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 under the terms of its charter by King Charles II.
Connecticut relinquished claim to some of its western lands to the United States in 1786 following the American Revolutionary War and preceding the 1787 establishment of the Northwest Territory. Despite ceding sovereignty to the United States, Connecticut retained ownership of the eastern portion of its cession, south of Lake Erie. It sold much of this "Western Reserve" to a group of speculators who operated as the Connecticut Land Company; they sold it in portions for development by new settlers. The phrase Western Reserve is preserved in numerous institutional names in Ohio, such as Western Reserve Academy and Case Western Reserve University.
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 Wayne.
After the American Revolutionary War, Connecticut was forced by the federal government to surrender the Pennsylvania portion (Westmoreland County) of its "sea-to-sea land grant" following the Yankee-Pennamite Wars. 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 state 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 (4.8 km) south of present-day U.S. Highway 224. The claim beyond Ohio included parts of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. The eastern boundary of the reserve follows a true meridian along Ellicott's Line, the boundary with Pennsylvania. The western boundary veers more than four degrees from a meridian to maintain the 120-mile width, due to convergence.
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 federal government organized the old Northwest Territory, earlier known as the "Territory Northwest of the River Ohio". The deed of cession was issued on 13 September 1786. As population increased in portions of the Northwest Territory, new states were organized and admitted to the Union in the early 19th century.
Connecticut retained 3,366,921 acres (13,625.45 km2) in Ohio, which became known as the "Western Reserve". The state sold the Western Reserve to the Connecticut Land Company in 1796 (or possibly 12 August, 2 September, or 5 September 1795) for $1,200,000. The Land Company were a group of investors who were mostly from Suffield, Connecticut. The initial eight men in the group (or possibly seven or 35) planned to divide the land into homestead plots and sell it to settlers from the east.
But the Indian titles to the Reserve had not been extinguished. Clear title was obtained east of the Cuyahoga River by the Greenville Treaty in 1795 and west of the river in the Treaty of Fort Industry in 1805. 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 (8.0 km) on each side (25 square miles (65 km2). Cleaveland's team also founded the city of Cleveland along Lake Erie, which became the largest city in the region. (The first "a" was dropped by a printer in the early years of the settlement, 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 during 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 within the boundaries of the Reserve. Warren, Ohio, 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 through the Great Lakes from Minnesota, processing it into steel products, and shipping these products to the east. This industry stimulated the development of great freight lakers, as the steam ships were known, including the first steel ships in the 20th century. Railroads took over some of the freight and commodity 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.
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 that 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 approval. If such a body develops in the future, it might seek federal designation as a Heritage Area.
The settlers in northern Ohio repeated the style of structures and the development of towns with which they were familiar 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.
Benjamin Tappan (May 25, 1773 – April 20, 1857) was an Ohio judge and Democratic politician who served in the Ohio State Senate and the United States Senate. He was an early settler of the Connecticut Western Reserve in northeastern Ohio and was one of the first settlers in Portage County and the founder of the city of Ravenna, Ohio.Black Horse, Ohio
Black Horse, also spelled Blackhorse, is an unincorporated community in Portage County, Ohio, United States, located in western Ravenna Township. It is centered along Ohio State Route 59 at its intersection with Brady Lake Road, just west of the city limits of Ravenna. The community takes its name from the Black Horse Tavern, which was located on the north side of modern-day State Route 59 for much of the 19th century.
During the early settlement of the Connecticut Western Reserve, the tavern was a regular stop for stagecoaches heading west towards Kent, Cuyahoga Falls, and Akron as it was located at a fork in the trail. The tavern was built by David Greer, an early settler of Ravenna, sometime after his arrival in 1810. He operated it until 1834, when he sold it to a man named Backus, who is responsible to giving the tavern its name. The Black Horse name is believed to originate from one of two taverns of the same name in Massachusetts, either in Marlborough or Concord.The tavern operated until 1894, when township residents voted to outlaw taverns and saloons, and around 1900, the building burned down. A new Black Horse Tavern was built on the south side of the road, a building that stood until 2014. The area was nearly renamed "Five Corners" in 1915, in reference to the intersection of modern-day State Route 59, Brady Lake Road, and Wall Road. The change was opposed by several residents and the Ravenna Republican.Brooklyn Centre
Brooklyn Centre is a neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. It is part of the larger Cleveland neighborhood known as Old Brooklyn.
Of mixed heritage today, the original settlers of the area were Connecticut residents who had purchased land from investors of the Connecticut Western Reserve. Afterwards, German immigrants moved in starting in the late 19th century. They were followed by the Polish by the early 20th century who settled at the eastern end of Brooklyn Centre so they'd be close to the factories in and around the Cuyahoga River such as the tanneries and steel mills.
