William Henry Perrin.

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The passage of these laws was of more con-
sequence to the pioneers of Kentucky and
the Northwest than the gaining of a few
Indian conflicts. These laws confirmed in
main all grants made, and guaranteed to all
actual settlers their rights and privileges.
After providing for the settlers, the laws
provided for selling the balance of the pub-
lic lands at forty cents per acre. To carry
the Land Laws into effect, the Legislature
sent four "Virginians westward to attend to
the various claims, over many of which
great confusion prevailed concerning their
validity. These gentlemen opened their
court on October 13, 1779, at St. Asaphs,
and continued until April 26, 1780, when
they adjourned, having decided three thou-
sand claims. They were succeeded by the
surveyor, who came in the person of Mr.
George May, and assumed his duties on
the 10th day of the month whose name he
bore. With the opening of the next year
(1780) the troubles concerning the naviga-
tion of the Mississippi commenced. The



Spanish Government exacted such measures
in relation to its trade as to cause the over-
tures made to the United States to be re-
jected. The American Government con-
sidered they had a right to navigate its
channel. To enforce their claims, a foi't
was erected below the mouth of the Ohio
on the Kentucky side of the river. Tiie
settlements in Kentucky were being ra])idly
filled by emigrants. It was during this
year that the first seminary of learning was
established in the West in this young and
enterprising Commonwealth.

The settlers here did not look upon the
building of this fort in a friendly manner,
as it aroused the hostility of the Indians.
Spain had been friendly to the Colonies
during their struggle for independence,
and though for a while this friendship ap-
peared in danger trom the refusal of the
free navigation of the river, yet it was
finally settled to the satisfaction of both
nations.

The winter of 1779-80 was one of the
most unusually severe ones ever experienced
in the West. The Indians always referred
to it'as the " Great Cold." Numbers of wild
animals perished, and not a few pioneers
lost their lives. The following summer a
party of Canadians and Indians attacked
St. Louis, and attempted to take possession
of it in consequence of the friendly dispo-
sition of Spain to the revolting Colonies.
They met with such a determined resist-
ance on the part of the inhabitants, even
the women taking part in the battle, that
they were compelled to abandon the con-
test. They also made an attack on the
settlements in Kentucky, but, becoming
alarmed in some unaccountable manner,
they fled the country in great haste.



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



About this time arose the question in
the Colonial Congress concerning the west-
ern lands claimed by Virginia, New York,
Massachusetts and Connecticut. The agi-
tation concerning this subject finally led
New York, on the 19th of Februar}', 1780,
to pass a law giving to the delegates of
that State in Congress the power to cede
her western lands for the benefit of the
United States. This law was laid before
Congress during the next month, but no
steps were taken concerning it until Sep-
tember <5th, when a resolution passed that
body calling upon the States claiming west-
ern lands to release their claims in favor of
the whole body. This basis formed the
union, and was the first after all of those
legislative measures which resulted in the
creation of the States of Ohio, Indiana,
Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minne-
sota. In December of the same year, the
plan of conquering Detroit again arose.
The conquest might have easily been
effected by Clark had the necessary aid
been furnished him. Nothing decisive was
done, yet the heads of the Government
knew that the safety of the Northwest from
British invasion lay in the capture and
retention of that important post, the only
unconquered one in the territory.

Before the close of the year, Kentucky
was divided into the Counties of Lincoln,
Faj'ctte and Jefferson, and the act estab-
lishing the Town of Louisville was passed.
This same year is also noted in the annals
of American history as the year in which
occurred Arnold's treason to the United
States.

Virginia, in accordance with the resolu-
tion of Congress, on the 2d day of January,
1781, agreed to yield her western lands to



the United States upon certain conditions,
which Congress would not accede to, and
the act of Cession, on the part of the Old
Dominion, failed, nor was anything fur-
ther done until 1783. During all that
time the Colonies were busily engaged in
the struggle with the mother country, and
in consequence thereof but little heed was
given to the western settlements. Upon
the 16th of April, 1781, the first birth
north of the Ohio River of American par-
entage occurred, being that of Mary Heck-
ewelder, daughter of the widely known
Moravian missionary, whose band of Chris-
tian Indians suffered in after years a hor-
rible massacre by the hands of the frontier
settlers, who had been exasperated by the
murder of several of their neighbors, and
in their rage committed, without regard to
luurianity, a deed which forever afterward
cast a shade of shame upon their lives.
For this and kindred outrages on the part
of the whites, the Indians committed many
deeds of cruelty which darken the years of
1771 and 1772 in the history of the North-
west.

