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Miami Purchase

The Miami Purchase was also known as the Symmes Purchase and the Miami Slaughterhouse. John Cleves Symmes -- a New Jersey officer during the American Revolution and a representative (1785-1787) of that state in the Continental Congress -- asked to buy one million acres in the Northwest Territory in August 1787. This was shortly after Congress had adopted the Northwest Ordinance, opening the way for settlement of what would soon become Ohio. Symmes and associates (Elias Boudinot and Jonathan Dayton) received approval of the land sale Oct. 15, 1788. Symmes' choice was the area north of the Ohio River between the Little Miami River on the east and the Great Miami on the west, an area including about half of present Butler County. "After alterations of his contract several times, Congress authorized a patent, and President Washington issued the deed Sept. 30, 1794, for a tract totaling 311,682 acres, including reservations," said E. C. Sherman in Original Ohio Land Subdivisions. "The reservations were sections 8, 11 and 26 for future disposal by Congress, sections 29 for religion, sections 16 for schools, and one whole township for a university." With those sections removed, Sherman said, "there remained 248,540 acres sold to him for two-thirds of a dollar an acre." As revised, the northern limit of the Miami Purchase was at about a line extended east and west from Trenton. The northern boundary, said the 1882 county history, "commences on the Great Miami River, a few rods north of the mouth of Dick's Creek, below Amanda." The Miami Purchase also was called the Miami Slaughterhouse because of the damage, death and injury inflicted on early settlers by Native Americans who contested the loss of their land. That derogatory label didn't help Symmes to resell his land. His appeals to old friends -- President George Washington and Secretary of War Henry Knox -- resulted in the building of Fort Washington at Losantiville (Cincinnati) in effort to end Indian depredations.


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