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The end of the wars


Ohio statehouse
Ohio statehouse

The end of the wars brought another wave of migration to the Ohio country that led to statehood within eight years. Most of the new settlers came from Virginia, which at that time extended all the way to the Ohio River. The majority settled in the Virginia Military District between the Scioto and Little Miami rivers, taking lands retained by Virginia as compensation for military service during the American Revolution.

Connecticut also sent significant numbers of settlers to its Western Reserve, an area in northeastern Ohio that extended 190 km (120 miles) west from the Pennsylvania border along the Lake Erie shore and was bounded on the south by the 41st parallel. Like Virginia, Connecticut’s claim to part of the Ohio country derived from its colonial charter.

In 1795 the state sold most of its Western Reserve to a group of 35 speculators known as the Connecticut Land Company. The next year the company sent a party of surveyors led by General Moses Cleaveland to lay out a settlement at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, which was called Cleaveland. When an early newspaper found the name was one letter too large to fit on its front page, the spelling was changed to Cleveland. By December 1798 the number of free adult males across the Northwest Territory had reached 5,000, the level set by the Ordinance of 1787 for elections for a territorial legislature. The new House of Representatives assembled in Cincinnati in 1799 and chose as its president Edward Tiffin, a 31-year-old Virginian who had arrived in the territory just two years earlier. Another former Virginian, William Henry Harrison, was elected territorial delegate to the Congress of the United States.

In 1800 Harrison sponsored a bill, which Congress passed, to divide the Northwest Territory along a line running north from the mouth of the Kentucky River. The eastern area, approximately the present state of Ohio, remained the Northwest Territory with St. Clair as its governor and its capital at Chillicothe. The western area, stretching to the Mississippi River, was named the Indiana Territory. Harrison was appointed as its governor, and the Indiana territorial capital was established at Vincennes.

By 1802 the population of the Northwest Territory was nearly 60,000. Under an act signed by President Thomas Jefferson, delegates were elected to draw up a constitution for the proposed new state of Ohio, whose western boundary was redefined as a line due north from the mouth of the Great Miami River. On March 1, 1803, Ohio became the nation’s 17th state. In elections held under the new constitution, followers of Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party, mostly small, independent farmers, won substantial majorities in both houses of the new state legislature and elected Tiffin as Ohio’s first governor. "Ohio" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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