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Contract of Nathaniel Massie and others. 1790–95. tween the Scioto and Little Miami rivers, that of the Connecticut Reserve, and that of Dayton.
In 1787, the reserved lands of the Old Dominion, north of the Ohio, were examined, and in August of that year, entries were commenced.* Against the validity of these entries, Congress, in 1788, entered their protest.f This protest, which was practically a prohibition of settlement, was withdrawn in 1790.
As soon as this was done, it became an object to have surveys made in the reserved region, but as this was an undertaking of great danger in consequence of the Indian wars, high prices in land or money had to be paid the surveyors.f The person who took the lead in this gainful but unsafe enterprise, was Nathaniel Massie, then twentyseven years
old. He had been for six years or more in the west, and had prepared himself in Colonel Anderson's office for the details of his business. Thus prepared, in December, 1790, he eitered into the following contract with certain persons therein named.
Articles of agreement between Nathaniel Massie, of one part, and the several persons that have hereunto subscribed of the other part, witnesseth that the subscribers hereof doth oblige themselves to settle in the town laid off, on the northwest side of the Ohio, opposite to the lower part of the Two Islands ; and make said town, or the neighborhood, on the northwest side of the Ohio, their permanent seat of residence for
from the date hereof; no subscriber shall absent himself more than two months at a time, and during such absence furnish a strong able-bodied man sufficient to bear arms at least equal to himself; no subscriber shall absent himself the time above mentioned in case of actual danger, nor shall such absence be but once a year; no subscriber shall absent himself in case of actual danger, or if absent shall return immediately. Each of the subscribers doth oblige themselves to comply with the rules and regulations that shall be agreed on by a majority thereof for the support of the settlement.
In consideration whereof, Nathaniel Massie doch bind and oblige himself, his heirs, &c., to make over and convey to such of the subscribers that comply with the above mentioned conditions, at the expiration of two years, a good and sufficient title unto one in-lot in said town, containing five poles in front and eleven back, one out-lot of four acres convenient to said town, in the bottom, which the said Massie is to put them in immediate possession of, also one hundred acres of
* McDonald's Sketches, 26. American Pioneer, i. 438. + Old Journals, iv. 836. Passed July 17th.
$From one-fourth to one-half the lands surveyed, or ten pounds, Virginia currency, per thousand acres, beside chain-men's expenses. (McDonald, 28.)
Connecticut sells her Reserve.
land, which the said Massie has shown to a part of the subscribers ; the conveyance to be made to each of the subscribers, their heirs or assigns.
In witness whereof, each of the parties have hereunto set their hands and seals, this 1st day of December, 1790.*
The town thus laid off was situated some twelve miles above Maysville, and was called Manchester; it is still known to the voyager on the Ohio. From this point Massie and his companions made surveying expeditions through the perilous years from 1791 to 1796, but, though often distressed and in danger, they were never wearied nor afraid; and at length, with Wayne's treaty all danger of importance was at an end.
Connecticut, as we have stated, had,in 1786 resigned her claims to western lands, with the exception of a reserved tract extending one hundred and twenty miles beyond Pennsylvania. Of this tract, so far as the Indian title was extinguished, a survey was ordered in October, 1786, and an office opened for its disposal : part was sold, and in 1792, half a milion of acres were given to those citizens of Connecticut, who had lost property by the acts of the British troops, during the Revolutionary War, at New London, New Haven and elsewhere; these lands are known as the Firelands and the “Sufferers' lands,"|| and lie in the western part of the Reserve. In May, 1795, the Legislature of Connecticut authorised a committee to take steps for the disposal of the remainder of their western domain; this committee made advertisement accordingly, and before autumn had disposed of it to fifty-six persons, forming the Connecticut Land Company, for one million two hundred thousand dollars, and upon the 5th or the 9th of September, quit-claimed to the purchasers the whole title of the State, territorial and juridical. $ These purchasers, on the same day conveyed the three millions of acres transferred to them by the State, to John Morgan, John Caldwell, and Jonathan Bruce, in trust; and upon the quit-claim deeds of those trustees, the titles to all real estate in the Western Reserve, of necessity rest. Surveys were commenced in 1796, and by the close of 1797, all the lands east of the Cuya
American Pioneer i. 72. † McDonald's Sketch of General Massie. I p. 284. | American State Papers, v. 696.
§ For the title of Connecticut and the above facts, see American State Papers, xvi. 94 to 98, and American Pioneer, ii. 24.
1790–95. hoga were divided into townships five miles square. The agest of the Connecticut Land Company was General Moses Cleveland, and in honor of him the leading city of the Reserve, in 1796, received its name. That township and five others were retained for private sale, and the remainder were disposed of by a lottery, the first drawing in which took place in February, 1798.*
Wayne's treaty also led at once to the foundation of Dayton, and the peopling of that fertile region. The original proposition by Symmes had been for the purchase of two millions of acres between the Miamies; this was changed very shortly to a contract for one million,-extending from the great Miami eastwardly twenty miles; but the contractor being unable to pay for all he wished, in 1792, a patent was issued for 248,540 acres. But although his tract was by contract limited toward the east, and greatly curtailed in its extent toward the north by his failure to pay the whole amount due, Judge Symmes had not hesitated to sell lands lying between the eastern boundary of his purchase and the Little Miami, and even after his patent issued continued to dispose of an imaginary right in those north of the quantity patented. The first irregularity, the sale of lands along the Little Miami, was cured by the act of Congress in 1792, which authorized the extension of his purchase from one river to the other; but the sales of territory north of the tract transferred to him by Congress, were so entirely unauthorized in the view of the Government, that in 1796 it refused to recognize them as valid, and those who had become purchasers beyond the patent line, were at the mercy of the Federal rulers, until an act was procured in their favor in 1799, by which preemption rights were secured to them.t Among those who were thus left in suspense during three years, were the settlers throughout the region of which Dayton forms the centre.
