CONNECTICUT LAND CO. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
The CONNECTICUT LAND CO. (1795-1809) was authorized by the state of Connecticut to purchase and resell a majority of the WESTERN RESERVE, the area of northeast Ohio that Connecticut had reserved for her citizens in 1786, in exchange for other western land claims to the U.S. government. The Connecticut Land Co. received title to all Reserve land except for the Firelands and a previously sold salt tract in the Mahoning Valley. A syndicate of 35 purchasing groups representing 58 individuals, the company had agreed to purchase the lands for $1.2 million on 2 Sept. 1795. The sale was on credit, the proceeds from which were earmarked to form the Connecticut School Fund. The company adopted articles of association on 5 Sept. 1795, each purchasing group receiving a number of shares equal to the amount of money invested. The first directors included MOSES CLEAVELAND†, who led the first company survey party to the Reserve in 1796, negotiated a treaty with the Iroquois whereby the tribe gave up claim to all land east of the CUYAHOGA RIVER, and founded the settlement of Cleveland. Settlers were slow to purchase Reserve lands, in part because the title to the land and the right to govern it were disputed. Settlers ignored the authority of the governor of the Northwest Territory, while Connecticut refused company pleas that the state exercise the territorial rights ceded in 1786. On 28 Apr. 1800, Pres. Adams signed the "Quieting Act," in which the U.S. gave Connecticut claim to the Reserve so that the company's land titles would be quieted and guaranteed. Connecticut then granted the U.S. jurisdiction over the Reserve on 10 July 1800, when the Western Reserve became Trumbull County, a part of the Northwest Territory. During the early years, slow land sales forced the company to offer settlers moderate rates, free bonus land for running gristmills and sawmills, and other incentives. Because of company mismanagement, not many of the original proprietors made profits. Many proprietors had not moved to the Reserve, and the company never opened a sales office there. The 1809 annual report on the Connecticut School Fund showed that a large amount of interest on the company's debt was unpaid and that the collateral of the original debt was not safe. The company was dissolved on 5 Jan. 1809, when all remaining land was divided among the proprietors.
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