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2d and 5th on and from the 15th instant.

1. The law concerning trespassing animals;

2. The law directing how husband and wife may convey
their estates ;

3. The law for the speedy assignment of dower.

4. The law giving remedies in equity.

5. The law concerning forcible entry and detainer; — and

Legislature of the Northwestern Territory, i795- 49

6. The law annulling the distinction between petit treason
and murder.

Proceeding to the examination of engrossed bills, certain
alterations were agreed upon, which the clerk was directed to
make by tomorrow.

Adjourned till 9 o'clock, A. M. of

Wednesday, August 12.

Judge Symmes produced the draught of a bill for limiting
imprisonment for debt, and subjecting certain debtors and de-
linquents to servitude — Discussed and a copy ordered to be

"The law limiting imprisonment for debt and subjecting
certain debtors and delinquents to servitude."

Adjourned to meet tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.

Thursday, August 13.

Asembled accordingly.

Resolved, As the sense of this legislative body, that public
convenience requires that the governor should cause public
ferries to be established. And whereas no law, concerning ferries
— can be found for adoption, but such as are of a local, not
general nature ; & it being essentially requisite, that ferries should
immediately be established throughout the Territory, and a mode
directed for fixing the rates of ferriage,

Resolved, therefore, That the governor be requested, to
declare, by proclamation or otherwise, from time to time, what
ferries shall be erected, by whom to be kept, and where :

Resolved, also, That the several courts of quarter sessions
be empowered, and they are hereby authorized and empowered
to fix, from time to time, the rates to be demanded at the ferries
now or hereafter to be established in their respective counties,
having regard to the distance which such ferry boats have to
travel, & the danger or difficulties incident to the same.

August 15.

Assembled accordingly.

Judge Turner moved and it was agreed to, that all resolu-
tions, operating as laws, be from time to time printed and added
to the laws, by way of appendix.

Vol. XXX — 4.

50 Ohio Arch, and Hist. Society Publications.


No minutes of this legislature for dates subsequent to August
15, 1795, were published in the Ceniinel of the North Western
Territory. The following resolutions, adopted on the respective
dates, appear in the appendix to the "Maxivell Code".

Tuesday, August 18.

That where persons sufficiently learned in the law can be
found to fill the benches of the courts of Common Pleas, it
would be the safer way to commission them during good be-


That commissions issued by the Governor, and creating no
express condition or limitation as to the duration of the office,
are in the nature of a grant, and must be taken most favourable
for the grantor,

Resolved, therefore,

That all such commissions may, be express rev^ocation, be
avoided or revoked.

Thursday, August 20.

On motion of the Governor.

Whereas it has been represented to the Legislature, that
from a change in the population of the county of St. Clair, the
district of Prairie du Rocher, is become inconvenient, and that
the courts therein cannot be kept up.


That the Governor may, if he shall find the case to be as has
been represented dissolve, by proclamation, the said district of
Prairie du Rocher, and suppress the several courts directed to
be held therein and divide the said district in the most con-
venient manner for the inhabitants : adding one> part to, and in-
corporating the same with the district of Kahokia, and the other
part with the district of Kaskaskia.


1. Subjecting real estate to execution for debt. (Pub. June
J. Took effect August i^.)

2. Regulating domestic attachments. {Pub. June i. Took
effect August i^.J

3. For the easy and speedy recovery of small debts. (Pub.
June J. Took effect October J.)

Legislature of the Northwestern Territory, lypj. 51

4. Concerning defalcation. (Pub. June 5. Took effect
August 15.)

5. To prevent unnecessary delays in causes, after issue
joined. (Pub. June 5. Took effect August 15.)

6. Establishing courts of judicature. (Pub. June 6. Took
effect August 15.)

7. For the limitation of actions. (Pub. June 10. Took
effect October i.)

8. For the relief of persons conscientiously scrupulous to
take an oath in the common form. (Pub. June 11. Took effect
October i.)

9. For the recovery of fines and forfeitures, and directing
how the same are to be estreated. (Pub. June 11. Took effect
June II.)

10. Ascertaining and regulating the fees of the several
officers and persons therein named. (Pub. June 16. Took effect
October i.)

11. For establishing orphans' courts. (Pub. June 16. Took
effect October i.)

12. For the settlement of intestates' estates. (Pub. June
16. Took effect August 15.)

13. To license and regulate taverns. (Pub. June //. Took
effect August 15.)

14. Establishing the recorder's office. (Pub. June 18.
Took effect August i.)

15. For raising county rates and levies. (Pub. June ip.
Took effect October i.)

16. For the relief of the poor. (Pub. June ip. Took ef-
fect October i.)

17. Concerning the probate of wills, written or nunciative.
(Pub. June ip. Took effect October i.)

18. Regulating inclosures. (Pub. June 2^. Took effect
October i.)

19. As to the order of paying debts of persons deceased.
(Pub. June 26. Took immediate effect.)

20. Concerning trespassing animals. (Pub. June 26. Took
effect October i.)

21. Directing how husband and wife may convey their
estates. (Pub. June 26. Took effect August 15.)

22. For the speedy assignment of dower. (Pub. July 14.
Took effect October i.)

23. Giving remedies in equity, in certain cases. (Pub. July
14. Took effect September i.)

24. Annulling the distinction between petit treason and
murder. (Pub. July 14. Took effect October i.)

52 Ohio Arch, and Hist. Society Publications.

25. Declaring what laws shall be in force. (Pub. July 14.
Took effect October i.)

26. To prevent trespassing by cutting of timber. (Pub.
July 14. Took effect August i^.)

27. Repealing certain laws and acts, and parts of laws and
acts. (Pub. July 14. Took effect August 14.)

28. Respecting divorce. (Pub. July 75. Took effect October

29. For the partition of lands. (Pub. June ij. Took ef-
fect October i.)

30. Allowing foreign attachments. (Pub. July 75. Took
effect October i.)

31. Concerning the duty and power of coroners. (Pub.
July 16. Took effect August 75.)

32. For continuing suits in the general and circuit courts.
(Pub. July 16. Took immediate effect.)

T,^. To suppress gaming. (Pub. Jidy 16. Took effect
October i.)

34. As to proceedings in ejectment, distress for rent, and
tenants at will holding over. (Pub. Jidy ly. Took effect Octo-
ber I.)

35. Limiting imprisonment for debt, and subjecting cer-
tain debtors and delinquents to servitude. (Pub. August 75.
Took effect August 15.)


For Printing by Subscription,


To be Adopted in the Present Session

Of the Legislature.

N. B. W. Maxwell being appointed by the legislature to
Print for them 200 Copies of their Laws, he thinks it
would be greatly conducive towards the instruction and
common benefit of all the Citizens to extend the im-
pression to 1000 Copies, so that he may have the re-
maining 800 on hand for distribution at a moderate


1. The Laws will be printed with a legible Type, on Good
Paper, in Quarto. Marginal notes will be given.

2. This Edition will come out by Authority, and under the
correcting hand of a proper person appointed by the Legislature,

Legislature of the Northwestern Territory, i/p^. 53

to see that the impression is letter for letter with the Original

3. It is presumable the whole may be comprized within
300, perhaps even 200 pages — The price, in Boards, to Sub-
scribers, will be at the rate of Nineteen Cents for every 50
Pages, and to the Non Subscribers, Thirty Cents.

4. The work will in a few days be put to Press, and de-
livered to the Subscribers with all possible dispatch.


For the


of the


Are requested to call for their Copies. — They will much
oblige the Printer if they provide themselves with the necessary
change, (which will be 86 cents) — as he is determined on the
present occasion to keep no books.

Printing-OfHce, Cincinnati,
March 11, 1796.



Professor in Wittenberg College.

The contest for the lands west of the Ohio river be-
gan centuries ago. It was a goodly land in the eyes of
the savages as well as those of the white man. A short
survey of the Indian occupation will help us to under-
stand the fierce contest between the French and English
for domination in this region. There is a conflict of
opinion as to conditions in that territory from about 1650
to 1740. A great war of many years' duration between
the Iroquois and the Algonquin tribes arose about the
middle of the seventeenth century. The war was fierce
and devastating and resulted in a complete victory for
the Iroquois. It was impossible for many years there-
after for any tribe to make a home within what is now
Ohio. This region became as much a debatable ground
as was the region of Kentucky in the days of Daniel
Boone and his brave companions.