In November 2004, The Brooklyn Centre Historical Society published Reflections from Brooklyn Centre: Presentations and Oral Histories from The Brooklyn Centre Historical Society. In November 2008, Brooklyn Centre became a National Wildlife Federation registered Community Wildlife Habitat Site, and was among the very first city neighborhoods to obtain the designation.
The eastern portion of Brooklyn Centre is known as Barbarowa. Brooklyn Centre is bordered on the east by the Cuyahoga River I-176/The Jennings Freeway. The west border is I-71. The border to the south is Big Creek which runs through the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and is the largest tributary that flows into the Cuyahoga. The northern border is a city street named Trowbridge.
In the early 1960s the neighborhood was changed dramatically with the construction of I-71. Entire streets were lost and new cul-de-sacs and dead ends were created, changing the fabric of the neighborhood.Congress Lands North of Old Seven Ranges
The Congress Lands North of the Old Seven Ranges was a land tract in northeast Ohio that was established by the Congress early in the 19th century. It is located south of the Connecticut Western Reserve and Firelands, east of the Congress Lands South and East of the First Principal Meridian, north of the United States Military District and Seven Ranges, and west of Pennsylvania.Connecticut Land Company
The Connecticut Company or Connecticut Land Company (e.-1795) was a post-colonial land speculation company formed in the late eighteenth century to survey and encourage settlement in the eastern parts of the newly chartered Connecticut Western Reserve of the former "Ohio Country" and a prized-part of the Northwest Territory)—a post-American Revolutionary period region, that was part of the lands-claims settlement adjudicated by the new United States government regarding the contentious conflicting claims by various Eastern Seaboard states on lands west of the gaps of the Allegheny draining into the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers. Under the arrangement, all the states gave up their land claims west of the Alleghenies to the Federal government save for parts parceled out to each claimant state. Western Pennsylvania was Pennsylvania's part, and the Connecticut Western Reserve was the part apportioned to Connecticut's claim. The specific Connecticut Western Reserve lands were the northeastern part of the greater Mississippi drainage basin lands just west of those defined as part of Pennsylvania's claims settlement (Western Pennsylvania).
The Western Reserve is located in Northeast Ohio with its hub being Cleveland. In 1795, the Connecticut Land Company bought three million acres (12,000 km²) of the Western Reserve. Settlers used the guidelines of the Land Ordinance of 1785, which demanded the owners survey the land before settlement. In 1796, the company began surveys and sales on property east of Cuyahoga.The original proprietors, 57 of the wealthiest and most prominent men in Connecticut, included Oliver Phelps, the largest subscriber and chief manager of the project. In 1796, one of the largest shareholders, Moses Cleaveland, planned a settlement on the banks of the Cuyahoga River with Seth Pease. This planned settlement would become the city of Cleveland.The Deeds for the land were executed as follows:
The Connecticut Land Company was a company set up by a group of private investors in 1795 with the aim of making a profit from land sales. Towards that end, the company bought a large portion of the eastern part of the Western Connecticut Reserves. However, poor company management and political uncertainty led to weak land sales, slow economic development, and ultimately company failure in 1809. Despite its short existence, the Connecticut Land Company was instrumental in the development of the region and left a lasting impact on the landscape. One of the most important legacies of the Connecticut Land Company was the establishment of the settlement of Cleveland.
Key Company Figures
The ownership of the company was made up of a syndicate of 35 purchasing groups representing a total of 58 individual investors. The leader of this group and the head of the Connecticut Land Company was Oliver Phelps. He was the single largest investor in the company and the head manager of this investment project. Another key figure in the company was Moses Cleaveland, one of the company’s first directors. He was in charge of conducting the first company survey of the Western Connecticut Reserves in 1796. Moses Cleaveland successfully negotiated a treaty with the Iroquois, who gave up all of their land claims east of the Cuyahoga River. He also founded a settlement named after him that would later become the city “Cleveland” due to a cartographic error.
In 1795, the Connecticut Land Company paid the state of Connecticut $1.2 million for three million acres of its Western Reserve lands. The $1.2 million raised by the state was used to fund public education. This allowed Connecticut to expand its public school system and improve its educational facilities. With regards to the land purchased by the company, it was divided into 1.2 million shares. On September 5, 1795, the company adopted articles of association, and each purchasing group was given a proportional share of the land commensurate with the amount of capital invested.
The main purpose of the Connecticut Land Company was the pursuit of profits through the sale of the lands to both land speculators and settlers. Land would usually be sold many times between speculators and investors before it would be sold to someone who would actually settle it. Due to weak land sales, the company was forced to lower prices and give away free land in order to encourage settlement. The problems that forced the company to lower prices would ultimately force the company into bankruptcy.
