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Connecticut Land Company



A Plan of the Survey made by & under the direction of Augustus Porter upon the Connecticut-Reserve for the Connecticut Land Company in the Year 1796.
Showing the Western Reserve divided into sections and the town and city of Cleaveland (Cleveland).

Public domain image. (Click for larger image.)

The Connecticut Land Company was formed by investors on September 5, 1795, three days after they had agreed to purchase from Connecticut land in Northeast Ohio known as the Connecticut Western Reserve. Vienna Township's original proprietors, Timothy Burr, Uriel Holmes, Jr., and Ephraim Root, were members of the Company. The investors acquired the land on credit, and were authorized by the state to resell the land. The proceeds from these land sales were to put to the Connecticut School Fund.

The Company's 58 investors, formed in a number of investment groups, paid $1.2 million for the land and received, in turn, a number of shares equal to the money each had invested. Led by several directors, including Moses Cleaveland, the Company proceeded to survey the land and sell the land--some 3,000,000 acres divided into townships.

Sales were slow. Investors and settlers were worried about the legality of land titles and governance. The State of Connecticut had earlier ceded all rights and responsibilities to govern the Western Reserve. Yet, some settlers did not recognize the government of the Northwest Territory, of which Ohio was a part.

In 1800, President John Adams signed the Quieting Act, giving Connecticut the claim to the Western Reserve lands. Thus any land title disputes were "quieted" and legally guaranteed. In turn, Connecticut granted the United States the power to govern the territory, which became Trumbull County, Northwest Territory.

Nevertheless, settlement remained sparse. The Connecticut Land Company struggled to sell land, and few of the investors made any profit. The Company, in debt, was dissolved on January 5, 1809. What land remained was divided among the investors. The Western Reserve would be successfully settled after the War of 1812.

Sources
"Connecticut Land Co.," Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, at http://ech.case.edu/ech-cgi/article.pl?id=CLC1.
"Connecticut Land Company," Ohio History Central, July 1, 2005, at http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=873.
Hatcher, Harlan. The Western Reserve: The Story of New Connecticut in Ohio. 1949; rpt. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1991.
"Research Guide to Connecticut's 'Western Lands' or 'Western Reserve,'" Connecticut State Library, at http://www.cslib.org/westernreserve.htm.
Shepard, Claude L. "The Connecticut Land Company: A Study in the Beginnings of Colonization of the Western Reserve." Western Reserve Historical Society Bulletin. Cleveland, Ohio: Western Reserve Historical Society, 1916. Pp. 65-96. Available at: http://archive.org/details/connecticutlandc00west.
Wheeler, Robert A. "The Connecticut Genesis of the Western Reserve, 1630-1796." Ohio History 114:1 (2007): 57-78.