Fayette County History & Genealogy

History of Fayette County

From R. S. Dills' History of Fayette County


VIRGINIA MILITARY SURVEY. "That a quantity not exceeding one hundred and fiftY thousand acres of land, promised by this state, shall be allowed and granted to Gen. George Rodgers Clark, and to the officers and soldiers of his regiment to be laid oif in such place on the northwest side of the Ohio as a majority of the officers shall choose, and to be afterwards divided among the said officers and soldiers in due proportion according to the laws of Virginia. That in case the quantity of good lands, on the south side of the Ohio, upon the waters of the Cumberland River, and between the Green River and the Tennessee, which have been reserved by law for the Virginia troops, upon continental establishment, should prove insufficient for their legal bounties, the deficiency should be made up to said troops in good lands, to be laid off between the rivers Scioto and Little Miami, on the northwest side of the River Ohio, in such proportions as have been engaged to them by the laws of Virginia."

The land embraced in this reservation, between the Scioto and Little Miami rivers, constitutes the Virginia Military District in Ohio. The district comprehends the entire counties of Adams, Brown, Clermont, Clinton, Highland, Fayette, Madison and Union; and a portion of the counties of Scioto, Pike, Ross, Pickaway, Franklin, Delaware, Marion, Hardin, Logan, Champaign, Clarke, Greene, Warren and Hamilton.

Although this cession and reservation was made in 1783, its definite boundary was not determined until a decision of the Supreme Court was made in reference to it some time in 1824, The Scioto was the eastern line, and Virginia claimed the right to run the western line of the tract direct from the source of the Scioto to the mouth of the Little Miami. Such a line would run considerably west of some parts of the Little Miami. The source of the Scioto is in the western part of Auglaize County, and a straight line drawn from this point to the mouth of the Little Miami, would have run entirely west of Greene County, and would have included in the Military District, a portion of Auglaize, Shelby, Miami and Montgomery counties.

The Indian line established by the treaty of Greenville, between the United States and certain Indian tribes, being a part of the boundary of this military district, it is quite important that it be described here. It begins at the mouth of the Cuyahoga and runs south, up that river through the portage between it and the Tuscarawas, down the Tuscarawas to the northern line of Tuscarawas County at its middle point; thence west, bearing a little south, forming the northwestern line of this county to Holmes; passing through Holmes County, it forms the eastern part of the northern boundary of Knox. It then passes through the northwestern part of Knox, through the middle part of Morrow, the southern part of Marion, through Logan, forming the northern line of Lake and Harrison townships, through Shelby County, forming the northern boundary of Salem Township. From a point in the western part of Shelby County the line bears a little to the north of west, and extends through the southern part of Mercer County to Fort Recovery, in the western part of the county; thence it extends in a straight line south, bearing west through the southeastern part of Indiana, to the Ohio River, at a point in Indiana opposite the mouth of the Kentucky River.

In May 1800, congress passed a law for the sale of lands in the western territory which were not included in the Virginia Military District, and in the execution of this law the surveyor general caused a line to be run from the source of the Little Miami toward what he supposed to be the mouth of the Scioto, which is denominated Ludlow's line, and surveyed the lands west of that line into sections as prescribed in the act of congress.

In 1804, congress passed a law concerning the boundary of the Virginia Military District which enacted that Ludlow's line should be considered the western boundary line of the reserved territory north of the source of the Little Miami, provided the State of Virginia should within two years recognize it as the boundary of this territory. Virginia did not accept the proposition, and the rights of the parties remained as if nothing had been done. Again, in 1812, congress authorized the president to appoint three commissioners to meet three other commissioners, to be appointed by the State of Virginia, who were to agree upon the line of military reserve, and to cause the same to be surveyed. Should the commissioners from Virginia fail to meet them, they were to proceed alone, and make their report to the president. In the meantime, and until the line should be established by consent, Ludlow's line should be considered the western boundary. The commissioners of the United States were met by those of Virginia, at Xenia, on the 26th day of October, 1812, and proceeded to ascertain the sources of the two rivers and to run the line. They employed a Mr. Charles Roberts to survey and mark a line from the source of one river to that of the other. This line is called Roberts' line, and is drawn from the source of the Little Miami to the source of the Scioto. The Virginia commissioners refused to accede to this, and claimed, as has been stated before, that the line should be drawn from the source of the Scioto to the mouth of the Little Miami. On the 11th day of April, 1818, congress passed an act, declaring that from the Little Miami to the Indian boundary line, established by the Greenville treaty, Ludlow's line should be considered as the western boundary of the military reserve. This, however, was the act of only one party to the contract, and did not necessarily determine the boundary. But the subsequent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, made in 1824, based upon the language in the act of cession defining the phrase, "good lands to be laid off between the Rivers Scioto and Little Miami," to mean. the whole country from their sources to their mouths, bounded on either side by said rivers. It would be clear from this decision that the most direct line from the source of one to the source of the other would complete the boundary. This decision of the Supreme Court practically settled the question, and the Ludlow line to the Indian boundary, and the Roberts line from the Indian boundary, together with a portion of the Indian line itself, became the established boundary line of the Virginia Military District between the sources of the Scioto and Little Miami rivers. The Ludlow line begins at the source of the Little Miami River, in the northeast corner of Madison Township, Clarke County, a little more than three miles east by north from South Charleston, at a point on the Columbus and Xenia Railroad, about a half a mile southwest of the point where the road crosses the county line, and extends north by west through Champaign County, passing about five miles east of Urbana. In Logan County, it runs through the eastern part of Bellefontaine, and strikes the Indian boundary line in the northeast corner of Harrison Township, about three and a half miles north by west from Bellefontaine. From this terminus of the Ludlow line, the Indian boundary line extends west by south along the northern border of Harrison Township, about four miles, to the Roberts line.

This Roberts line begins abont one and a half miles east of the northwest corner of Harrison Township, and extends north by west, through the middle of Lewiston Reservoir, to a point in a swampy or marshy region, abont a mile and three-fonrths south by east from the center of Wayne Township, in the southeastern part of Auglaize County. Here the line makes very nearly a right angle, and extends in a direction east by north about two miles and a half to the eastern limit of Goshen Township, where it terminates in the Scioto River. The original Roberts line must have begun at, or very near, the beginning of the Ludlow line, but its bearing was so far to the west that it ran a little to the west of the Scioto's source. The Ludlow line, on the other hand, did not bear enough to the west. It ran a little to the east of the source. It was proper, therefore, that a part of both lines, in the absence of a third survey, should have been made the real boundary.

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