Indian Land Grants

From Ohio History Central
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The Indian Land Grants were a type of land division in the Northwest Territory.

As the Northwest Territory was organized in the late 1700s, the federal government sold large portions of land to private companies and individuals. The purchasers included the Ohio Company of Associates, the Scioto Company, land speculator John Cleves Symmes, and numerous other businesses and people. Individual states, including Connecticut and Virginia, also held claims in the territory. The United States government held the remaining land and slowly sold it. Some of the money paid off debts left over from the American Revolution. American Indians occupied much of these lands during the early years of settlement, but they were gradually forced out as more white settlers moved into Ohio.

Ohio lands were surveyed and sold by the federal government, private individuals, and by the states of Virginia and Connecticut. Since parts of the state were surveyed at different times, Ohio was divided into areas called survey "districts" or "land grants." Among these districts were the Indian Land Grants. Under the Treaty of Greeneville, the Northwest Territory's American Indian population received most of the land in modern-day northwestern Ohio. In various treaties over succeeding years, the native population relinquished most of this land in return for land located further west. In some of these treaties, the United States government did allow various chiefs or whites held captive by the natives to receive small grants of land. These grants are now known as the Indian Land Grants. The federal government hoped that these grants would convince reluctant native leaders to relinquish most of their land in Ohio. Most of these grants were small, rarely consisting of more than a township. The Indian Land Grants were strewn across the northwestern portion of present-day Ohio.