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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Early Warren County Land Owners And The Prices They Paid

Dallas Bogan on 28 August 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

William Beedle at Beedle's Station made the first permanent settlement in Warren County, five miles west of Lebanon, in September 1795. Mr. Beedle did not get his deed until November 13, 1795. The money consideration is not given, but it is believed he purchased one section (640 acres) upon which he settled for $250.

Major Benjamin Stites, the founder of Columbia, now a part of Cincinnati, owned some 10,000 acres in scattered sections, chiefly in the eastern halves of Union and Turtlecreek Townships.

Samuel Manning was one of the earliest settlers on lands east of Lebanon, coming here about 1796. He purchased of Benjamin Stites the half-section (320 acres) on which is now the northeast part of Lebanon, paying $320 for the half-section, or $1.00 per acre

Mathias Corwin, father of Governor Thomas Corwin, and John Osborn purchased the half-section east of Manning's, each paying Stites the same price. Corwin paid $100 for the northeast quarter and Osborn $100 for the southeast quarter. This was a little less than two- thirds of a dollar per acre.

A little later Captain John Tharp purchased the half-section of which are the southeast quarter of Lebanon and also Harmon Park and the County Home farm, paying $1,000 for the 320 acres, or a little over $3.00 per acre.

Jeremiah Morrow received deeds from Symmes at three different dates, the price advancing with the time; in 1800, for 210 acres at $1.50 per acre; in 1803, 212 acres at $3 per acre; in 1805, for 90 acres at $4 per acre.

On February 3, 1796, Samuel Heighway, Reverend John Smith and Dr. Evan Banes contracted for the purchase of 30,000 acres on the Little Miami about the site of Waynesville. The contract was made with Judge Symmes and the purchase price was $1.25 per acre, but only one thousand dollars was to be paid in money, the remainder in certificates of indebtedness due the United States, so that the price of the whole tract the speculators expected to pay did not exceed 25 cents per acres.

Heighway and the other two purchasers were equal partners and each was to reserve for himself 3,000 acres for his own use, as Heighway agreed to advance the first 2,000 pounds of the purchase money as soon as Congress should demand the payment, he was to have the first choice in selecting his 3,000 acres. The settlement of Waynesville did not begin until March 1797 more than a year after the contract for the purchase was signed. At this time he asked $2.00 an acre for land outside the town and $6.00 for a town lot, the purchaser agreeing to build a house in a certain time.

As Judge Symmes failed to obtain from the Government a patent for these lands, his contract for their sale was voided. The first owners of land about Waynesville obtained deeds not from Symmes but from the United States Government and the price paid were probably in no case less than $2.00 per acre. The towns of Franklin, Dayton and Waynesville were all laid out on lands, which Symmes had contracted to sell but for which he was never able to give deeds. Heighway and his associates were involved in lawsuits concerning their lands, which continued for several years, and their speculation it seems was not a profitable one.

Some later Wayne Township land prices were: In 1803, Nathaniel Massie deeded to Ezekiel Cleaver 135 acres for $404.75; John Overton to Abijah O'Neall, 621 acres in Griffin's survey for $1,255; in 1805, Benjamin Anderson to Abijah O'Neall, 1,000 acres on Caesar's Creek, for $2,000; in 1807, Thomas Posey to Jonathon Wright, 298 1/2 acres in Survey 1056, for $297; in 1807, Abijah O'Neall to Robert Millhouse, 210 acres on Caesar's Creek, for $72.10.

William Smalley made the first settlement on Todd's Fork above its mouth in 1797. He had been a hunter and guide for surveying parties and had traversed the whole region. He selected for himself a fine tract in Warren County near the Clinton County line. In 1801 he received a deed from General Lytle for 600 acres of excellent land, the purchase price being only $200. In 1806, he sold to his brother, Benjamin, 100 acres of this tract for $300.

Ten years later after the organization of the county, or about 1813, several hundred acres of good land in the neighborhood of Hopkinsville and not far from the state road were purchased at $1 per acre while land of the same quality on the same road, west of the river, would bring six dollars an acre.

As was stated earlier, all the lands west of the Little Miami and north of Symmes Purchase were called Congress Lands and were sold to purchasers at public land offices. The uniform price fixed by Congress for all public lands, without regard to the quality, was $2 per acre. Not until 1821 was the price of Government lands lowered to $1.25 per acre.

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This page created 28 August 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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