Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

PREFACE

To all who have aided us in any way in the preparation of this history, we wish to here express our thanks. The author does not flatter himself, nor does he cherish the presumption of claiming for this work any great degree of literary excellence or originality of style, but has written it in an unassuming way, that might be productįye of a history that would be acceptable, compréhensive, impartial and useful. How far our efforts have been successful, we will leave the people of Wyandot county to judge.

A. J. BAUGHMAN. MANSFIELD, Ohio, May 1, 1913.

PAST AND PRESENT OF

WYANDOT COUNTY

WHEN OHIO BECAME A STATE

BY HON. RUSH R. SLOANE In considering this question it is necessary to advert to the fact that, after the Declaration of Independence, Connecticut set up a claim to the north part of Ohio above latitude 41° north, and Virginia claimed Ohio below that line as being within the limits of her charter.

While these questions caused some discussion and negotiation, they were amicably settled, and on the 13th day of July, 1787, congress assumed the jurisdiction of this territory, which included all the territory of the United States northwest of the Ohio river, and passed an ordinance for its government. Virginia had reserved the land lying between the Scioto and Little Miami rivers and gave the same to her soldiers of the Revolution, as a reward for their services. This was called the Virginia military tract. So congress laid off a tract for that purpose which lay south of New Connecticut, and extended from the Ohio river on the east, to the Scioto on the west. This was known as the United States Military tract. Congress gave to Connecticut what was called the Western Reserve or New Connecticut. It extended one hundred and twenty miles from east to west, and an average of fifty miles from north to south. Five hundred thousand acres of this tract, off from the west end, the state of Connecticut gave to sufferers by fire in the Revolutionary war. This land thus came to be called sufferers' land or Firelands, and is mostly included in the counties of Erie and Huron, a small part being in Ashland and Ottawa counties, and gives the name to the “Firelands Historical Society," of national repute.

This ordinance of 1787 constituted the Northwest Territory a civil government with limited powers. It embraced within its boundaries the present states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Whenever the Northwest Territory contained five thousand free male inhabitants of full age it should elect a legislature and enact all laws, and under the fifth article of the ordinance this second grade of colonial government was to continue until that designated part of the territory forming the state of Ohio, had the required population of 60,000, when they could call a convention and frame a constitution preparatory to being admitted as a state into the Union. Early in 1802 a census was taken in the eastern division of the territory and it was found to contain 45,028 persons of both sexes. The ordinance of 1787 required sixty thousand inhabitants to entitle the district to become a state, and yet an application was then made to congress for a law empowering the inhabitants of that division to call a convention and form a constitution preparatory to the establishment of a state government. The law was passed and approved April 30, 1802, when the eastern district had only the population above stated. This, however, is not the only instance in which the provisions of the ordinance of 1787 have not been strictly observed and carried out by the congress of the United States. This has been notably so in reference to the requirements of the Fifth article, wherein it provided that “there shall be formed in the said territory not less than three nor more than five states." Yet congress formed out of the said Northwest Territory six states, as hereinbefore stated.

The doubt and uncertainty as to when Ohio became a state has arisen largely from the fact that congress desired and intended to impose conditions and restrictions, while professing to admit the state on an equal footing with the original states. But, while the original states were subject to no restrictions or limitation of power except those contained in the Federal constitution, by the enabling act of April 30, 1802, congress proposed the admission of Ohio as a state in the Federal Union upon the acceptance of certain conditions, some of them of an oppressive character, degrading in their tendency, and injurious to the future prosperity of the people. One of them was that congress should have the right of disposing of the jurisdiction of the territory north of the line east and west through the southern extreme of Lake Michigan as they might deem proper, although in express terms the ordinance declared that that territory should remain a part of

« PreviousContinue »