From Ohio History Central
The Connecticut Western Reserve was an area in the Northwest Territory held, sold and distributed by the State of Connecticut in the years after the American Revolution.
Connecticut was one of several states that had land claims in the Ohio Country going back to the colonial period. Connecticut gave up most of its claims to the federal government so that the Northwest Territory could be created. However, it reserved the northeast corner of the territory for itself. This area came to be known as the Connecticut Western Reserve.
The Western Reserve had two parts. The western part of the region was known as the Fire Lands. The state gave plots of land in this area to people who had lost their property in the American Revolution. The Connecticut government sold the eastern portion of the reserve to the Connecticut Land Company in 1795. The $1.2 million earned through the land sale was spent on public education in the state of Connecticut.
The Connecticut Land Company sent General Moses Cleaveland to survey the territory and lay out townships. In federal surveys such as the Seven Ranges, townships were 36 square miles. Cleaveland created townships of 25 square miles. One of the earliest towns established in this region was named Cleveland in his honor. Many people moved into the Western Reserve because it was accessible from Lake Erie. In the early years of settlement, many people from New England came to the Western Reserve.
Settlers in the western part of the reserve faced struggles with Native Americans over ownership of the land. The westernmost part of the Fire Lands had been granted to Native Americans as part of the Treaty of Greeneville of 1795. As the population increased, Ohio Indians were forced from the region.
- Hatcher, Harlan. The Western Reserve: The Story of New Connecticut in Ohio. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1949.
- Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Ohio in Two Volumes. Vol. II. Cincinnati, OH: C.J. Krehbiel & Co., Printers and Binders, 1902.
- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
- Lupold, Harry F., and Gladys Haddad, eds. Ohio's Western Reserve: A Regional Reader. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1988.
- Carter, Clarence Edwin, ed. The Territorial Papers of the United States. Vol. I-III. New York, NY: AMS Press, 1973.
- Kirtland, Turhand. Diary of Turhand Kirtland from 1798-1800: While Surveying and Laying out the Western Reserve for the Connecticut Land Company. Poland, OH: n.p., 1903.
- Milligan, Fred J. Ohio's Founding Fathers. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2003.
- Onuf, Peter S. Statehood and Union: A History of the Northwest Ordinance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.
- Whittlesey, Charles. Early History of Cleveland, Ohio, Including Papers and Other Matter Relating to the Adjacent Country, with Biographical Notices of the Pioneers and Surveyors. Cleveland, OH: Fairbanks, Benedict & Co., Printers, 1867.