One of the problems that befell the Connecticut Land Company was company mismanagement. Sales efforts by the company were not centrally organized. The company did not even set up a marketing office in the Western Reserve to promote sales of land. Without an organized, concerted sales campaign by the company, their efforts to sell the land were mostly unsuccessful. In fact, only 1000 people had settled in the region by 1800.
The other problem that beset the company and hurt land sales was political uncertainty surrounding the Connecticut Western Reserves. The political confusion concerned the right to govern the land and the legitimacy of the land titles. There were disputes between the Northwest Territory and the state of Connecticut over who had the right to govern the land purchased by the company. In addition, the company wanted Connecticut to guarantee the land titles that the company issues, but Connecticut refused. As a result of this uncertain surrounding the legality of land titles and jurisdiction, many would-be settlers decided not to come. Making settlement even less attractive was the fact that the US government did not recognize the Western Reserve as part of the Northwest Territory until 1800. In practice this means that the US government did not provide settlers with legal or military protection. Then, on April 28, 1800, the Quieting Act was signed by President Adams into law. The Quieting Act established Connecticut’s right to govern the land and guaranteed the legality of the land titles granted by the Connecticut Land Company. This was meant to encourage and speed up settlement and development of the region. Although this act resolved the problem of political uncertainty, continued poor company management meant that few settlers came. More significant development of the region would have to wait until after the War of 1812.
As a result of weak land sales stemming from company mismanagement and political uncertainty, the Connecticut Land Company failed to reach profitability. In 1809, a mere fourteen years after incorporation, the company faced bankruptcy and was dissolved. All of the remaining land was divided evenly among the investors of the company. At that time, the company still owed a large amount of debt and was delinquent in its interest payments.Firelands
The Firelands, or Sufferers' Lands, tract was located at the western end of the Connecticut Western Reserve in what is now the U.S. state of Ohio. It was legislatively established in 1792, as the "Sufferers' Lands", and later became named "Fire Lands" because the resale of the land was intended as financial restitution for residents of the Connecticut towns of Danbury, Fairfield, Greenwich, Groton, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, and Ridgefield. Their homes had been burned in 1779 and 1781 by British forces during the American Revolutionary War. "Fire Lands" was later spelled as one word: "Firelands."Garrettsville, Ohio
Garrettsville is a village in Portage County, Ohio, United States. It was formed from portions of Hiram, Nelson, and Freedom townships in the Connecticut Western Reserve. The population was 2,325 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area.Hiram, Ohio
Hiram is a village in Portage County, Ohio, United States. It was formed from portions of Hiram Township in the Connecticut Western Reserve. The population was 1,406 at the 2010 census. It is the location of Hiram College.
Hiram is part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area.Hubbard, Ohio
Hubbard is a city in Trumbull County, Ohio, United States. It is formed from part of Hubbard Township, which was formed from the Connecticut Western Reserve. The population was 7,874 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area.Jonathan Trumbull
Not to be confused with John Trumbull, a prominent artist.Jonathan Trumbull Sr. (October 12, 1710 – August 17, 1785) (the original spelling "Trumble" was changed for an unknown reason) was the only man who served as governor in both an English colony and an American state, and he was the only governor at the start of the American Revolutionary War to take up the Patriot cause. Trumbull College at Yale, the town of Trumbull, Connecticut, and Trumbull County, Ohio are named after him. (The Ohio county was originally part of the Connecticut Western Reserve.)List of Presidents of Case Western Reserve University
The President of Case Western Reserve University is the principal executive office for Case Western Reserve University, located in Cleveland, Ohio.
Founded in 1826, Western Reserve College appointed its first president in 1830, Rev. Charles Backus Storrs. With its Presbyterian origins, the school's first eight presidents carried the title Reverend. With roots of being located in the old Connecticut Western Reserve, the college held strong influences from Yale College, with four of its first five presidents—Pierce, Hitchcock, Cutler, and Hayden—being Yale alumni.
Founded in 1880, Case School of Applied Science appointed its first president in 1886, Cady Staley.
In 1967, Case Western Reserve University was created through the federation of Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University. Robert W. Morse became the first president of the newly combined university.Lordstown, Ohio
Lordstown is a village in Trumbull County, Ohio, United States. It is part of the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Lordstown Township, which nearly completely incorporated as the village of Lordstown in 1975 (except for a small section which was then annexed to Warren Township), was one of the original survey townships of the Connecticut Western Reserve: Town 3, Range 4. The township, and subsequently the village, was named for Samuel P. Lord, who laid out the township. The population was 3,417 at the 2010 census.