During the year 1782 a number of bat-
tles among the Indians and frontiersmen
occurred, and between the Moravian Indi-
ans and the Wyandots. In these, horrible
acts of cruelty were practiced on the cap-
tives, many of such dark deeds transpiring
under the leadership of the notorious front-
ier outlaw, Simon Girty, whose name, as
well as those of his brothers, was a terror
to women and children. These occurred
chiefly in the Ohio valleys. Contempo-
rary with them were several enefairemcnts
in Kentucky, in which the famous Daniel
Boone engaged, and who often, by his
skill and knowledge of Indian warfare,



28



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



saved the outposts from cruel destrnctiou.
By the close of the year victory had
perched upon the American banner, and
on the 30th of November, provisional arti-
cles of peace had been arranged between
the Commissioners of England, and her
unconquerable Colonies. Coriiwallis had
been defeated on the 19th of October pre-
ceding, and the liberty of America was as-
sured. On the 19th of April following,
the anniversary of the battle of Lexington,
peace was proclaimed to the army of the
United States, and on the 3d of the next
September, the definite treaty which ended
our revolutionary struggle, was concluded.
By the terms of that treaty, the bounda-
ries of the West were as follows: On the
north the line was to extend along the cen-
ter of the Great Lakes; fi-om the western
point of Lake Superior to Long Lake;
thence to the Lake of the "Woods; thence
to the head of the Mississippi River, down
its center to the 31st parallel of latitude,
then on that line east to the head of the
Appalachicola River; down its center to
its junction with the Flint; thence straight
to the head of St. Mary's River, and thence
down along its center to the Atlantic
Ocean.

Following the cessation of hostilities
with England, several posts were still occu-
pied by the British in the North and West.
Among these was Detroit, still in the hands
of the enemy. Numerous engagements
with the Indians throughout Ohio and In-
diana occurred, upon whose lands adventur-
ous whites would settle ere the title had
been acquired by the proper treaty.

To remedy this latter evil. Congress ap-
pointed commissioners to treat with the
natives and purchase their lands, and pro-



hibited the settlement of the territory until
this could be done. Before the close of the
year another attempt was made to capture
Detroit, which was, however, not pushed,
and Virginia, no longer feeling the interest
in the Northwest she had formerly done,
withdrew her troops, having on the 20th of
December preceding authorized the whole
of her possessions to be deeded to the
United States. This was done on the 1st
of March following, and the Northwest
Territory passed from the control of the
Old Dominion. To Gen. Clark and his
soldiers, however, she gave a tract of one
hundred and fifty thousand acres of land,
to be situated anywhere north of the Ohio
wherever they chose to locate them. They
selected the region opposite the falls of
the Ohio, where is now the dilapidated
village of Clarksville, about midway be-
tween the Cities of New Albany and JeflFer-
sonville, Indiana.

While the frontier remained thus, and
Gen. Haldimand at Detroit refused to
evacuate, alleging that he had no orders
from his King to do so, settlers were rap-
idly irathering about the inland forts. In
the spring of 1784, Pittsburgh was regu-
larlv laid out, and from the journal of Ar-
thur Lee, who passed through the town
soon after on his way to the Indian council
at Fort Mcintosh, we suppose it was not
very prepossessing in appearance. He

says:

" Pittsburgh is inhabited almost entirely
by Scots and Irish, who live in paltry log
houses, and are as dirty as if in the north
of Ireland or even Scotland. There is a
great deal of trade carried on, the goods
being brought at the vast expense of forty-
five shillings per pound from Philadelphia



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



iuid Baltimore. They take in the shops
Hour, wheat, skins and money. There are
in tlie town four attorneys, two doctors,
and not a priest of any persuasion, nor
clnirch nor chapeh"

Kentucky at this time contained tliirt}-
thousand inhabitants, and was beginning to
discuss measures for a separation from
Virginia. A land office was opened at
Louisville, and measures were adopted to
take defensive precaution against the In-
dians who were yet, in some instances, in-
cited to deeds of violence by the British.
Before the close of this year, 1784, the
military claimants of land began to
occupy them, although no entries were
recorded until ITS 7.

