Connecticut Western Reserve Genealogy
By virtue of their "sea to sea" charter, Connectictut visionaries once claimed parts of northern Pennsylvania, northern Ohio (especially the Western Reserve and Firelands), and southern Michigan, northern Indiana, northern Illinois, and even farther west.
Most of the eastern states ceded their western claims to the federal government in 1786 in exchange for federal assumption of the states' Revolutionary War debt. The exception was Connecticut's Western Reserve.
Some Connecticut settlers contended with Pennsylvania forces for rights in the Wyoming Valley from 1769 until 1799 when Pennsylvania finally granted the Connecticut settlers legal titles and Pennsylvania citizenship. For further information about Connecticut claims and connections in Pennsylvania see Westmoreland County, Connecticut.
The Connecticut Western Reserve or "New Connecticut" was land claimed in the northeast corner of Ohio (at the time part of the Old Northwest Territory). The western half of the Western Reserve was set aside as "Firelands" or "Sufferers Lands" for Connecticut residents burned out by the British during the Revolutionary War (only a few ever moved there). In 1795 even before she had clear title from the Indians, Connecticut sold the remaining eastern half to eight Connecticut citizens who had formed a land company. Land company surveyors set up townships with five miles on a side rather than the standard six miles on a side in the rest of Ohio. Settlers trickled in and founded towns: Youngstown in 1796, Warren in 1798, and Hudson in 1799. Finally in 1800 Connecticut ceded her Western Reserve claims to the Northwest Territory. Ohio was admitted to the Union in 1803.
Modern Counties. The Connecticut Western Reserve was a part of northeast Ohio originally intended for settlement by Revolutionary War refugees from Connecticut. The former Connecticut Western Reserve lands were in the modern counties of Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, and Trumbull fully, but also in parts of Ashland, Mahoning, Ottawa, Summit, and Wayne counties in Ohio. For historical records of this area prior to 1803 see also Western Reserve Historical Society.
Published Articles[edit | edit source]
- Kip Sperry, “Migration from the Isle of Man to the Western Reserve in Ohio,” Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly 58:3 (2018): 235-249.
Sources[edit | edit source]
- Wikipedia contributors, "Connecticut Western Reserve" in Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connecticut_Western_Reserve (accessed 7 January 2011).
- Wikipedia contributors, "Pennamite-Yankee Wars" in Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yankee-Pennamite_Wars (accessed 7 January 2011).
- Wikipedia contributors, "Ohio" in Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohio (accessed 7 January 2011).
- William Dollarhide, and Ronald A. Bremer, America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, UT: Heritage Quest, 1988), 89. At various repositories (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 J54d.