Early History of Lorain County

  1. Introduction
  2. All to Benefit from the Results of Joint Effort
  3. Surrender State Claims
  4. Creating the Western Reserve
  5. Claims of the Native Americans
  6. The Firelands
  7. Moses Cleveland's Survey
  8. Dividing the Land
  9. Civil Government in the Western Reserve
  10. Creating Lorain County
  11. Providing for Schools
  12. Settlement of Lorain County
  13. The War of 1812
  14. Delivering the Mail
  15. Ridgeville
  16. Avon
  17. Organizing Lorain County
  18. Judge Boynton Sums up
  19. Biographical Sketch of Judge Washington W. Boynton

Transcribed for electronic media by Charles A. Smith, Jr.

Excerpts from A Historical Address By W W Boynton, Delivered July 4, 1876, at Elyria, Ohio.

"Fellow Citizens:

In 1748, an eminent French writer informed his readers that a prosperous and great people, having the form of a free government, was forming and rising in the very forests of America, which they were sent forth to inhabit.

One hundred years ago today, that great people, cutting loose from the restraints of foreign domination, declared that the United Colonies were, and of right ought to be, free and independent States; an utterance involving immense and weighty responsibilities.

That all men were entitled to life and liberty, and to engage in those pursuits that were calculated to secure their prosperity and happiness; that governments instituted among men derived their just powers from the consent of the governed, were propitious both self-evident and self-vindicating, and found the public mind of the Colonists, not only prepared to yield a ready assent to the principles involved in them, but to give battle for their establishment upon the American Continent.

It is not my purpose to undertake to explore, or trace, the causes which led to the Declaration of Independence, and to a pledge of life, fortune and honor in its support; nor to follow the glorious history of the past hundred years, and note the progress and march of a civilization purely American, and the advancement of a people whose rise and growth, whose ascent into a higher national life, have been the marvel of the world, and unequaled in its history.

Interesting and appropriate as this would be to the day and occasion, I am expected to occupy a narrower field, and confine myself to an historical account of the settlement and growth of our immediate neighborhood, to which, for a short time, I bespeak your patience.

In 1609, James the First granted to a company called the London Company, a charter under which the entire claim of Virginia to the soil northwest of the Ohio was asserted. It was clothed with corporate power, with most of its members residing in the city of London.

The tract of country embraced within this charter was immense. It commenced its boundaries at Point Comfort, on the Atlantic, and run south two hundred miles, and thence west across the continent to the Pacific; commencing again at Point Comfort, and running two hundred miles north, and from this point northwest to the sea.

This line run through New York and Pennsylvania, crossing the eastern end of Lake Erie, and terminated in the Arctic Ocean. The vast empire lying between the south line, the east line, the diagonal line to the northwest, and the Pacific Ocean, was claimed by virtue of this charter. It included over half of the North American Continent.

Notwithstanding the charter of the London Company included all the territory now embraced within the boundaries of Ohio, James the First, on the 3rd of November, 1620, by Royal Letters Patent, granted to the Duke of Lenox and others, to be known as the Council of Plymouth, all the territory lying between the fortieth and forty-eighth degree of north latitude, and bounded on the east by the Atlantic, and on the west by the Pacific.

This description embraced a large tract of the lands granted to the Virginia or London Company. In 1630, a portion of the same territory was granted to the Earl of Warwick, and afterwards confirmed to him by Charles the First.

In 1631, the Council of Plymouth, acting by the Earl of Warwick, granted to Lord Brook and Viscounts Say and Seal, what was supposed to be the same lands, although by a very imperfect description.

In 1662, Charles the Second granted a charter to nineteen patentees, with such associates as they should from time to time elect. This association was made a body corporate and politic, by the name of the Governor and Company of the English Colony of Connecticut.

This charter constituted the organic law of the State for upwards of one hundred and fifty years. The boundaries were Massachusetts on the north, the sea on the south, Narragansett River or Bay on the east, and the South Sea on the west.The Pacific Ocean was at that time called the South Sea.

This description embraced a strip of land upwards of sixty miles wide, stretching to the Atlantic to the Pacific, including a part of New York and New Jersey, and all the territory now known as the Western Reserve.

In 1681, for the consideration of 16,000 pounds, and a fealty of two beaver skins a year, Charles the Second granted to William Penn a charter embracing within its limits the territory constituting the present State of Pennsylvania. This grant included a strip of territory running across the entire length of the State on the north, and upwards of fifty miles wide, that was embraced within the Connecticut charter.

Massachusetts, under the Plymouth charter, claimed all the land between the forty-first and forty-fifth degrees of north latitude.

In 1664, Charles the Second ceded to his brother, the Duke of York, afterwards James the Second, by Letters Patent, all the country between the St. Croix and the Delaware. After the overthrow of the Government of "New Netherlands," then existing upon that territory, it was claimed that the grant to the Duke of York extended west into the Mississippi Valley.

Thus matters stood at the commencement of the Revolution:

Virginia claimed all the territory northwest of the Ohio.

Connecticut strenuously urged her title to all land lying between the parallels 41 and 42 deg. 2 minutes north latitude from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Pennsylvania, under the charter of 1681, had taken possession of the disputed land lying in that state, and had granted much of it to actual settlers.

New York and Massachusetts were equally emphatic in the assertion of ownership to land between those lines of latitude.

The contention between claimants under the Connecticut and Pennsylvania charters, on the Susquehanna, frequently resulted in bloodshed.

The controversy between those two States was finally submitted to a Court of Commissioners appointed by Congress, upon the petition of Pennsylvania, under the ninth article of the Confederation, which gave Congress power to establish a Court of Commissioners to settle disputed boundaries, between States, in case of disagreement.

The Court decided in favor of Pennsylvania, and this decision terminated the controversy. The question of the title to land lying west of Pennsylvania was not involved in this adjudication, but remained a subject for future contention.