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Connecticut Western Reserve

connecticut western reserve land company, connecticut western reserve
The Connecticut Western Reserve was a portion of land claimed by the Colony of Connecticut and later by the state of Connecticut in what is now mostly the northeastern region of Ohio The Reserve had been granted to the Colony by King Charles II1 Connecticut relinquished claim to some of its western lands in 1786 following the American Revolutionary War and preceding the 1787 establishment of the Northwest Territory However, despite ceding sovereignty to the United States, Connecticut retained ownership of the eastern portion of its cession—south of Lake Erie—selling much of this "Western Reserve" to a group of speculators who operated as the Connecticut Land Company2 The phrase Western Reserve is preserved in numerous institutional names in Ohio, such as Western Reserve Academy and Case Western Reserve University


  • 1 Location
  • 2 History
    • 21 Seeking Heritage Area designation
  • 3 Architecture
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading
    • 61 Connecticut State Library CSL collection
    • 62 Internet Archive
    • 63 Special topics
    • 64 Church history
  • 7 External links


The Reserve encompassed all of the following Ohio counties: Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie and Huron see Firelands, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, Trumbull; and portions of Ashland, Mahoning, Ottawa, Summit, and Wayne34


Map of the Western Reserve in 1826

Connecticut was forced to surrender the Pennsylvania portion Westmoreland County of its sea-to-sea land grant following the Yankee-Pennamite Wars and the intercession of the federal government Nevertheless, the state held fast to its claim on the lands between the 41st and 42nd-and-2-minutes parallels that lay west of the Pennsylvania border

The claim within Ohio was for a 120-mile 190 km-wide strip between Lake Erie and a line just south of present-day Youngstown, Akron, New London, and Willard, about 3 miles 48 km south of present-day US Highway 224 The claim beyond Ohio included parts of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California The east boundary of the reserve follows a true meridian along Ellicott's Line, the boundary with Pennsylvania The west boundary veers more than four degrees from a meridian to maintain the 120-mile width, due to convergence2

Connecticut gave up western land claims following the American Revolutionary War in exchange for federal assumption of its debt, as did several other states From these concessions, the old Northwest Territory was organized, earlier known as the "Territory Northwest of the River Ohio" The deed of cession was issued on 13 September 1786

Connecticut retained 3,366,921 acres 13,62545 km2 in Ohio which became the "Western Reserve"25 The state sold the Western Reserve to the Connecticut Land Company in 1796 or possibly 12 August,6 2 September,2 or 5 September 17955 for $1,200,000256 The Land Company were a group of investors who were mostly from Suffield, Connecticut There were initially eight in the group or possibly 726 or 355, and they planned to divide the land and sell it to settlers from the east, particularly younger men from New England

But the Indian title to the Reserve had not been extinguished Clear title was obtained east of the Cuyahoga River by the Greenville Treaty in 17957 and west of the river in the Treaty of Fort Industry in 18058 The western end of the reserve included the Firelands or "Sufferers Lands," 500,000 acres 2,000 km2 reserved for residents of several New England towns which had been destroyed by British-set fires during the Revolutionary War

The next year, the Land Company sent surveyors led by Moses Cleaveland to the Reserve to divide the land into square townships, 5 miles 80 km on each side 25 square miles 65 km29 Cleaveland's team also founded the city of Cleveland, which became the largest city in the region The first "a" was dropped by a printer early in the settlement's existence, as Cleveland takes less space on a printed page than Cleaveland

The territory was originally named "New Connecticut" later discarded in favor of "Western Reserve" and settlers began to trickle in over the next few years Youngstown was founded in 1796, Warren in 1798, Hudson in 1799, Ravenna also in 1799, Ashtabula in 1803, and Stow in 1804

Connecticut finally ceded sovereignty over the Western Reserve in 1800 The United States absorbed it into the Northwest Territory, which organized Trumbull County in the boundaries of the Reserve Warren is the former county seat of the Reserve and identifies itself as "the historical capital of the Western Reserve" Later, several more counties were carved out of the territory The name "Western Reserve" survives in the area in various institutions such as the "Western Reserve Historical Society" and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio

This area of Ohio became a center of resource development and industrialization through the mid-20th century It was a center of the steel industry, receiving iron ore shipped from Minnesota and shipping Great Lakes products to the east Railroads took over some of the transportation from the lake ships In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these cities attracted hundreds of thousands of European immigrants and migrants both black and white from the rural South to its industrial jobs

Seeking Heritage Area designationedit

At the request of Congress in 2011, the National Park Service prepared a feasibility study for declaring the 14-county region of the Western Reserve as a National Heritage Area This is a means to encourage broad-based preservation of such historical sites and buildings which are related to a large historical theme Such assessment and designation has been significant for recognizing assets, and encouraging new development and businesses, including heritage tourism, often related to adaptive re-use of waterways, and buildings, as well as totally new endeavors 49 National Heritage Areas have been designated in the United States, including two in Ohio: the Ohio Canal of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the National Aviation Heritage Area The NPS study coordinator said that while the region had the historic assets, and there was considerable public support for such a designation, the Western Reserve lacked "a definitive coordinating entity or supporting group," which is required to gain Congressional approval10 If such a body developed in the future, federal designation might be sought


The settlers in northern Ohio repeated the style of structures and the development of towns with which they were familiar with in New England; many buildings in the new settlements were designed in the Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival styles Towns such as Aurora, Bath, Canfield, Chagrin Falls, Gates Mills, Hudson, Medina, Milan, Norwalk, Oberlin, Painesville, Poland, and Tallmadge exemplify the expression of these styles and traditional New England town planning For instance, Cleveland's public square reflects the traditional New England central town green

See alsoedit

  • Connecticut Colony
  • Firelands
  • Greater Cleveland
  • Northeast Ohio
  • Ohio Lands
  • Ox-Cart Library
  • Western Reserve Historical Society
  • State cessions


  1. ^ What is the Western Reserve Clevelandaboutcom 2013-07-13 Retrieved on 2013-07-24
  2. ^ a b c d e f Knepper, George W 2002 The Official Ohio Lands Book PDF Auditor of the State of Ohio pp 23–26 
  3. ^ "Western Reserve History" Fiscalofficercuyahogacountyus Retrieved 2014-01-14 
  4. ^ "Finding aid for the Ashland and Wayne County, Ohio Deeds" Eadohiolinkedu Retrieved 2014-01-14 
  5. ^ a b c d Upton, Harriet Taylor 1910 Cutler, Harry Gardner, ed History of the Western Reserve 1 New York: Lewis Publishing Company pp 10–11 
  6. ^ a b c Peters, William E 1918 Ohio Lands and Their Subdivision WE Peters p 153 
  7. ^ 7 Stat 49 - Text of Treaty of Greenville Library of Congress
  8. ^ 7 Stat 87 - Text of Treaty of Fort Industry Library of Congress
  9. ^ Elsewhere in Ohio, most townships are 6 miles 97 km on each side 36 square miles 93 km2, following the guidelines of the US Land Ordinance of 1785
  10. ^ "Western Reserve loses bid as heritage area", Akron Beacon Journal, June 18, 2011, retrieved November 29, 2012
  • Hatcher, Harlan, Western Reserve: The Story of New Connecticut in Ohio, Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1949 2nd edition, Cleveland: World Publishing, 1966 2nd edition paperback, Kent State University Press, 1991, ISBN 0-87338-449-0
  • Taylor Upton, Harriet, History of the Western Reserve, New York: Lewis Publishing Co, 1910, ISBN 978-0-8328-5091-2 1996 edition
  • Ohio Historical Society -- Connecticut Western Reserve

Further readingedit

Connecticut State Library CSL collectionedit

  • The Public Records of the State of Connecticut HistRef ConnDoc G25 1776- This multi-volume set contains the record of transactions of the Connecticut General Assembly Each volume covers a given time period and has an index Researchers interested in the Western Lands should consult these volumes to gain knowledge of the legislative actions and petitions granted by the Connecticut General Assembly
  • Burke, Thomas Aquinas Ohio Lands: A Short History Columbus, OH: Auditor of State, c1997 CSL call number HistRef HD 243 O3 B87 1997
  • Cherry, Peter Peterson The Western Reserve and Early Ohio Akron, OH: R L Fouse, 1921 CSL call number F 495 C52
  • Fedor, Ferenz The Yankee Migration to the Firelands sl: Fedor, 1976 CSL call number F 497 W5 F43 1976
  • Mathews, Alfred Ohio and Her Western Reserve, With a Story of Three States Leading to the Latter, From Connecticut, by Way of Wyoming, Its Indian Wars and Massacre New York: D Appleton, 1902 CSL call number F 491 M42
  • Mills, William Stowell The Story of the Western Reserve of Connecticut New York: Printed for the author by Brown & Wilson Press ca 1900 CSL call number F 497 W5 M6
  • Peters, William E Ohio Lands and Their Subdivision Athens, OH: W E Peters, 1918 CSL call number F 497 W5 P47 1918
  • Rice, Harvey Pioneers of the Western Reserve Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1883 CSL call number: F 497 W5 R5 1883
  • Upton, Harriet Taylor History of the Western Reserve Chicago: Lewis Pub Co, 1910 CSL call number: F 497 W5 U7 Volume 1, online Volume 2, online
  • Wickham, Gertrude Van Rensselaer Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve sl: Whipporwill, 197- CSL call number F 497 W5 W63 1970z

