Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. v

List of Drawings, Plats, and Maps

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pp. vii-xiv

Edmund Gunter (1581–1626), Welsh Mathematician, London

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p. xiv

Author’s Note

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p. xv

A Note on the Maps and Plats

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pp. xvi-xviii

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Preface

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pp. xix-xx

This is that work. Its purpose is to extend, present, and preserve the history of the surveys of the twenty Ohio land subdivisions shown in Figure 1. Relying in most cases on original source materials and providing information not previously published or widely available, the intent of this work is to broaden the base of knowledge with respect to the early surveyors...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxi-xxii

A work of this nature cannot be accomplished by one person, therefore those who have assisted in the creation of this work must be acknowledged. My wife, Denice Workman Williams, a former editor for Merrill Publishing, gave of her time freely to ensure the correctness of this manuscript and tolerated my many years digging in the informational gold mine that is the Ohio Historical Society. Each day as I returned home she would ask what jewels of knowledge had I found that day. After six years of searching for Captain Zacheus Biggs’ field notes for the Congress Lands...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-5

In the twilight of his years, Samuel Williams labored day and night to complete his work transcribing the original field notes and preparing the plats to go with them. His dimly lit workspace in the old General Land Office building in Cincinnati was filled with stacks of field books and plats from the original deputy surveyors. Williams had reached that period in life when he could do what he valued most; he chose to prepare that which would be most useful to his fellow Ohioans. Williams...

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Land Act of 1785

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pp. 6-16

The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the War of the Revolution with England. By this treaty, England recognized the sovereignty of the thirteen colonies, saying, “all hostilities were to end and that all British forces were to be evacuated with all convenient speed.”1 England paid little regard to the treaty. General Anthony Wayne and the US Army in 1794 found a well-fortified British fort called Fort Miami at what is now Maumee, Ohio eleven years later. The newly...

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Chapter One: The Old Seven Ranges

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pp. 17-40

The morning of September 30, 1785 dawned cool and crisp as the dew and fog lifted from the Ohio River. The rising morning sun outlined the figures of the thirty-nine men unloading equipment from their boats in preparation for the day’s work. It was an exciting time and all those present knew of the great importance of what they were about to undertake. The Geographer of the United States, Thomas Hutchins, was there and so were eight state-appointed surveyors along with...

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Chapter Two: The Ohio Company’s Purchase

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pp. 41-84

They came down the Ohio River from Fort Pitt on the fifty-ton galley Adventure (afterwards rechristened the Mayflower), the three-ton Adelphia, and three large canoes.1 These pioneers brought New England society and culture with them. They had a greater percentage of Harvard and Yale graduates amongst them than any other comparable body of pioneers in American history.2 They named their towns Alexandria, Athens, Belle Prie, Carthage, Troy, and Marietta. Their fort was named...

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Chapter Three: The Donation Tract

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pp. 85-94

The beautiful Muskingum River gently winds its way through the hills of southeastern Ohio from Coshocton to Marietta. In 1791 the Delaware and Wyandot Indians used these waters to send war parties in canoes to attack the settlements of the Ohio Company’s Purchase. When General Josiah Harmar moved the United States Army from Fort Harmar on the Muskingum River to Fort Washington near Cincinnati, the whole Purchase was alarmed and vulnerable. Demands for protection immediately...

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Chapter Four: The Virginia Military District

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pp. 95-147

His Majesty, the King of England in the year of our Lord 1609, granted a charter to the colony of Virginia for a tract of land fronting four hundred miles along the Atlantic Ocean and extending from Sea to Sea, West and Northwest. This description encompassed much of what was to become the Old Northwest Territory. The only interruptions to this grant were conflicting claims by the colonies...

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Chapter Five: The Symmes Purchase

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pp. 148-180

The history of the John Cleves Symmes Miami Purchase is as colorful and checkered as the surveying and subdivision is unique. Nowhere else in the United States was the original subdivision performed in such a strange manner. The Townships were surveyed easterly from the Great Miami River and the Ranges were surveyed northerly from the Ohio River. The unique surveying practices employed in the Miami Purchase were due to the leadership, or the lack thereof, of one man, named John...

