From Ohio History Central
Map of the Ohio Lands
Benjamin Tupper was a prominent early settler of the Northwest Territory.
Tupper was born in Stoughton, Massachusetts, on March 11, 1738. As a young boy, he served as an apprentice to a tanner. He remained an apprentice until he reached the age of sixteen. Tupper then became a farm hand. In 1756, he enlisted in a military company and fought for the English in the French and Indian War. He married in 1762 and supported his family by teaching school. Once the American Revolution began, Tupper enlisted in the Continental Army. He fought in several major battles and attained the rank of brigadier general before retiring in 1783.
At the end of the Revolutionary War, Tupper was one of the 288 officers who signed the Newburgh Petition. These men hoped that the new government would pay its soldiers with land from the Ohio Country. Following the war, Tupper served in the Massachusetts legislature and assisted the state militia in putting down Daniel Shays' rebellion in 1786. In the same year, he helped Thomas Hutchins survey the Seven Ranges. He used the knowledge he gained while surveying to help the Ohio Company of Associates. The Company soon received permission from the Confederation Congress to establish settlements in the Ohio Country.
Tupper traveled west with the original Ohio Company settlers and helped found Marietta. He served on various committees responsible for building roads, determining where new settlements were to be founded, and where various flour and sawmills were to be located. On September 9, 1788, Tupper and Rufus Putnam became the first judges in the Northwest Territory. Tupper lived in the Northwest Territory for the remainder of his life. He died on June 7, 1792.
- Carter, Clarence Edwin, ed. The Territorial Papers of the United States. Vol. I-III. New York, NY: AMS Press, 1973.
- Cutler, Julia Perkins. The Founders of Ohio: Brief Sketches of the Forty-eight Pioneers Who, Under Command of General Rufus Putnam, Landed at the Mouth of the Muskingum River on the Seventh of April, 1788, and Commenced the First White Settlement in the Northwest Territory. Cincinnati, OH: R. Clarke & Co., 1888.
- Cutler, William Parker, and Julia Perkins Cutler, eds. Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, LL. D. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1987.
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- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
- Smith, Dwight L., ed. The Western Journals of John May, Ohio Company Agent and Business Adventurer. N.p.: Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio, 1961.