Lordstown is best known for Lordstown Assembly, a General Motors plant which started production in 1966, and is now the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman MSA's largest industrial employer with approximately 4,500 employees (nearly 1,000 more people work at the plant than live in the village in which it is located). The Chevrolet Cruze is manufactured at this facility, but on November 26, 2018, General Motors announced that the Lordstown plant will be unallocated in March 2019 with the discontinuation of the Cruze.Mantua, Ohio
Mantua ( MAN-ə-way) is a village in Portage County, Ohio, United States. It was formed from portions of Mantua Township in the Connecticut Western Reserve. The population was 1,043 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area.Northeast Ohio
Northeast Ohio refers to the northeastern region of the U.S. state of Ohio. In its greatest definition, the region contains six metropolitan areas, including Cleveland–Elyria, Akron, Canton–Massillon, Youngstown–Warren, Mansfield, and Weirton–Steubenville, along with eight micropolitan statistical areas. Most of the region is considered either part of the Cleveland–Akron–Canton, OH Combined Statistical Area and media market or the Youngstown–Warren, OH-PA Combined Statistical Area and media market. In total the region is home to 4,529,596 residents. Northeast Ohio also includes most of the area known historically as the Connecticut Western Reserve. In 2011, the Intelligent Community Forum ranked Northeast Ohio as a global Smart 21 Communities list. It has the highest concentration of Hungarian Americans in the United States.Ohio Lands
The Ohio Lands were the several grants, tracts, districts and cessions which make up what is now the U.S. state of Ohio. The Ohio Country was one of the first settled parts of the Midwest, and indeed one of the first settled parts of the United States beyond the original 13 colonies. The land that became first the anchor of the Northwest Territory and later Ohio was cobbled together from a variety of sources and owners.
List of Ohio Lands
Miami & Erie Canal Lands
Ohio & Erie Canal Lands
Congress Lands or Congressional Lands (1798–1821)
Congress Lands North of Old Seven Ranges
Congress Lands West of Miami River
Congress Lands East of Scioto River
North and East of the First Principal Meridian
South and East of the First Principal Meridian
Connecticut Western Reserve
Ephraim Kimberly Grant
Firelands or Sufferers' Lands
Indian Land Grants
Maumee Road Lands
Michigan Survey or Michigan Meridian Survey or Toledo Tract
Moravian Indian Grants
Ohio Company of Associates
Purchase on the Muskingum
Salt Reservations or Salt Lands
Seven Ranges or Old Seven Ranges
Symmes Purchase or Miami Purchase and/or the Land Between the Miamis
Toledo Strip, object of a nearly bloodless war between Ohio and Michigan
Twelve-Mile Square Reservation
Two-Mile Square Reservation
United States Military District
Virginia Military District
Zane's Tracts or Zane's Grant or Ebenezer Zane Tract (see Zane's Trace)Ohio State Route 603
State Route 603 (SR 603) is a north–south state highway in the northern portion of the U.S. state of Ohio. Its southern terminus is at State Route 95 near Perrysville, and its northern terminus is at State Routes 61 and 98 in Plymouth along the Baseline Road that separates Huron County and Richland County, and subsequently the southern boundary of the Firelands and Connecticut Western Reserve.Streetsboro, Ohio
Streetsboro is a city in Portage County, Ohio, United States. It is formed from the former township of Streetsboro, which was formed from the Connecticut Western Reserve. It is nearly co-extant with the former Streetsboro Township; the village of Sugar Bush Knolls was also formed in part from a small portion of the former township. The population was 12,311 at the 2000 census, and 16,028 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area.Unionville, Ashtabula County, Ohio
Unionville is an unincorporated community on the line between northwestern Harpersfield Township in Ashtabula County and eastern Madison Township in Lake County in the U.S. state of Ohio. Although it is unincorporated, it has a post office, with the ZIP code of 44088. It lies along State Route 84.
The community's location where two counties meet caused the name "Union" to be selected. Unionville is the site of the land office of the Connecticut Western Reserve; it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Windham, Ohio
Windham is a village in Portage County, Ohio, United States. It is formed from portions of Windham Township, one of the original townships of the Connecticut Western Reserve. The population was 2,209 at the 2010 census. In 1942, the US government chose Windham as the site of an army camp for workers at the newly built Ravenna Arsenal. As a result, Windham experienced the largest increase in population of any municipality in the United States between the 1940 and 1950 censuses: The population increased from 316 residents to 3,946.Windham is part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area. Owing to its location, which is slightly closer to Youngstown than Akron and significantly closer to Warren (at 12.8 miles (20.6 km) away, even closer to Windham than the county seat of Ravenna), the village also positions itself in relation to cities in the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Metropolitan Area. Accordingly, the sole bank in Windham holds membership in the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce.