohammed fled from Mecca.
Meigs (1819), named for Return Jonathan Meigs, Jr., Ohio Governor 1810-1814 and Postmaster
General 1814-1823 who lived in Marietta.
Mercer (1820), named in honor of Gen. Hugh Mercer, who was killed at the Battle of Princeton, New
Jersey, on January 3, 1777.
Miami (1807), named for the Miami Indians who claimed Western Ohio and whose principal village,
Pickawillany, was located near Piqua.
Monroe (1813), named for James Monroe, U.S. Secretary of State, 1811-1817, and later the fifth
President of the United States, 1817-1825.
Montgomery (1803), named for General Richard Montgomery who lost his life in
the assault on Quebec during the Revolutionary War.
Morgan (1817), named in honor of Gen. Daniel Morgan, who won a brilliant victory against the
British at Cowpens, South Carolina, January 17, 1781.
Morrow (1848), named for Jeremiah Morrow, Congressman 1803-1813; 1840-1843, U.S. Senator
1813-1819, and Ohio Governor 1822-1826.
Muskingum (1804), is an old Delaware Indian word meaning â€œa town by the river.â€
Noble (1851), named out of respect for James Noble, a pioneer settler who first bought land in the
county in 1814.
Ottawa (1840), named for the Ottawa Indian tribe. The name in their language meant â€œtrader.â€
Paulding (1820), named for John Paulding, one of three soldiers who captured Major John Andre,
British spy in the Revolutionary War.
Perry (1818), named in honor of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, who defeated the British in the
naval Battle of Lake Erie, September 13, 1813.
Pickaway (1810), named from a misspelling of the tribe of Indians, known as Piqua, a branch of the
Pike (1815), bears the name of Brig. Gen. Zebulon Montgomery Pike, who discovered Pikeâ€™s Peak in
Colorado in 1806.
Portage (1808), name comes from the old Indian portage path, eight miles in length, between the
Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers.
Preble (1808), named for Capt. Edward Preble, naval commander in the Revolutionary War and the
War with Tripoli.
Putnam (1820), named for Israel Putnam, Revolutionary War Major General, who gained fame at the
Battle of Breedâ€™s Hill, often misnamed the Battle of Bunker Hill, on June 17, 1775.
Richland (1808), named for the richness of its soil.
Ross (1798), named by Territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair for his friend, James Ross of
Pennsylvania, U.S. Senator 1794-1803.
Sandusky (1820), is a derivative of an Indian word meaning â€œcold water.â€ In Wyandot and Huron
languages it is â€œSa-un-dos-teeâ€ meaning â€œwater within water pools.â€
Scioto (1803), takes its name from the Scioto River which flows through the county. Scioto comes
from a Indian word â€œScionto,â€ meaning â€œdeer.â€
Seneca (1820), named for the Seneca Indians, who had a 40,000 acre reservation north of Tiffin from
Shelby (1819), named for Isaac Shelby, Revolutionary War hero and first Governor of Kentucky.
Counties in nine states are named for him.
Stark (1808), named for Gen. John Stark of Revolutionary War fame.
Summit (1840), derived its name for having the highest land on the line of the Ohio and Erie Canal,
known as â€œPortage Summit.â€
Trumbull (1800), in the Connecticut Western Reserve, was named for Jonathan Trumbull, Jr.,
Governor of Connecticut 1797-1809.
Tuscarawas (1808), named for the Tuscarawas River, an Indian term perhaps meaning â€œopen mouthâ€.
Union (1820), named because it was formed from parts of Delaware, Franklin, Madison, and Logan
Van Wert (1820), named for Isaac Van Wert, one of the three captors of British spy, Major John
Andre. Actual spelling of Van Wertâ€™s name was â€œVan Wart.â€ The spelling was changed due to an
illegible entry in Congressional records.
Vinton (1850), named for Samuel Finley Vinton, an Ohio Statesman and U.S. Congressman, known
as the â€œFather of the Department of Interior.â€
Warren (1803), named for Gen. Joseph Warren, who was killed at the Battle of Breedâ€™s (Bunker) Hill,
on June 17, 1775.
Washington (1788), Ohioâ€™s first county and named in honor of George Washington, who was president
of the Constitutional Convention at the time the county was formed.
Wayne (1808), named for Major General Anthony Wayne, Revolutionary War hero, later General-in-
Chief of the U.S. Army 1791-1796. Defeated the Indians at the â€œBattle of Fallen Timbers,â€ August
Williams (1820), honors David Williams, one of three captors of Major John Andre on September 23,
Wood (1820), named after Major Eleazer D. Wood, U.S. Army-Engineers, who built Fort Meigs in
1813 while serving on the staff of General William Henry Harrison.
