William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Nathaniel W. Little Journal, 1802-1805
Clements Staff and Meg Hixon, October 2012
Nathaniel W. Little journal
Little, Nathaniel W.
Nathaniel W. Little kept this journal while traveling to the Northwest Territory with James Kilbourn in August and September 1802. Little recorded his impressions of the scenery in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, modern-day West Virginia, and modern-day Ohio. The volume also contains financial records from Little's later life in Worthington, Ohio.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
Donated, 1935. M-251.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
A transcript of the journal has been published in The "Old Northwest" Genealogical Quarterly 10 (1907): 237-245.
Nathaniel W. Little journal, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
Nathaniel W. Little, a native of Blandford, Massachusetts, accompanied James Kilbourn on a journey to the Northwest Territory from August-September 1802. The men scouted lands for possible purchase and settlement in what is now central Ohio, working as agents of the troubled Scioto Company, which in the 1790s had sold several million acres that did not yet belong to them. In October 1802, Little and Kilbourn reported on their explorations to the company, which later purchased land around what is now Worthington, Ohio. Nathaniel Little settled there in 1803, and operated the town's first store with Nathan Stewart. He moved to Delaware, Ohio, in 1808. Little married Harriet Thompson (b. 1788) on April 12, 1809, and they had one son, Nathaniel William Little (b. 1811).
Collection Scope and Content Note
Nathaniel W. Little kept this 81-page journal while traveling to the Northwest Territory with James Kilbourn in August and September 1802. Little recorded his impressions of the scenery in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, modern-day West Virginia, and modern-day Ohio. The volume also contains financial records from Little's later life in Worthington, Ohio.
Little began his journal after his departure from Blandford, Massachusetts, on July 30, 1802. He first went to Connecticut, where he was joined by James Kilbourne. Little described the scenery as they traveled west by stage, in canoes, and on horseback to parts of the Northwest Territory that are now in the state of Ohio. After they arrived, Little and Kilbourn scouted lands for possible purchase by the Scioto Company, and on one occasion they visited future Ohio governor Thomas Worthington. Little regularly mentioned the names of settlements he passed, and he wrote more extensively about towns such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he had previously lived, and Chillicothe, Ohio. In his entry of August 28, 1802, he commented on a Native American settlement (pp. 43-44). Little returned to Blandford, Massachusetts, on September 22, 1802, and on October 5, he and Kilbourn went to Granby, Connecticut, to address members of the Scioto Company at Clark's Tavern. Little continued to write brief entries until October 7.
The remaining pages (pp. 81-129) pertain to Little's personal finances. Most of the accounts record individual transactions related to temporary laborers. One group of accounts is dated July-October 1805, and others concern Little's financial relationship with Nathan Stewart.
- Finance, Personal.
- Indians of North America--Ohio.
- Kilbourn, James, 1770-1850.
- New Jersey--Description and travel.
- Ohio--Description and travel.
- Pennsylvania--Description and travel.
- Scioto Land Company.
- West Virginia--Description and travel.
- Worthington (Ohio)
- Worthington, Thomas, 1773-1827.
| Container / Location
Nathaniel W. Little journal [series]:
Nathaniel W. Little journal, July 30, 1802-October 7, 1802
Nathaniel W. Little accounts, July 1805-October 1805, and Undated
Additional Descriptive Data
Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.
McCormick, Virginia E., and Robert W. McCormick. New Englanders on the Ohio Frontier: The Migration and Settlement of Worthington, Ohio. Kent (Ohio): The Kent State University Press, 1998.
"Worthington Genealogies." The "Old Northwest" Genealogical Quarterly 6 (October 1903): 178.