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The Indian War 1790–1795

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pp. 181-225

“March, 1790, About this period of our journey, we came to a line of trees which had been marked by surveyors: a class of persons whom the savages entertain the deepest and most malignant hatred: because they consider them the agents by whom their lands are laid off and taken from them.”1 Thomas Hutchins, Winthrop Sargent, John Mathews, Ebenezer Sproat, Nathaniel Massie, Duncan McArthur, Lucas Sullivant, John Dunlap, John Gano, and Abner Hunt all harbored one dreaded specter when it came to surveying north of the Ohio—the Indians. No discussion of the original surveys that were laid down in Ohio would be complete without knowledge of the conditions under which...

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Chapter Six: The French Grants

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pp. 226-237

The United States of America was almost forty million dollars in debt when the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. This debt was owed mostly to France which had financed the American Revolution against England. When the war ended the US government did not have the means to repay the French. On August 20, 1786 French finance minister, Charles- Alexandre de Calonne informed King Louis XVI that the royal treasury was insolvent. Louis responded by dismissing Calonne and the Parliament. In 1787 he banned all political clubs in Paris and refused to allow a vote to be taken...

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The Land Act of 1796

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pp. 238-256

Given its experience with selling tracts of one million acres or more to the Ohio Company of Associates, The Scioto Company, and John Cleves Symmes, Congress gave up on the idea of conveying large grants to private individuals or companies. Symmes had evoked the distrust of Congress when he persisted in conveying land beyond the boundaries of his grant of 1792.1 In the spring of 1796 Congress returned to the policy of federal subdivision of the Northwestern Territory....

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Chapter Seven: The U.S. Military District

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pp. 257-281

They were the first “Greatest Generation” of Americans. Many of the soldiers in the Continental Army of General George Washington had given everything for the dream of liberty and independence. We would not have gained our freedom from England without the sacrifice of their property and their lives. “There is a mysterious cycle of generations in time, to some generations much is given, of other generations much is required. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with Destiny.” President Franklin D...

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Chapter Eight: Congress Lands of 1796East of the Scioto

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pp. 282-309

“The President of the United States directs, that it be submitted to your discretion to contract for the compensation to be allowed to the Assistant Surveyors, Chain-Carriers & Axe-men, on the best terms which may be practicable; provided that the whole expense of surveying & marking the lines do not exceed three dollars per Mile for every Mile that shall be actually run & marked.”1 So began...

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Chapter Nine: Congress Lands of 1796 Westof the Miami River or East of the Meridian

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pp. 310-325

Surveyor General Rufus Putnam had professional respect and personal regard for Israel Ludlow. Ludlow had applied for the position of Surveyor General in July 1796, before Putnam’s appointment to the post in September of that year.1 Speaker of the House Jonathan Dayton and the Secretary of State, Timothy Pickering, both wrote letters of support for Ludlow. Pickering wrote “he is about t...

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Chapter Ten: Congress Lands of 1796North of the Old Seven Ranges

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pp. 326-339

On August 8, 1799 Surveyor General Rufus Putnam at Marietta wrote to the secretary of the treasury Oliver Wolcott, “I now forward you Copies of three Contracts which I have lately entered into for Surveying that tract laying between the Seven Ranges & the Connecticut Claim.”1 Enclosed in the letter were copies of the contracts that Putnam had signed with deputy surveyors Zacheus Biggs,...

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Chapter Eleven: The MuskingumRiver Survey

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pp. 340-344

The Muskingum River Survey was the only original subdivision of the state of Ohio to be surveyed in two separate parts under two different surveyors general. Deputy surveyor Ebenezer Buckingham surveyed the area east of the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum River under the authority of Surveyor General Rufus Putnam in 1799. Deputy surveyor Joseph H. Larwill surveyed the area west...

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Chapter Twelve: The Refugee Tract

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pp. 345-356

When the war officially ended in 1783 at the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the Continental Congress remembered the Canadians who had fought for the American cause. On April 23, 1783 Congress, “Resolved, That the memorialist be informed that Congress retains a lively sense of the services of Canadian officers and men have rendered the United States and that they are seriously disposed to reward...