The Indian title to the Northwest was
not yet extinguished. They held large
tracts of lands, and in order to prevent
bloodshed Congress adopted means for
treaties with the original owners and pro-
vided for the surveys of the lands gained
thereby, as well as for those north of the
Ohio, now in its possession. On January
31, 17S6, a treaty was made with the "Wa-
bash Indians. The treaty of Fort Stanwix
had been made in 17Si. That at Fort Mc-
intosh in 1785, and through these much
land was gained. The Wabash Indians,
however, afterward refused to comply with
the provisions of the treaty made with
them, and in order to compel their adhe-
rence to its provisions, force was used.
During the year 1786, the free navigation
of the Mississippi came up in Congress,
and caused various discussions, wliich re-
sulted in no definite action, only serving to
excite speculation in regard to the western
lands. Congress had promised bounties
of land to the soldiers of the Revolution,



but owing to the unsettled condition of
affairs along the Mississip])i respecting its
navigation, and the trade of the Northwest,
that body had, in 1783, declared its inabil-
ity to fulfill these promises until a treaty
could be concluded between the two Gov-
ernments. Before the close of the year
17S6, however, it was able, through the
treaties with the Indians, to allow some
grants and the settlement thereon, and on
the 14th of September, Connecticut ceded
to the General Government the tract of
land known as the " Connecticut Reserve,"
and before the close of the following year
a large tract of land north of the Ohio was
sold to a company, who at once took meas-
ures to settle it. By the provisions of this
grant, the company were to pay the United
States one dollar per acre, subject to a de-
duction of one-third for bad lands and other
coutingencies. They received 750,000 acres,
bounded on the south by the Ohio, on the
east by the seventh range of townships, on
the west by the sixteenth range, and on the
north by a line so drawn as to make the
grant complete without the reservations.
In addition to this. Congress afterward
granted 100,000 acres to actual settlers, and
214,285 acres as army bounties under the
resolutions of 1789 and 1790.

While Dr. Cutler, one of the agents of
the company, was pressing its claims before
Congress, that body was bringing into form
an ordinance for the political and social or-
o^anization of this Territory. When the
cession was made by Virginia, in 1784, a
plan was offered, but rejected. A motion
had been made to strike from the proposed
plan the prohibition of slavery, which pre-
vailed. The plan was then discussed and
altered, and finally passed unanimously,



30



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



with tlie exception of South Carolina. By
this proposition, the Territory' was to have
been divided into states by parallels and
meridian lines. This, it was thought, would
make ten states, which were to have been
named as follows — beginning at the north-
west corner and going southwardly : Savly-
nia, Michigauia, Chersonesus, Assenisipia,
Metropotamia, Illenoia, Saratoga, Wash-
ington, Polypotamia and Pelisipia.

There was a more serious objection to
this plan than its category of names, — the
boundaries. The root of the difficulty was
in the resolution of Congress passed in
October, 1780, which fixed the boundaries
of the ceded lauds to be from one hundred
to one hundred and fiftv miles square.
These resolutions being presented to the
Legislatures of Virginia and Massachusetts,
they desired a change, and in July, 1786,
the subject was taken up in Congress, and
changed to favor a division into not more
than five states, and not less than three.
Tliis was approved by the State Legislature
of Virginia. The subject of the Govern-
ment was again taken up by Congress in
1786, and discussed tln-oughout that year
and until July, 17S7, when the famous
"Compact of 1787" was passed, and the
foundation of the government of the North-
west laid. This compact is fully discussed
and explained in the history of Illinois in
tills book, and to it the reader is referred.

The passage of tliis act and the grant to
the New England Company was soon fol-
lowed by an application to the Government
by John Cleves Symmes, of New Jersey,
for a grant of the laud between tlie Miamis.
This gentleman had visited these lands
soon after the treaty of 1786, and, being
greatly pleased with them oflered similar



terms to those given to the New England
Company. The petition was referred to the
Treasury Board with power to act, and a
contract was concluded the following year.
During the autumn the directors of the
Xew England Company were preparing to
occupy their grant the following spring,
and upon the 23d of November made ar-
rangements for a party of forty-seven men,
under tlie superintendency of Gen. Rufus
Putnam, to set forward. Six boat-builders
were to leave at once, and on the first of
January the surveyors and their assistants,
twenty-six in number, were to meet at Hart-
ford and proceed on their journey westward;
the remainder to follow as soon as possible.
Congress, in the mean time, upon the 3d of
October, had ordered seven hundred troops
for defense of the western settlers, and to
prevent unauthorized intrusions; and two
days later appointed Arthur St. Clair Gov-
ernor of the Territory of the Northwest.

