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Connecticut Western Reserve Land Document - with Plat Map

Signed by Joshua Stow and A. S. Barnum

An original 1825 bond agreement for Ohio lands in the Connecticut Western Reserve, completed in manuscript, and signed by Joshua Stow, an early dealer of Ohio lands through the Connecticut Land Company. The agreement concerns 76 acres in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and includes a plat map drawn in 1845 which is on a separate sheet.

The main 1825 document includes a description of the land in question, with extensive manuscript additions, including transferring of rights, and the like:

...the following described tract of land, situated in the state of Ohio, in the county of [Cuyahoga], in township number [six], in range number [eleven] in the Connecticut Western Reserve, so called, containing [Seventy-Six] acres, [being the northerly part of Lot No. 2, then bounded northerly...]

On the verso, in manuscript:

The within named Joshua Stow proposes to deed the within described land to the State of Connecticut. And now, be it known that if the said Stow shall so convey the same it is agreed that whenever the said Abijah S. Barnum shall pay the within described bond and note agreeable...then the said State is to release to the said Barnum all its right and title to the land described in the within article. Cleaveland, Ohio, July 18, 1825...

Then follows several further endorsements and emendations dated 1833 and 1837, conveying the bond to James Steel, Jacob Flick, and William Steel. An additional sheet further assigning the bond to Barbara Darrow, dated Feb. 9, 1850

The manuscript plat map (on a separate sheet) was drawn in August 1845 by surveyor William H. Knapp, an early resident of the Cleveland area. In 1839 Knapp was working as Surveyor of Cuyahoga County, a post to which he was re-elected in 1842. Knapp is also remembered as one of the first school teachers in Independence, Ohio. His home, a modest 1836 wooden structure in Greek Revival style still stands in the village of Valley View.

Joshua Stow (1762-1842) was one of the original shareholders in the Connecticut Land Co. Born in Middlefield, Connecticut, he joined Moses Cleaveland in developing land in Summit County, serving as commissary manager for Cleaveland's surveying party. Though he made about a dozen trips between Connecticut and the Western Reserve, he remained in Connecticut, developing his land grants through agents and trading Western Reserve land he was unable to use.

Abijah Seth Barnum (1806-1868) was an early settler of Bedford, Ohio, now a suburb of Cleveland. By 1848 Barnum was listed as the owner or landlord of Weddell House, the best known hotel of early 19th-century Cleveland. The hotel property was later acquired by John D. Rockefeller, who built an eponymous office building on the site.

Connecticut Western Reserve Lands in Ohio

Toward the end of the Revolutionary War, Connecticut set aside land at the west end of the Western Reserve to compensate those who had suffered from British raids. This area became known as the Fire Lands. In 1786, Connecticut relinquished all claim to western lands to the fledgling U.S. Government, except for a 120-mile strip along the south shore of Lake Erie, which was being reserved as compensation for land lost to Pennsylvania in the Wyoming Valley of the Susquehanna River. This land became known as the Connecticut Western Reserve. Connecticut began trying to sell it to raise money for the state's school system. A group of investors purchased the Western Reserve and incorporated themselves as the Connecticut Land Company for $1,200,000. They then hired agents to sell the land to those persons wishing to migrate.

An initial party, led by Moses Cleaveland, reached the site of what is now Cleveland, Ohio, in 1796. Like the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains generally, the Western Reserve was little-known, but was becoming an important part of the westward movement of settlers in the years following American independence.


An uncommon original document for lands in the Ohio Western Reserve, signed by several notable early Ohio settlers.

Condition Description
Folio. Three sheets. The printed 1825 document generally worn and stained, split in two along horizontal fold. Otherwise overall condition is good. Docketed on verso of attached sheet: "A. S. Barnum's Bond - Judgment was taken in Cuy[ahoga] Com. Pleas..."