Other writers who seem well informed on the pre-
vailing conditions of the west during the period men-
tioned do not admit the lack of Indian settlement in this
territory but speak of French traders visiting there for
the purpose of traffic. It is quite probable that for some
little time the Indians who had been living here were
driven out, but when the smoke of battle had cleared
away, and the enemy were far distant they soon re-
turned to their former possessions, and hunted over
their land as in the days before the war.

The Miami tribes were the real masters of this
region. They were perhaps in the zenith of their power
about the middle of the eighteenth century. They held
the country from the Scioto to the Wabash and had
numerous towns in this wide and fertile district. Its


Early Journeys to Ohio. 55

fine meadows, noble forests, many rivers and abundant
game met every want of these occupants. Perhaps no
region in our whole country has been so hotly contended
for by the natives both formerly and latterly as was this.
The many wars and forays between 1755 and 1795, dur-
ing which period thousands of whites lost their lives and
thousands more were carried into captivity, were con-
sequences of the purpose of the savages to hold the Ohio
territory at any cost. No more thrilling, yet harrowing
narrative was ever written than Wither's Chronicles of
Border Warfare, which show the persistence of the
whites to encroach on the Indian lands and the deter-
mination of the Indians to maintain their rightful hold.

In the first half of the eighteenth century various
other tribes of Indians were crowding into this territory.
The Wyandots, the Shawnees, Mingoes, Delawares and
others found it a goodly land for their future abode.
They had been disturbed in their own native place either
by white men or by some of their own forest people
whose ill will they had provoked by their insolence or
by rivalry in trade.

The Indians were somewhat divided in their sym-
pathies. The Iroquois during most of their history
favored the English while the Algonquins or Hurons, in
which great family the Miamis were included, for a long
period bestowed their friendship upon the French. For
some time the English had endeavored to win by gifts
the Miamis to their support but were unable to ac-
complish their purpose. Near the beginning of the 18th
century the Miami tribes divided in their allegiance be-
tween the French and English. By 1715 the English
had won their way for a short time to the friendship of
some of them and were permitted to carry on trade with
them. However, few English traders invaded the
region beyond the Ohio, the traffic was mostly consum-
mated at some point in western Pennsylvania or at Fort
Harris or Logstown, or Lancaster. This continued
until 1744 at which time the Miamis entered into a

56 Ohio Arch, and Hist. Society Publications.

covenant with the French to drive out all English trad-
ers from the Miami country. But the French were not
favorably received by all the tribes. An Indian chief
Nicholas by name, a Huron, formed a conspiracy to
overthrow the French, but a premature murder revealed
the plot and thwarted its purpose. But the struggle for
the Indian trade did not slumber; it was continuous.
Many tribes inclined to favor the English because they
gave better bargains than the French. But the French
were better diplomats than the English; their free and
easy life won and carried away the hearts and affections
of the Indians. The French seemed to want nothing but
the pelts that the Savages could collect ; they left them
in full possession of their forest with its complement of
game, while the English wanted lands for their own use,
leaving nothing for the Indians but a despoiled country.

In 1748 a treaty was made at Lancaster, Pennsyl-
vania, between the Iroquois and the western Indians, the
purpose of which was to open trade with the English.
At the same time a treaty was made with the Miamis
which offered many advantages to the colonies of Penn-
sylvania and Virginia. Trade with the west was re-
garded as of so much importance that in 1749 the Gov-
ernors of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia cleared
a path from the forks of the Ohio to the country of the
Miamis west of the Scioto. From the forks it was ex-
tended eastward to Wills Creek, and a good horsepath to
Harris Station, now Harrisburg. Thence wagon roads
led to Lancaster and Philadelphia.

While the English were making great strides toward
securing Indian trade the French became equally busy
to control the same and to secure a permanent hold upon
this vast extent of unexcelled land. It was at this time
that they planted the five leaden plates along the Ohio
river, on which they pronounced the surrounding coun-
try as a part of their possession. But their efforts to se-
cure the favor of the Western Indians at this time did
not meet with success.