Internet Archiveedit

  • Cleveland Centennial Commission Woman's Dept 1896 Album of the Western Reserve Centennial Cleveland, Ohio: Edwin H Clark and Co Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Cleveland Centennial Commission 1896 Official report of the centennial celebration of the founding of the city of Cleveland and the settlement of the Western Reserve Cleveland, Ohio: The Cleveland Printing & Publishing Co Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Kirtland, Turhand Diary of Turhand Kirtland from 1798-1800 While surveying and laying out the Western Reserve for the Connecticut Land Company Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Garfield, James Abraham 1885 The Northwest Territory Settlement of the Western Reserve Address delivered at Burton, Ohio before the Historical Society of Geauga County, Sept 16, 1873 Boston: James R Osgood and Company Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Hawley, Zerah 1822 A journal of a tour through Connecticut, Massachusetts, New-York, the north part of Pennsylvania and Ohio, including a year's residence in that part of the state of Ohio, styled New Connecticut, or Western Reserve; in which is given, a description of the country, climate, soil, productions, animals, buildings, manners of the people, state of society, population, & c, from actual and careful Observation New Haven: S Converse Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Rice, Harvey 1881 Incidents of Pioneer Life in the Early Settlement of the Connecticut Western Reserve Cleveland, Ohio: Cobb, Andrews & Co Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Rice, Harvey 1885 Sketches of Western Reserve life : Rice, Harvey, 1800-1891 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive Cleveland, Ohio: William W Williams Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • The Western Reserve register for 1852 : containing lists of the officers of the general governments and of the officers and institutions on the reserve Hudson, Ohio: Sawyer, Ingersoll and Company 1852 Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Western Reserve Historical Society 1916 The Connecticut Land Company and accompanying papers Cleveland, Ohio Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Whittlesey, Charles 1867 Early History of Cleveland, Ohio: Including Original Papers and Other Matter Relating to the Adjacent Country, with Biographical Notices of the Pioneers and Surveyors Cleveland, Ohio: Fairbanks, Benedict & Co Retrieved 2013-06-09 
  • Wing, George Clary 1916 Early Years on the Western Reserve: With Extracts from Letters of Ephraim Brown and Family, 1805-1845 Cleveland, Ohio: Arthur H Clark Company Retrieved 2013-06-08 

Special topicsedit

  • Cochran, WC 1920 The Western Reserve and the fugitive slave law: a prelude to the Civil War Collections, The Western Reserve Historical Society Cleveland, Ohio Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Ford, Seabury 1850-01-30, Special message of the governor, in relation to Western Reserve school lands, Executive Office of the Governor of Ohio, retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Hinsdale, Burke Aaron 1896 The History of Popular Education on the Western Reserve Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Levinson, Burton E 1900 The Western Reserve : its Hebrew influence Cincinnati, Ohio: American Jewish Archives Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Western Reserve Historical Society Selected Manuscripts Volume 69-86, 78, online Volume 85, online

Church historyedit

  • Hayden, Amos Sutton 1875 Early history of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio; with biographical sketches of the principal agents in their religious movement Cincinnati, Ohio: Chase & Hall Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Kaiser, Peter Henry 1894 The Moravians on the Cuyahoga : address delivered before the Western Reserve Historical Society Cleveland, Ohio: Mount & Co Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Kennedy, William Sloane 1856 The plan of union: or a history of the Presbyterian and Congregational churches of the Western Reserve; with biographical sketches of the early missionaries Hudson, Ohio: Pentagon Steam Press Retrieved 2013-06-08 
  • Wood, James 1837 Facts and observations concerning the organization and state of the churches in the three synods of western New-York and the Synod of Western Reserve Saratoga Springs, NY: GM Davison Retrieved 2013-06-08 

External linksedit

  • The Western Reserve Heritage Feasibility Study
  • Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Research Guide to Connecticut's "Western Lands" or "Western Reserve"
  • Connecticut Western Reserve article on h2g2
  • Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
  • History of the Western Reserve
  • Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve
  • Firelands Historical Society

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Connecticut Western Reserve

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