Wyandot (1845), named for the Wyandot Indians, the last Indian tribe in Ohio to cede their reservations
March 17, 1842. They moved to lands west of the Mississippi River in July, 1843.
Brumbaugh, Gaius, Marcus. â€œRevolutionary War Records, Volume 1, Virginia.â€
Washington D.C., Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, 1936.
Bell, Carol Willsey. â€œOhio-Lands: Steubenville Land Office 1800-1820.â€ Youngstown:
Carol Willsey Bell, 1985.
Bell, Carol Willsey. â€œOhio-Guide to Genealogical Sources.â€ Baltimore: Genealogical
Publishing Co., In. 1988.
Berry, Ellen T. and David A. â€œEarly Ohio Settlers – Purchasers of Land in Southeastern
Ohio, 1800-1840.â€ (Marietta Land Office), Baltimore, genealogical Publishing Co.,
Berry, Ellen T. and David A. â€œEarly Ohio Settlers – Purchasers of Land in East and East
Central Ohio, 1800-1840.â€ Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1984.
Carstensen, Vernon, ed. â€œThe Public Lands: Studies in the History of the Public
Domain.â€ Madison, 1963.
Clark, Marie Taylor. â€œOhio Lands: Chillicothe Land Office, 1800-1829.â€ Chillicothe:
Marie Taylor Clark, 1984.
Clark, Marie Taylor. â€œOhio Lands: South of the Indian Boundary Line.â€ Chillicothe:
Marie Taylor Clark, 1984.
Downes, Randolph C. â€œEvolution of Ohio County Boundaries.â€ Ohio Archaeological
and Historical Publications No. XXXVI, Columbus: OA&H Society, 1927,
Dyer, Albion Morris. â€œFirst Ownership of Ohio Lands.â€ Baltimore Genealogical
Publishing Co., Inc., 1911. Reprinted 1982.
Gates, Paul W. â€œHistory of Public Land Law Development.â€ Washington D.C. Public
Land Law Review Commission, 1968.
Hatcher, Harlan. â€œThe Western Reserve: The story of New Connecticut in Ohio.â€ Kent:
The Kent State University Press, 1991. Reprinted.
Hulbert, Archer B., ed. â€œOhio in the Time of the Confederation.â€ 2 Vols. Marietta:
Marietta College, 1917.
Hulbert, Archer B. â€œThe Records of the Original Proceedings of the Ohio Company.â€ 2
Vols. Marietta: Marietta College, 1917.
Peters, William E. â€œOhio Lands and Their History.â€ 3rd Ed., Athens: W.E. Peters, 1930.
Riegel, Mayburt Stephenson. â€œEarly Ohioansâ€™ Residences from the Land Grant
Records.â€ Mansfield: Ohio Genealogical Society, 1976.
Rohrbough, Malcom J. â€œThe Land Office Business.â€ New York: Oxford University
Treat, Payson, J. â€œThe National Land System 1785-1820.â€ New York, 1910.
Sherman, Christopher E. â€œOriginal Land Subdivisions.â€ Volume III, Final Report – Ohio
Topographic Survey. Columbus: Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 1925.
Reprinted 1982. Wall Map separate.
Smith, Clifford Neal. â€œFederal Land Series, Volumes 1-4.â€ Chicago: American Library
Smith, Alma Aicholtz. â€œThe Virginia Military Surveys of Clermont and Hamilton
Counties, Ohio 1787-1849.â€ Cincinnati: Alma Aicholtz Smith, 1985.
White, C. Albert. â€œA History of the Rectangular Survey System.â€ Washington D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1982.
We gratefully acknowledge the following people and organizations for
providing The Official Ohio Lands Book with images and information:
Dr. George W. Knepper, Distinguished Professor of History,
Emeritus, The University of Akron
Annette Salrin for providing the painting used for the cover.
The Ohio Historical Society for use of most of the images in this book that
were provided by the Archives/Library Division.
The Ohio State University, for permission to print the
1st Graduating Class and the University Hall, ca. 1874 photographs.
Miami University, for permission to print the
earliest known photo of the Miami campus, ca. 1858.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources for permission and the use
of illustrations from C.E. Shermanâ€™s Original Land Subdivisions, and
also for permission to print the Scioto Salt Springs photograph.
The Ohio Lands book has been published by the Auditor of Stateâ€™s office
for more than a decade. This current version is based on the efforts
of multiple employees in this current and prior administration.
To everyone who has provided advice and suggestions for this
publication, sincere thanks and grateful appreciation for all your help.