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Chapter Thirteen: Congress Lands of 1801 Between the Miami Rivers

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pp. 357-390

Captain John Dunlap surveyed the northerly line of the Third Range or Military Range for Judge Symmes in 1788. The next year, Symmes’ surveyors pushed northerly and by autumn of that year had reached the Eleventh Range. Just as in the Symmes Purchase, these surveyors ran meridian lines northerly without measuring east or west. Some of the surveyors were many rods northerly from...

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Chapter 14: The Connecticut Western Reserve“New Connecticut”

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pp. 391-443

As the early morning fog lifted along the lake shore on July 22, 1796, two flat-bottomed boats made their way into the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. Joshua Stow steered one boat, General Moses Cleaveland guided the other boat. They searched along the east bank to find ground solid enough to make a landing. When they spotted an Indian trail descending the hill, they quickly guided their boats to the bank and scrambled ashore. General Cleaveland hauled his large frame up the trail and...

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Chapter 15: Congress Lands of 1805,North of the U.S. Military Tract &West of the Muskingum River

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pp. 444-455

Captain Jared Mansfield and his wife Elizabeth left New Haven, Connecticut in the spring of 1802 and moved to the United States Military Academy at West Point. President Thomas Jefferson recognized Mansfield as a leader in the fields of science and mathematics so he appointed Mansfield to a professorship at the new military academy. In the summer of 1803 after the young couple with their infant son Edward had settled into their new life on the plain high above the Hudson, a letter...

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Chapter 16: The Fire Lands orSufferers’ Lands

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pp. 456-466

When the sun rose on New Haven, Connecticut on July 4, 1779, the worst nightmare of its inhabitants was about to come true. First they heard the sound of well-trained soldiers marching in column, then they saw the Union Jack flag and the glistening bayonets appear over the horizon. On came the dreaded Red Coats. Brigadier General George Garth’s 54th British Regiment of Foot marched into New Haven to punish the rebels for attacking British shipping in Long Island Sound...

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Chapter 17: The Twelve Mile Square Reserve

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pp. 467-484

Several soldiers of Wayne’s Legion noted in their journals and letters that the beauty of the valley now before their eyes was breathtaking. This was truly a special place. Early French explorers recognized the unique nature and importance of this locality. The foot of the rapids of the large river was situated at the head of the lake navigation. Above the rapids, there were little or no obstructions to navigate to the confluence of the St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s Rivers, a distance of seventy...

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Chapter 18: Congress Lands South of theBaseline and East of the MeridianSouth & East

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pp. 485-504

Time passed through here in the mid-1790s with the sounds of the muddy boots of General Anthony Wayne’s triumphant soldiers. The era ended with the departure of last tragic remnants of the Wyandot Indians in the early 1840s. As the American frontier moved further west, the stage was set for the last of the major federal surveys in Ohio. On December 24, 1814 John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and Albert Gallatin, representing the United States, signed the Treaty of Ghent. The treaty...

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Chapter 19: Congress Lands North ofthe Baseline and East of the 1st Meridian“North and East”

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pp. 505-519

Civilization preceded the US deputy surveyors to this part of Ohio. It followed in the footsteps of General Anthony Wayne’s and General William Henry Harrison’s armies. General Wayne’s soldiers were among the first to encounter the Great Black Swamp. After completing work on Fort Adams on the St. Mary’s River, Wayne’s soldiers marched into this large, dark, and dismal swamp.1 Standing water was everywhere and the mud was a foot deep. The stagnant water, which was foul-tasting...

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Chapter 20: Michigan Meridian Survey

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pp. 520-542

“A disputed jurisdiction,” wrote General Lewis Cass to US Surveyor General Edward Tiffin, on November 1, 1817, “is one of the greatest evils that can happen to a country.”1 This final original Ohio survey district came about due to inaction on the part of the US Congress from 1802 until 1834. This most serious boundary dispute of the Old Northwest Territory originated in Congress when that body passed the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. To describe the five new states...

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Afterword

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pp. 543-546

The days were long and the hardships were many as the deputy surveyors chained their way from Township 5, Range I of the Old Seven Ranges, surveyed in 1786 by Absalom Martin, to Townships 9 and 10 South, Range IV West of the Michigan Meridian Survey. After almost forty-two years, deputy surveyor Robert Clark Jr. completed the survey of the northwest corner of Ohio in 1828. Several surveyors and their chainmen had been killed by Indians. Several surveyors died...

Index

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pp. 547-552