Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Western Reserve (Ohio) Collection, 1796-1808

Finding aid created by
Shannon Wait, June 2010

Summary Information
Title: Western Reserve (Ohio) collection
Creator: William L. Clements Library
Inclusive dates: 1796-1808
Extent: 23 items
The Western Reserve (Ohio) collection contains documents related to the sale and purchase of land in the Western Reserve and in the state of Ohio, shortly after it gained statehood.
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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1967, 1991, 2000. M-1402, M-2728.2, M-4144.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Western Reserve (Ohio) Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The items are arranged chronologically.


Before the American Revolution, the land claimed by Connecticut stretched west to the Mississippi River, and included parts of Pennsylvania and New York. In 1786, Connecticut yielded most of its land claims in present-day Ohio to the United States government, but retained the northeast corner, which became known as the Western Reserve. The Reserve (so-called because it was "reserved" for the settlement of Connecticut citizens) was approximately 120 miles wide, bordered by Lake Erie to the north, Pennsylvania to the east, and stretching west to present-day Sandusky, Ohio. In 1795, Connecticut sold the land to venture capitalists of the Connecticut Land Company, for $1,200,000. The Company sent a party, headed by Moses Cleveland, to survey the state in 1796, and Connecticut residents soon flocked to area, which became known as "New Connecticut." The area was incorporated into the newly-formed state of Ohio when it achieved statehood in 1803.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Western Reserve (Ohio) collection contains 23 legal documents, dating 1796-1808, which relate to the purchase of land in the Western Reserve. Many of the items document land purchases by Nathan Elliott of Hartford, Connecticut. The collection includes Elliot's land deeds for "fifteen hundred twelve hundred thousandths" of the total Reserve for $1575 (April 13, 1796), "nine hundred twelve hundred thousandths" for $2000 (July 27, 1796), and "one thousand six hundred and thirty twelve hundred thousandths" for $3260 (July 28, 1796). Also present are a certificate for one share in the Connecticut Land Company and several land deeds related to James K. Garnsey. Four documents dated May 27, 1805, concern land purchased "at Public vendue, " lying south of Lake Erie, and referred to as 'sufferers land'. These list the names of early settlers and their payments.

Subject Terms

    • Ashland County (Ohio)
    • Connecticut Land Company.
    • Elliot, Nathan, 1767-1828.
    • Erie County (Ohio)
    • Firelands (Ohio)
    • Huron County (Ohio)
    • Ottawa County (Ohio)
    • Western Reserve (Ohio)
    Genre Terms:
    • Legal documents.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Drawer   : Oversize Manuscripts  
    Western Reserve (Ohio) collection,  1796-1808 [series] (23 items)
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library holds the Moses Warren, Jr., papers. Warren was a surveyor for the Connecticut Land Company in 1796.

    The Boardman papers include the papers of Elijah Boardman, a member of the Connecticut Land company.

    Northwest Territory collection contains various manuscripts pertaining to that territory and to early Ohio.

    The Clements Library holds a selection of significant maps of the Western Reserve, including the following:

    Additional printed Western Reserve maps date into the 1830s.

    The Connecticut State Library has the Connecticut Land Company records, 1794-1808.


    Cutler, H G, and Harriet T. Upton. History of the Western Reserve . Chicago, New York: Lewis Pub. Co, 1910.