1783 - 1800
Clarks expedition would prove important to Ohios
growth, because in addition to punishing Indians for their raids on settlements, it also
attracted the interest of the people in the U.S. They began to believe that the
west could be made a "fitting place to live".
After Great Britain formally relinquished
its rights to this territory to the United States in 1783, the government had to deal with
claims from other states. The states of Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York
all claimed portions of the territory north and west of Ohio, based upon charters granted
by the kings of England. After much controversy, Ohio, along with what would later become
the states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota were formally
given to the United States.
As part of a compromise,
Virginia and Connecticut both reserved Ohio lands which, while not directly impacting
Shelby County, involved 37 counties in the state of Ohio. In 1784, the first Congressional
Committee, chaired by Thomas Jefferson, developed a plan for the disposal of Ohio land.
This Committee, needing money to pay the national debt from the war, dealt with
Revolutionary War veterans demands for land bounties and the need to assess
squatters who had already crossed the Ohio River and staked claims.
Shortly after the
Ordinance of 1787 (dividing land into states) was passed, the Ohio Land Company purchased
a million and a half acres in southeast Ohio. A group of New Englanders traveled down the
Ohio River and settled on it at the mouth of the Muskingum River, establishing the first
permanent settlement of white men in Ohio, called Marietta.
The Indians realized that
this ordinance threatened their existence by establishing claims to their land. They began
to battle the settlers in earnest to prevent them from ruining their hunting grounds.
These battles between the Indians and Americans went on until the Greene Ville Treaty was signed on August 3,
The most important aspect
of this treaty was that the northern part of the Ohio territory would belong to the
Indians and the southern part would belong to the whites. It ceded 16,930,417 acres and
involved eleven northwestern Indian tribes. The Greene
Ville Treaty Line went through Shelby County, starting a little south of Ft. Loramie
and crossing through the county. This treaty signaled the beginning of real settlement
activity for Ohio and Shelby County.
The state of Ohio was
eventually segmented into 18 different land grants that determined how the land was
distributed and/or sold. The first of the Congress Lands were available in
Shelby County in 1798, and included all lands west and north of the Great Miami River and
south of the Greenville Treaty Line. In 1802, all the land in Shelby County east of the
Great Miami River and south of the Treaty Line could be bought.
Western lands were divided
into townships six miles square containing 640 acres. These sections were the smallest
amount that could be purchased at a $1.00 per acre. Very few settlers had $640 so
squatters, who claimed land by settling versus paying, became more prevalent than
settlers. By 1820, the price increased to $1.25 per acre, but could be purchased in
smaller sections or fractions of larger parcels.
'Pioneer' segment written in
October, 1997 by Sherrie Casad-Lodge
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