Early Journeys to Ohio. 57

Continued interchanges of gifts and visits were car-
ried on between the Enghsh and Indians. Every effort
was made to perpetuate the friendship so auspiciously
started. At the request of the Miami tribe the Governor
of Virginia agreed to put in better condition the road
recently made for the benefit of trade. Many presents
were sent to the Miamis by the hands of Croghan and
Montour, on account of which permission was given
them to erect a trading post at the mouth of Loramie's
Creek, located about two and a half miles above the
present site of Piqua, O. Men of wealth, character and
influence of Philadelphia became interested in the enter-
prise and invested their capital in this profitable under-
taking. The Proprietors of Pennsylvania wished to be-
come partners in the business but were refused on the
ground that it should be for native Americans alone, or
those who had cast in their lot absolutely with that peo-

The trading post erected there was known as Picka-
willany, or Picktown. Its location was on a plateau
overlooking the somewhat narrow valley of the Great
Miami River. There was an enclosure of an acre or
more, made of palisades, the lines of which it is said can
still be seen when the ground is freshly plowed. The
time of its erection was 1751. No sooner had the French
heard of its erection and occupancy by the English than
its overthrow was planned. A force was secured at
Detroit consisting of French and Indians and after a
long and weary march thru forests and over swamps and
bogs it came suddenly upon the town, whose inhabitants
were entirely ignorant of the approach of a hostile force.

Until 1751 no formal exploration of what is now the
state of Ohio had been made by the English. For
nearly a hundred years previous to this, English trad-
ers had now and then wandered into this country, but
most of their bargains had been made with the Indians
at some town in the Eastern part of Pennsylvania. The
French had much closer relations with the dwellers of

58 Ohio Arch, and Hist. Society Publications.

the forest and consequently secured most of their traffic
in furs for which they gave Httle of value in return. But
the English awakening to the wonderful possibility of
trade with the men of the forest hastened to take ad-
vantage of the opportunity.

When Gist and Walker made their explorations in
what is now Ohio and Kentucky there was not a house
erected nor a field cultivated for the protection and sup-
port of the white man in all that region. Immense for-
ests covered the land, inhabited by rude and fierce
savages. Perhaps LaSalle was the first white man who
visited this region and saw its vastness and its possibili-
ties as he floated slowly down the Ohio in 1679, behold-
ing the unbroken line of endless forests on either side
of the river. Truly then nature reigned in all its beauty
and strength, being in marked contrast with the civilized
desolation that has followed in the footsteps of the white

While the French had visited the wilds of the west
as far as the Mississippi by 1755, the English had spent
most of their energies east of the Mountains. They did
not seem anxious about the great regions beyond the
natural boundary line. Save only to a few traders who
had wandered for gain in the untraveled regions, the
western country was an unknown problem. When sud-
denly they came to realize that the French were about
to hem them in they became alert and took steps to gain
full possession of what they believed to be their own.
Land companies were formed whose purpose was to se-
cure large tracts along the Ohio and pave the way for
emigration from the older settlements. It was easy to
secure patents for such companies on the most favorable
terms. Eight hundred thousand acres were arranged
for in what is now Kentucky, and in 1750 Dr. Thomas
Walker was sent out by the company receiving the
patent to locate the land. His journal, written at the
time of his visit, was not published until 1888. This was

Early Journeys to Ohio. 59

the first attempt to secure some accurate knowledge of

The next attempt was made to learn the true condi-
tions of the lands west of the Ohio and of the Indians
who occupied the region. This part of the west had long
been a source for much imagination as to the quality of
the land and the number of Indians who lived there.
Incursions by Indians from these domains had been
made from time to time into the settlements of Pennsyl-
vania and the valley of Virginia, and on account of their
frequency and their success much fear was entertained
on account of them. Because of the amount of furs also
brought by them to the various trading posts in Pennsyl-
vania, it was thought well to cultivate their friendship
and break their alliance with the French.

