Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Nathaniel W. Little Journal, 1802-1805

Finding aid created by
Clements Staff and Meg Hixon, October 2012

Summary Information
Title: Nathaniel W. Little journal
Creator: Little, Nathaniel W.
Inclusive dates: 1802-1805
Bulk dates: 1802
Extent: 1 volume
Abstract:
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.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated, 1935. M-251.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

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.

Alternate Format:

A transcript of the journal has been published in The "Old Northwest" Genealogical Quarterly 10 (1907): 237-245.

Preferred Citation:

Nathaniel W. Little journal, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

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.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • 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.
    Genre Terms:
    • Accounts.
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Nathaniel W. Little journal [series]:
    Volume   1 Pages   1-81
    Nathaniel W. Little journal,  July 30, 1802-October 7, 1802
    Pages   82-130  
    Nathaniel W. Little accounts,  July 1805-October 1805, and  Undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Bibliography

    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.