AilEEICAlJ SETTLEMENTS.

The civil organization of the N"orthwest
Territory was now complete, and notwith-
standing the uncertainty of Indian affairs,
settlers from the East began to come into
the country rapidly. The New England
Company sent their men during the winter
of 1787-8 pressing on over the AUeghenies
by the old Indian path whicli had been
opened into Braddock's road and which has
since been made a national turnpike from
Cumberland westward. Through the weary
winter days they toiled on, and by April
were all gathered on the Yohiogany, where
boats had been built, and at once started
for the Muskingum. Here they arrived on
the 7th of that mouth, and unless the Mo-
ravian missionaries be regarded as the pio-



THE NORTHWEST TEKRITOKY.



31



iieers of Oliio, this little band can justly
claim that lienor.

General St. Clair, the appointed Gover-
nor of tlie N^ortliwest, not having yet ar-
rived, a set of laws were passed, written out,
and published by being nailed to a tree in
the embryo town, and Jonathan Meigs
appointed to administer them.

Washington in writing of this, the first
American settlement in the Northwest,
said: "No colony in America was ever
settled under such favorable auspices as
that which has just commenced at Muskin-
gum. Information, property and strength
will be its characteristics. I know many
of its settlers personally, and there never
were men better calculated to promote the
welfare of such a conun unity."

On the 2d of July a meeting of the di-
rectors and agents was held on the banks
of the Muskingum, " for the purpose ot
naming the new-born city and its squares."
As yet the settlement was known as the
"Muskingum," but that was now changed
to the name Marietta, in honor of Marie
Antoinette. The square upon which the
block-houses stood was called "Camjyus
Martina;^'' square number 19, ^^Capito-
liutn;'''' square number 61, ^'•Ceciliaf and
the great rough road through the covert
way, "Sacra Via." Two days after, an
oration was delivered by James M. Var-
num, who with S. H. Parsons and John
Armstrong had been appointed to the
judicial bench of the Territory on the 16th
of October, 1787. On July 9, Gov. St.
Clair arrived, and the Colony began to as-
si-.me form. The act of 1787 provided two
distinct grades of government for the
Northwest, under the first of which the
whole power was invested in the hands of



a governor and three district judges. This
was immediately' formed upon the gover-
nor's arrival, and the first laws of the Colony
passed on the 25th of July. These provid-
ed for the organization of the militia, and
on the next day appeared the Governor's
proclamation, erecting all that country that
had been ceded by the Indians east of the
Scioto River into the County of Washing-
ton. From that time forward, notwith-
standing the doubts yet existing as to the
Indians, all Marietta pi-ospered, and on
the 2d of September the first court of the
Territory was held with imposing cere-
monies.

The emigration westward at this time
was very great. The commander at Fort
Harmar, at the mouth of the Muskingum,
reported four thousand five hundred per-
sons as having passed that post between
February and June, 1788 — many of whom
would have purchased of the "Associates,"
as the New England Company was called, .
had they been ready to receive them.

On the 26th of November, 1787, Symmes
issued a pamphlet stating the terms of liis
contract and the plan of sale he intended to
adopt. In January, 1788, Matthias Den-
man, of New Jersey, took an active inter-
est in Symmes' purciiase, and located
among other tracts the sections upon which
Cincinnati has been built. Retaining one-
third of this locality, he sold the other
two-thirds to Robert Patterson and John
Filson, and tlie three, about August, com-
menced to lay out a town on the spot,
which was designated as being opposite
Licking River, to the mouth of which they
proposed to have a road cut from Lexing-
ton. The naming of the town is thus nar-
rated in the "Western Annals": "Mr.



