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Manuscripts and Documents of the Ohio Company of Associates: Details of the Grant Project

Research materials for the Manuscripts and Documents of the Ohio Company of Associates.

Details of the Grant Project

In 2000, Marietta College was awarded a Save America's Treasures matching grant, administered by the National Park Service, for the conservation and digitization of The Manuscripts and Documents of the Ohio Company of Associates.

Together with the Rufus Putnam Papers, these materials document the role played by a group of Revolutionary War officers in opening the Old Northwest Territory to organized settlement. Presented to Marietta College in the late 19th century by descendants of Ohio Company directors and shareholders, the total number of items in the combined collections is approximately 3,000. Of these, about 900 items were conserved and digitized. The remaining 2,100 items were inventoried and preserved in the special collections department of the Marietta College library, where they are accessible to researchers.

The digitized portion of the Manuscripts and Documents of the Ohio Company of Associates is arranged in four series, described as follows:

Series I – Business Records

Series I consists of 276 items arranged in chronological order. The records are dated from 1786 through 1805. Included is the directors' book of minutes which was transcribed in a two-volume work entitled The Records of the Original Proceedings of the Ohio Company, edited by Archer Butler Hulbert and published by the Marietta Historical Commission in 1917.

Also included are lists of Ohio Company proprietors, their payments for shares, and the lot numbers of the land drawn in their names; lists of military subscribers to the Ohio Company and records of the sales of military bounty land warrants; deeds to unappropriated Ohio Company land; donation tract deeds; and transfers of Ohio Company shares.

The Company's financial transactions, from purchasing office supplies to paying surveyors, are documented with bills and receipts accumulated by the directors, treasurers, and agents, as well as financial accounts of their dealings with proprietors. Records of land distributed in the Donation Tract (federal government land granted to the Ohio Company for free distribution to settlers) and a surveyor's description of each settler's 100-acre lot are also included.

An excerpt from Ohio Company agent Daniel Clap's statement regarding the payments made to him by the within named subscribers to the Ohio Company, dated March 29, 1792. (Series 1, Box 5, Folder 4, Item 1, 0001)

Series II – Correspondence

Series II consists of 80 items arranged in chronological order, dating from 1788 to 1808. The primary correspondents are Manasseh Cutler, Rufus Putnam, and Benjamin Tallmadge, important officers of the Ohio Company who discussed the Company's business affairs. Other correspondents are Ohio Company agents and proprietors.

An excerpt of a 1788 letter from Manasseh Cutler to Rufus Putnam, which includes reports on sales of shares in the Ohio Company (1786-1796) and mentions that the Massachusetts Convention has adopted the federal constitution. (Series 2, Box 1, Folder 3, Item 13, 0001)

Series III – Surveyors' Field Notes

Series III consists of 57 items. The field notebooks are grouped by surveyor and listed in chronological order (when dated) within each surveyor's grouping. They are dated from 1788 through 1817. To assist researchers in locating land in a particular township and range, an index to the notebooks was compiled. Notebooks for the following surveyors are included: James Backus, Ebenezer Buckingham, [unknown] Greene, Abel Mathews, John Mathews, Rufus Putnam, William R. Putnam, Levi Barber, Ebenezer Sproat, Benjamin F. Stone, Anselm Tupper, Levi Whipple, Jeffery Mathewson, Return Jonathan Meigs, Jonathan Stone, and Joseph Gilman. The notebooks contain the measurements and descriptions of land in the Ohio Company's purchase, which included ranges 8 through 16 in southeastern Ohio. Land in the Donation Tract was also surveyed, and meanders of the major rivers associated with the Ohio Company's land were noted.

Series IV – Maps, Plats, and Drawings

Series IV, the maps, plats, and drawings of the Ohio Company, consists of 21 items. Most of the material is undated, and it includes official plats, as well as rough maps and drawings of buildings. The survey books contain plats of land in ranges 8 through 16 of the Ohio Company's purchase and plats of the allotments in the Donation Tract. Some survey books list the names of the original Ohio Company proprietors in association with their lots, and some also include the names of later land owners.

Dating from 1776 to 1827, the digitized portion of the Rufus Putnam Papers was originally contained in three bound volumes, arranged in no particular order. The material was removed from the binding and treated by conservators prior to being arranged and described, and it is now stored in chronological order. Additional papers of Rufus Putnam have also been inventoried and arranged, but not digitized.

The papers describe many of Rufus Putnam's activities during the Revolutionary War and include his correspondence with such notables as George Washington, Anthony Wayne, and Robert Howe. Among the most important items are the papers detailing his involvement with the Ohio Company of Associates and the settlement at Marietta, Ohio. Putnam's journal of 1787-1789, which describes his journey west to the Ohio Country, is of particular interest. The collection contains a large quantity of material related to the Treaty of Vincennes in 1792, as well as Putnam's correspondence with Timothy Pickering regarding mail routes on the Ohio River. His work as Surveyor General of the United States is represented, as is his participation in the early business of Ohio University.

Disclaimer

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Department of the Interior.

Phases of the Project

2000
Marietta College awarded the National Park Service's Save America,s Treasures Grant.

2002
Marietta College library's project team identified all Ohio Company documents held in its collections.

2003
Representative items were selected and transported to Etherington Conservation Services (The HF Group) in Greensboro, North Carolina, to be cleaned and repaired.

2004
Project team arranged the papers into series and created metadata for each document.

2005
Portraits sent to Bonfoey Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio, for restoration. Project accepted by OhioLINK to become part of their Digital Resource Commons.

2006
Materials were microfilmed and scanned at the OCLC Preservation Service Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

2007
Framed documents and oil portraits associated with the Ohio Company were digitally photographed by Osborn Photographic Illustration, Inc., in Williamstown, West Virginia.

Project team and webmaster created web site to provide researchers with convenient access to the documents.

By 2008
Move all the metadata and documents into a fully searchable database, OhioLINK's Digital Resource Commons.