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Background of migration into Ohio
via The Connecticut Land Company 
Searched and typed by Judith Florian

Background:  After the Indian war, people from Connecticut and eastern States began venturing to Ohio.  Originally, Connecticut claimed "to the South Sea on the West Part(1)", which included the Wyoming Valley. But the US gave Wyoming to Pennsylvania.  "Connecticut then continued to claim the region extending from the western boundary of Pennsylvania to the Mississippi River."  But, many States had colonial charters which gave them "indefinite westward extension."  (p. 68-69)  

"The Connecticut Land Company began the colonization of Northeastern Ohio in 1796 and continued its efforts for the settlement of the territory it had purchased until 1809. A subsidiary group of land owners, the Erie Company, was active in the same way until 1812."   Later, "...rival speculators formed the Excess Company and obtained title to the excess over three million acres that it was supposed a survey would show in the purchase, and how before the survey had revealed the fact that the company had purchased considerably less than three million acres the Excess Company's rights had been absorbed by the Connecticut Land Company; how a subsidiary company, the Erie Company came to exist, and especially the methods used by the Connecticut Land Company to promote settlement." (run-on sentence, sic, p. 62)

The land tracts owned by The Connecticut Land Company were known as the Reserve or the "Western Reserve of Connecticut" (p. 216) which formed the area mostly around Cleveland, but the boundary extended from Pennsylvania to the Mississippi River, eventually, after original claims of to the western sea. 

The original land purchasers organized into an association on Set 5, 1795 which conveyed a deed of trust to John Caldwell, Jonathan Brace, and John Morgan. "With few exceptions, the deeds of the trustees are the source of title to lands on the Reserve." (p. 72)  (Note: One parceled out, the deed of trust would be similar to PA Patent Deeds, or more precisely described, the "first deed" would give rise to all grants from the first sale to the present; a Deed Title Search would end at the Connecticut Land Company and before that, the land belonged to several different Indian tribes.

Surveys started in the Spring of 1796. Sales started in April 1798 under the Erie Company at "not less than one dollar per acre."  (p. 74)   "The final division of the Erie Company's property in Ohio seems to have been made late in the Spring of 1812. (19)" (p. 76 )  

Migration was from Connecticut through New York and along Lake Erie's southern shore. (p.80)   Roads were put in through northern Ohio as early as 1798; and more in 1802. Yet, settlers did not rush in; they came only with financial or land inducements. The land company was especially interested in men who worked trades: blacksmith, millwright, salt makers, furnace operators, store proprietors, etc. But there was no provision for common schools which would have been important to settlers.  Although there were fewer purchasers than the company desired, many of the new settlers to Ohio stayed; some continued West; others returned home.

"For some years there was doubt whether the company had acquired the rights of government as well as title to the lands or not. The doubt cast a shadow over the land title and delayed settlement.  By 1800 a colony of 1300 or 1400 settlers had developed without any form of government." (p. 62)  Then, rival speculators in western Pennsylvania, along with Mr. Gallatin, later Secretary of the Treasury, questioned the authority of the land company's title.  People feared buying and taking title because they believed it could be taken away later. So without schools, without an established State or local government (Ohio), and with Indian claims and poor or non-existent roads plus high taxes before 1808, settlers did not come.  (p. 82)

Accompanying Documents
"(c) Letter of Simon PERKINS.
Youngstown June 10th 1799
"There is a report in Circulation I am told and -- has gaind [sic] much credit in Washington County Pennsylvania that the Connecticut title for this Land is not good, which has prevented many people from Coming to this Country, if this Should continue to Influence the 
minds of the People I fear that the articles of agreement which I have generally given and as those which I now have are printed, will not be satisfactory, without such further addition as to make it a compleet [sic] warranted Title--- I think it would be a great Misfortune to have any preventative to the pleasing prospect of immediate Settlement.   ... All of the proprietors now in the Country have resolved to give Contracts for warrantee Deeds and indeed to offer no other---I have found no difficulty as yet in this respect but do expect it Daily...." (p. 189-190)


Thus, the hardy settlers who came in early from Washington County, PA to lands in Ohio counties came knowing their deeds could be later challenged even if the Land Company had given every kind of financial or supportive promise.  The company clearly tried every angle to make sure the investor's made profits, but it is unclear how much any investor made given that sales were made on credit (delayed) and settlers weren't rushing in to buy lands. (p. 82

It is also possible that previous migration patterns into Washington County, Pennsylvania influenced citizen's lack of desire to move yet again.  For example, many families from Maryland had only moved to Washington County, Pennsylvania between 1800 and 1810, buying land there, and settling in with their families.  Given human nature, they may have felt it was just too costly--emotionally, psychologically, and financially--to uproot once again to go to Ohio.  Yet, their offspring seem to have followed the Westward movement to Ohio and points further after 1830.  The German Baptists (Dunkards), especially, seemed to take a deliberating approach to major life decisions and to plan and save for major expenses like buying land.

Source for Background: Tract No. 96 Annual Report of The Western Reserve Historical Society (Inc. 1867).  "The Connecticut Land Company and Accompanying Papers". October, 1916.  Parts I and II. Published Cleveland, Ohio: 1916   Sub-section:  Land Papers   Sub-section:  The Connecticut Land Company: A Study in the Beginnings of Colonization of the Western Reserve by Claude L. Shepard.  Accompanying Documents, p. 189-190

Source for biographies: (book) History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties: with illustrations and biographical sketches, Volume 2 (Google eBook; History Category ).  H. Z. Williams & Bros.  H.  Z. Williams, 1882

Source for German Brethren and migration patterns into and from Washington County Pennsylvania comes from the webmaster's knowledge and study of these topics.

If you are researching these families, please submit any other data you have or missing names and dates.  I will add your data as "additional information".  Please include your full name, and / or your email address (if you want others to be able to contact you).  This table will also be used on the Migration Chart at 

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History of this website - The first PAGenWeb Washington County coordinator was Jean Suplick Matuson [who developed She was followed by Georgeann Malowney [who took over], then Peggy Tebbetts, and lastly, Christina Hunt who each held prior copyrights over this website.  Each coordinator has contributed much to the preservation of Washington County genealogical information/history.

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This page last updated Thursday, February 04, 2016