3-2



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



Filson, who had been a schoolmaster, was
appointed to name the town, and in respect
to its situation, and as if with a prophetic
perception of the mixed races that were to
inhabit it in after da^-s, he named it Lo-
santiville, whicli being interpreted, means:
ville, the town; anti, against or opposite
to; OS, the mouth; Z. of Licking."

Meanwhile, in July, Sjmmes got thirty
persons and eight four-horse teams under
way for the West. These reached Lime-
stone (now Maysville)in September, where
were several persons from Redstone. Here
Mr. Symmes tried to found a settlement,
but the great freshet of 1789 caused the
"Point," as it was and is yet called, to be
fifteen feet under water, and the settlement
to be abandoned. The little band of settlers
removed to the mouth of the Miami.
Before Symmes and his colony left the
"Point," two settlements had been made
on his purchase. The first was by Mr.
Stiltes, the original projector of the whole
plan, who, with a colony of Redstone peo-
ple, had located at the mouth of the
Miami, whither Symmes went with his
Maysville colony. Here a clearing had
been made by the Indians owing to the
great fertility of the soil. Mr. Stiltes with
his colony came to this place on the ISth
of November, ITSS, with twenty-six per-
sons, and, building a blockhouse, prepared
to remain through the winter. They
named the settlement Columbia. Here
they were kindly treated by the Indians,
but suffered greatly from the flood of 1789.

On the 4th of March, 17S9, the Consti-
tution of the United States went into op-
eration, and on April 30th, George Wash-
ington was inaugurated President of the
American people, and during the next



summer, an Indian war was commenced
by the tribes north of the Ohio. The
President at first used pacific means; but
these failing, he sent General Harmar
against the hostile tribes. He destroyed
several villages, but was defeated in two
battles, near the present City of Fort
Wayne, Indiana. From this time till the
close of 1795, the principal events were
the wars with the various Indian tribes.
In 1796, General St. Clair was appointed
in command, and marched against the In-
dians; but while he was encamped on a
stream, the St. Mary, a branch of the
Maumee, he was attacked and defeated
with the loss of six hundred men.

General Wayne was now sent against the
savages. In August, 1794, he met them
near the rapids of the Maumee, and gained
a complete victory. This success, followed
by vigorous measures, compelled the Indi-
ans to sue for peace, and on the 30th of
July, the following year, the treaty of
Greenville was signed by the principal
chiefs, by which a large tract of country
was ceded to the United States.

Before proceeding in our narrative, we
will pause to notice Fort Washington,
erected in the early part of this war on
the site of Cincinnati. Nearly all of the
great cities of the Northwest, and indeed
of the whole country, have had their nuclei
in those rude pioneer structures, known as
forts or stockades. Thus Forts Dearborn,
Washington, Ponchartrain, mark the orig-
inal sites of the now proud cities of Chi-
cago. Cincinnati and Detroit. So of most
of the flourishing cities east and west of
the Mississippi. Fort Washington erected
by Dough t}' in 1790, was a rude but highly
interesting structure. It was composed of



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



33



a number of strongly- built hewed log cab-



ins.



Those designed for soldiers' barracks



were a story and a half high, wliile those
composing the officers' quarters were more
imposing and more conveniently arranged
and furnislied. The whole were so placed
as to form a hollow square, enclosing about
an acre of ground, with a block house at
each of the four angles.

The logs for the construction of this
fort were cut from the ground upon whicli
it was erected. It stood between Tliird
and Fourth Streets of the present city
(Cincinnati) extending east of Eastern
Row, now Broadway, which was then a
narrow alley, and the eastern boundary of
the town as it was originally laid out. On
the bank of the river, immediately in front
of the fort, was an appendage of the fort,
called the Artificer's Yard. It contained
about two acres of ground, enclosed by
small contiguous buildings, occupied by
workshops and quarters of laborers.
Within this enclosure there was a large
two-story frame house, familiarly called
the " Fellow House," built for the accom-
modation of the Quartermaster General.
For many years this was the best finished
and most commodious edifice in the Queen
City. Fort Washington was for some time
the headquarters of both the civil and mil-
itary governments of the Northwestern
Territory.

Following the consummation of the
treaty, various gigantic land speculations
were entered into by different persons, who
hoped to obtain from the Indians in Mich-
igan and northern Indiana, large tracts of
lands. These were generally discovered



Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 5 of 76)