Virginia Military District

From Ohio History Central

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Virginia Military District was an early land division in what would eventually become Ohio.

After the American Revolution, Virginia gave up most of its claims to western lands before the passage of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. However, the state kept an area of land in the Northwest Territory called the Virginia Military District. This territory was bordered by the Ohio River on the south, the Little Miami River to the west, and the Scioto River on the east and north. The state used these lands as payment to Virginia's Revolutionary War veterans. The first settlement in the Virginia Military District was Massie's Station, which was founded in 1790. The village of Chillicothe was founded quite early as well. Many Virginians settled in the area. In some cases, newcomers gave up their slaves in order to move to Ohio since the Northwest Ordinance did not allow slavery in the territory. George Washington was eligible to receive land in the district but never applied for a land patent.

Virginia eventually gave back to the United States government any lands that had not been claimed by veterans. The federal government then gave the land to the State of Ohio. In 1872, the Ohio legislature used the income from this land to create an endowment for The Ohio State University.

See Also


  1. Carter, Clarence Edwin, ed. The Territorial Papers of the United States. Vol. I-III. New York, NY: AMS Press, 1973.
  2. Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Ohio in Two Volumes. Vol. II. Cincinnati, OH: C.J. Krehbiel & Co., Printers and Binders, 1902.
  3. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  4. Onuf, Peter S. Statehood and Union: A History of the Northwest Ordinance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.