How did settlers pay for land in Ohio?

Q: How much did the first Ohio immigrants pay for government land? Could they request specific areas? — Jeannette Trout, Upper Sandusky.
A: At first, many white settlers were allowed to squat or to stake claims on Indian lands, or to buy or rent land from a few large landowners. Some spent money on land frauds.
In the 1780s, some Revolutionary War veterans were granted “land bounties” within their home state’s claim to unorganized Ohio. The claims included the Connecticut Western Reserve, The Firelands (Connecticut), and the Virginia Military District.
Aging vets, or those unwilling to move west, often sold their bounties at discounts before the states’ claims to Ohio were ceded to the federal government.
Finally, the Land Ordinance of 1785, the most important legislation under the flawed Articles of Confederation, provided the first well-organized distribution of federal land.
Starting at “The Point of Beginning,” the north bank of the Ohio River at the Pennsylvania-Ohio border, surveyors laid out “The Seven Ranges” into the general township/section pattern we have today.
In 1785, the minimum price at auction was $1 per acre, with a purchase of at least one section, or 640 acres. In 1796, the minimum price rose to $2 per acre.
Settlers could choose sections. Payments were in cash or debt certificates. Half was due at the sale, and half was due within one year.
The price was out of reach of many settlers, at least at first, and speculators bought large tracts to sell them on credit. — Ohio Historical Society;”The Official Ohio Lands Book,” Ohio Auditor of State, 2002; Peter Mattiace.
Q: A few months ago, the northbound side of Bright Road at East Bigelow, Findlay, was repaved. It’s a very rough drive. The repairs seem to have sunk below the road surface. Will we have to get used to it? — Richard Lowery, Findlay.
Q: Tiffin Avenue and the part of Bright Road from Tall Timbers to Owens Community College are in very bad condition. Are they scheduled to be resurfaced soon or are they just neglected by the county and state? — Terry McGuire, Findlay.
A: Much is related to a water main break in the area. The pavement is temporary and will be redone when the water line is replaced soon. Work on Tiffin Avenue is scheduled for next year. — Paul E. Schmelzer, city service-safety director.
Q: I’ve been told homeowners in flood areas cannot bring in fill. But the cleared lots on Findlay’s North Main Street by the bridge recently had six loads brought in. Does that rule apply to homeowners only, or to every place affected by floods? — Toby Weeks, Findlay.
A: “The city does have a policy related to balance of fill in the flood plain,” said Paul E. Schmelzer, city service-safety director.
“In some cases, the net impact of a small amount of fill relative to the overall property can be permitted by the (city) flood plain administrator (Todd Richard.)
“It should be noted that the city follows this policy over and above what the Federal Emergency Management Agency requires for flood plain administration.” — Denise Grant.
Q: What did Mark Twain (1835-1910) say?
A: “Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end, you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.”
Feed a question to Just Ask, P.O. Box 609, Findlay, OH 45839, or Send an E-mail to justask.



About the Author