Seventeen days after Wayne's treaty, St. Clair, Wilkinson, Jonathan Dayton and Israel Ludlow contracted with Symmes for the seventh and eighth ranges between Mad river and the Little Miami. Three settlements were to be made, one at the mouth of Mad river, one on the Little Miami, in the seventh range, and another on the Mad river. On the 21st of September, 1795, Daniel C. Cooper started to survey and mark out a road in the purchase, and John Dunlap to run its boundaries, which was done before the 4th of
* See American Pioneer, ii. 23, &c.
+ See for the full particulars of Symmes' contract, American State Papers, xvi. 75, 104. 127
459 October. Upon the 4th of November, Mr. Ludlow laid off the town of Dayton, which was disposed of by lottery.
From 1790 to 1795, the Governor and Judges of the NorthWest Territory published sixty four statutes. Thirty-four of these were adopted at Cincinnati, during June, July and August of the last named year, and were intended to form a pretty complete body of statutory provisions: they are known as the Maxwell Code, from the name of the publisher, but were passed by Governor St. Clair and Judges Symmes and Turner. Among them was that which provided that the common law of England and all statutes in aid thereof made previous to the fourth year of James the 1st, should be in full force within the territory. Of the system, as a whole, Mr Chase says, that with many imperfections, “it may be doubted whether any colony, at so early a period after its first establishment, ever had one so good.”+
Just after the conclusion of Wayne's treaty, a speculation in Michigan of the most gigantic kind was undertaken by certain astute Yankees, named Robert Randall, Charles Whitney, Israel Jones, Ebenezer Allen, &c., who, in connection with varions persons in and about Detroit proposed to buy of the Indians eighteen or twenty million acres, lying on lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan, the pre-emption right of which they hoped to obtain from the United States, by giving members of Congress an interest in the investment. Some of the members who were approached, however, revealed the plan, and Randall, the principal conspirator having been reprimanded, the whole speculation disappeared.
Another enterprise, equally gigantic, but far less objectionable, dates from the 20th of February, 1795; we refer to the North American Land Company, which was formed in Philadelphia under the management of Robert Morris, John Nicholson and James Greenleaf. This Company owned vast tracts in various States, which, under an agreement bearing date as above, were offered to the public. ||
But we have hitherto taken no notice of the provisions of Jay's treaty, $ in so far as it concerned the west; nor have we mentioned
* See B. Van Cleves' Memoranda, American Pioneer, ii. 294, 295.
+ Sketch of History of Ohio, p. 27. For the laws from 1790 to 1795, see Chase's Statutes, i. 103 to 204.
# See papers and evidence, American State Papers, xx. 125 to 133.
| Observations on the North American Land Company, London, 1796. Imlay (Ed. 1797) p. 572.
§ For the dates in respect to Jay's treaty, see note, p. 415.
1790-95. the negotiations with Spain which secured the use of the Mississippi. To these we may now turn. The portion of Mr. Jay's treaty with which we are concerned, is the second article, and that is as follows:
Art. 2. His Majesty will withdraw all his troops and garrisons from all posts and places within the boundary lines assigned by the treaty of peace to the United States. This evacuation shall take place on or before the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and ninetysix, and all the proper measures shall be taken in the interval by concert between the government of the United States and His Majesty's Governor general in America, for settling the previous arrangements which may be necessary respecting the delivery of the said posts: the United States, in the mean time, at their discretion, extending their settlements to any part within the said boundary line, except within the precincts or jurisdiction of any of the said posts. All settlers and traders within the precincts or jurisdiction of the said posts, shall continue to enjoy, unmolested, all their property, of every kind, and shall be protected therein. They shall be at full liberty to remain there, or to remore with all or any part of their effects; and it shall also be free to them to sell their lands, houses or effects, or retain the property thereof, at their discretion ; such of them as shall continue to reside within the said boundary lines shall not be compelled to become citizens of the United States, or to take any oath of allegiance to the government thereof; but they shall be at full liberty so to do if they think proper, and they shall make and declare their election within one year after the evacuation aforesaid. And all persons who shall continue there after the expiration of the said year, without having declared their intention of remaining subjects of His Britannic Majesty, shall be considered as having elected to become citizens of the United States. *
Turning to the negotiation with Spain, we find, that in November, 1794, Thomas Pinckney was despatched to treat with the court of Madrid, in relation to boundaries, to the Mississippi, and to general trade. Many reams of paper had been spoiled by previous messengers, Jay, Carmichael and Short, to little purpose, and it was a matter of three months' farther correspondence, to mature the treaty of October 27th, 1795. This treaty, signed by plain Thomas Pinckney, “a citizen of the United States, and their envoy extraordinary to His Catholic Majesty," on the one part, and on the other by “the most Excellent Lord Don Manuel de
* American State Papers, 1. 520.-For the treaty and correspondence entire, see Am. State Papers i. 470 to 525.