In 1749 George II granted to the First Ohio Com-
pany a tract of land containing five hundred thousand
acres, said land to be located in what is now West Vir-
ginia. Franklin, who was in England when the new
company applied for a patent, added his influence in se-
curing favorable action from the king. This company
had other projects in view. They wished to secure lands
more level and promising than those found on the east
and south of the Ohio river, but their idea of the char-
acter of the land north and west of the Ohio was only a
matter of conjecture. To get proper information con-
cerning it the company selected Christopher Gist of
North Carolina to explore these lands. The company
was composed of a number of gentlemen prominent in
political life and of approved business ability. Among
them were Thomas Lee, President of the Council of Vir-
ginia, Lawrence and August Washington, Thomas
Cresap, Robert Dinwiddie, Governor of Virginia, and
fourteen others. In preparation for Gist's journey a
store was opened at Wills Creek, now Cumberland,
Maryland, and Thomas Cresap was instructed to open
a road to the Monongahela River. The agreement with
Gist was that he should have one hundred and fifty

60 Ohio Arch, and Hist. Society Publications.

pounds for his services and such additional compensa-
tion as the value of his labors might warrant.

On the 17th day of September, 1750, a special com-
mittee issued a bill of instructions to Mr. Gist. He was
to go westward beyond the great mountains in order to
discover the lands along the Ohio, as far as the Falls of
the Ohio, note its rivers and the character of the soil
as to its quality and productiveness. They further say:
"You are to observe what nations of Indians inhabit
there, their strength and numbers, whom they trade with
and in what commodities they deal. When you find a
large quantity of good level land such as you think will
suit the company you are to measure the length and
breadth of it." The instructions repeat the phrase,
"good and level land," as though this was a chief reason
for the great and perilous journey of Gist.

On Wednesday, October 13, 1750, Gist started on his
westward trip from Wills Creek. His advance was slow
for he did not reach Shannopin's town until Nov. 21st.
A few days later he reached Logstown, eighteen miles
below Shannopins town, the latter being located at the
forks of the Ohio. While at Shannopins town Gist says
he adjusted his compass privately because the Indians
were suspicious of a man with a compass. To them it
was evidence that the owner of the instrument was pre-
paring to take away their lands. As the English were
greedy for land the Indians watched every movement
that seemed to indicate such a purpose. For this reason
the Indians loved the French much more than the Eng-
lish, for the former made no effort to take away their
lands for their own use. A few days later Gist entered
what is now Ohio, taking a southwesterly course
through the country which he pronounces very good.
He passed by small Indian towns. Deer were plentiful,
so that the company consisting of eleven persons suf-
fered no inconvenience for the lack of food.

On the 14th of December Gist and his party reached
a town on the Muskingum occupied by the Wyandots.

Early Journeys to Ohio. 61

As he approached this town he saw the EngHsh colors
flying from the king's house. He soon discovered that
George Croghan had a trading post there. The French
having risen against all English traders, Croghan had
sent word to all Englishmen scattered about to come to
the Wyandot town as a place of protection. Gist tar-
ried here a number of days. News is brought of the
capture of some English traders but it has no terror for
Gist. He conferred with the Indians present and made
regulations with them concerning trade. On the 25th
day of December he says in his journal: "This being
Christmas day, I intended to read prayers, but after in-
viting some of the white men they informed each other
of my intentions and being of several difl^erent per-
suasions and few of them being inclined to hear any good
they refused to come." However, one Thomas Birney,
a blacksmith, made a canvass and induced some whites
to attend, also a number of Indians were finally present.
When Gist saw the apparently interested auditors about
him, he said: "I have no design or intention to give
offence to any particular sect or religion, but as our king
indulges us all in a liberty of conscience and hinders
none of you in the exercise of your religious worship,
so it would be unjust in you to stop the propagation of
this. The doctrine of salvation, faith and good works
is what I only propose to treat of." He then read from
the homolies of the Church of England which Montour
interpreted for the Indians who seemed much gratified
for the message. So far as I know this was the first
religious meeting conducted by a Protestant in Ohio.
It preceded the religious work of the Moravians many
years. The most interesting part about it is, that a lay-
man intent on a great business mission, far away from
home, amid the most imtoward conditions and surround-
ings, should remember what Christmas meant to the
world and was willing to witness for his Lord and his
Church. It showed some good training on the part of

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