Connecticut Western Reserve

Connecticut Western Reserve
Connecticut's land claims in the West

The Connecticut Western Reserve was land claimed by Connecticut from 1662 to 1800 in the Northwest Territory in what is now northeastern Ohio.



Map of the Western Reserve in 1826

Although 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, Connecticut held fast to its claim to the lands between the 41st and 42nd-and-2-minutes parallels that lay west of the Pennsylvania border.

Within Ohio the claim was a 120-mile (190 km) wide strip between Lake Erie and a line just south of Youngstown, Akron, New London, and Willard, about 3 miles (4.8 km) south of the present-day U.S. Highway 224. Beyond Ohio the claim included parts of what would become 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 convergence.[1]

Connecticut, like several other states, gave up western land claims in exchange for federal assumption of its American Revolutionary War debt. The deed of cession was issued on 13 September 1786. However, Connecticut retained 3,366,921 acres (13,625.45 km2) in Ohio, which became the "Western Reserve".[1] [2] In 1796[citation needed] (or possibly 12 August[3] 2 September [1], or 5 September 1795[2]), Connecticut sold title to the land in the Western Reserve to the Connecticut Land Company for $1,200,000.[1][2][3]

The Land Company was a group of investors who were mostly from Suffield, Connecticut. There were initially eight in the group[citation needed] (or possibly 7[3][1] or 35[2]). They planned to divide the land and sell it to settlers from the east. The Indian title to the Reserve had not been extinguished. Clear title was obtained east of the Cuyahoga River in the Greenville Treaty in 1795,[4] and west of the river in the Treaty of Fort Industry in 1805.[5] The western end of the reserve included the 500,000 acres (2,000 km2) Firelands or "Sufferers Lands" reserved for residents of several New England towns 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 townships. The townships laid out in this survey were squares 5 miles (8.0 km) on each side (25 square miles (65 km2)), unlike most of the those elsewhere in Ohio, which are 6 miles (9.7 km) on each side (36 square miles (93 km2)), following the guidelines of the Land Ordinance of 1785.

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, Cleveland taking less room on a printed page than Cleaveland.)

The territory was originally named "New Connecticut", which was later discarded in favor of "Western Reserve." Over the next few years, settlers trickled in. Youngstown was founded in 1796, Warren in 1798, Hudson in 1799, Ashtabula in 1803, and Stow in 1804.

In 1800, Connecticut finally ceded sovereignty over the Western Reserve. It was absorbed by the Northwest Territory which established Trumbull County there. As the former county seat of the territory, Warren calls itself "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 (see Western Reserve (disambiguation)).

Congress has considered declaring the Western Reserve a National Heritage Area, to encourage preservation of historical sites and buildings there. There are 49 National Heritage Areas in the United States, one already in Ohio – the Ohio Canal of the Ohio and Erie Canal. A study on this decision was to be presented to Congress in 2011.


Architecture in the Western Reserve mimicked that of the New England towns from which its settlers originally came. Many of the buildings were designed in the Georgian, Federal and Greek Revival styles. Towns such as Aurora, Canfield, Gates Mills, Hudson, Medina, Milan, Norwalk, Painesville, and Poland exemplify the mixture of these styles and traditional New England town planning. Cleveland's Public Square is even characteristic of a traditional New England town green.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Knepper, George W (2002). The Official Ohio Lands Book. Auditor of the State of Ohio. pp. 23–26. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ a b c Peters, William E. (1918). Ohio Lands and Their Subdivision. W.E. Peters. p. 153. 
  4. ^Stat. 49 - Text of Treaty of Greenville Library of Congress
  5. ^Stat. 87 - Text of Treaty of Fort Industry Library of Congress

Further reading

The following publications are in the collection of the Connecticut State Library (CSL):

  • 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. s.l.: 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].
  • Wickham, Gertrude Van Rensselaer. Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve. [s.l.]: Whipporwill, [197- ] [CSL call number F 497 .W5 W63 1970z].

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Connecticut Western Reserve — Revendications territoriales du Connecticut. La Connecticut Western Reserve (Réserve occidentale du Connecticut) est une terre du Territoire du Nord Ouest qui fut revendiquée par l État du Connecticut et qui se trouve actuellement dans le nord… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Connecticut Western Reserve — Lage der Connecticut Western Reserve …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Western Reserve (disambiguation) — Western Reserve may refer to:*The Connecticut Western Reserve, now northeastern Ohio **Western Reserve Historical Society **Western Reserve University, now part of Case Western Reserve University *Western Reserve (ship), a ghost ship …   Wikipedia

  • Western Reserve — Die Connecticut Western Reserve war ein Landstrich, der in der Gegend des Nordwest Territoriums, dem heutigen nordöstlichen Ohio vom US Bundesstaat Connecticut beansprucht wurde. Zum Landbesitz des Staates Connecticut gehörten ursprünglich… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Western Reserve University — Université Case Western Reserve L Université Case Western Reserve (en anglais, Case Western Reserve University, souvent abrégée en Case ou CWRU) est une université de recherche privée américaine située à Cleveland (Ohio). Elle a été fondée en… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Western Reserve — a tract of land in NE Ohio reserved by Connecticut (1786) when its rights to other land in the western U.S. were ceded to the federal government; relinquished in 1800. * * * Tract of land, northeastern Ohio, U.S. Located on the southern shore of… …   Universalium

  • Western Reserve — West′ern Reserve′ n. amh. geg a tract of land in NE Ohio reserved by Connecticut (1786) when its rights to other land in the western U.S. were ceded to the federal government: relinquished in 1800 …   From formal English to slang

  • Western Reserve — Extensión de tierra en el nordeste del estado de Ohio en EE.UU. Se ubica en la orilla meridional del lago Erie; formaba parte de las tierras del oeste de Connecticut que no fueron cedidas al congreso en 1786. Ocupaba una superficie aproximada de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Western Reserve — a tract of land in NE Ohio reserved by Connecticut (1786) when its rights to other land in the western U.S. were ceded to the federal government; relinquished in 1800 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Western Reserve — geographical name tract of land NE Ohio on S shore of Lake Erie; part of W lands of Connecticut, ceded 1800 area about 5470 square miles (14,222 square kilometers) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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