State Formed

April 30, 1802, an enabling act was passed authorizing a constitutional convention, to form a state, from which the following extracts pertinent to this subject are taken:

''The inhabitants of the eastern division of the territory northwest of the river Ohio, be, and they are hereby authorized to form for themselves a constitution and state government, and to assume such name as they shall deem proper;


First Ohio Capitol

"That the said state shall consist of all the territory included within the following boundaries, to-wit : Bounded on the east by the Pennsylvania line; on the south by the Ohio River, to the mouth of the Great Miami River; on the west by the line drawn due north from the mouth of the Great Miami aforesaid; and on the north by an east and west line drawn through the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan, running east, after intersecting the due north line aforesaid, from the mouth of the Great Miami, until it shall intersect said Lake Erie, or the territorial line, and thence, with the same, through Lake Erie, to the Pennsylvania line aforesaid;

"That all that part of the territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio, heretofore included in the eastern division of said territory, and not included within the boundary herein prescribed for the said state, is hereby attached to, and made a part of the Indiana territory.

"That all male citizens of the United States, who shall arrive at full age, and reside within the said territory at least one year previous to the day of election, * * * be, and they are hereby authorized to choose representatives to form a convention, who shall be apportioned among the several counties within the eastern division aforesaid, in a ratio of one representative to every twelve hundred inhabitants of each county * * * that is to say, from the county of Trumbull two representatives, from the county of Jefferson seven, two of the seven to be elected within what is now known by the county of Belmont, taken from Jefferson and Washington Counties; from the county of Washington four representatives; from the county of Ross seven representatives, two of the seven to be elected in what is now known by Fairfield County, taken from Ross and Washington counties; from the county of Adams three representatives ; from the county of Hamilton twelve representatives, two of the twelve to be elected in what is now known by Clermont County, taken entirely from Hamilton County; and the elections for the representatives afore said, shall take place on the second Tuesday of October next, the time fixed by law * * * for elected representatives to the General Assembly.

''That the members of the convention * * * when met shall first determine by a majority of the whole number, whether it be or be not expedient at that time, to form a constitution and state government for the people within the said territory; and if it be determined to be expedient, the convention shall be, and hereby are authorized to form a constitution and state government; The Federalists, having been defeated in their endeavor to have a small state formed, did not cease their opposition to the proposed new state. Not having been able to get what they wanted, they were now not in favor of any change. As the act authorizing the calling of a convention, left it to 'that body, when assembled, to say whether a state would be formed, it became important for each side to elect as many of its adherents to the convention, as possible. Political excitement ran high. The Federalists complained of the provisions of the enabling act prescribing the number of members the different counties were allowed in the convention, claiming that those which had adverse majorities to their party, were given an unfair representation, in order to ensure a political majority for the opposing party, and that Wayne county was left out of the convention, because its vote would be opposed to the new state. The Federalists endeavored to secure the election of as many members, pledged in opposition to a state, as possible, and hoped to defeat the project by a vote in the convention when it had assembled. Notwithstanding their strenuous efforts, they were sorely defeated. When the convention met, the vote upon the question of statehood was thirty-four for it, to one against.

It is to be observed that the convention, in forming the western boundary of the state, followed the line that had been fixed by Congress in the Enabling act of April 30, 1802, and which was the same as that fixed in the proviso of the act of May 9, 1800, providing for the division of the territory. The new boundaries for the state set out in the convention of 1802 were as follows:

"Bounded on the east by the Pennsylvania line, on the south by the Ohio River to the mouth of the Great Miami River, on the west by a line drawn due north from the mouth of the great Miami aforesaid, and on the north by an east and west line drawn through the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan, running east after intersecting the due north line aforesaid, from the mouth of the Great Miami until it shall intersect Lake Erie on the territorial line, and thence with the same through Lake Erie to the Pennsylvania line aforesaid."

The contraction of the western boundary, so that the state line began at the mouth of the Great Miami, instead of at a point opposite the mouth of the Kentucky, gave Indiana a strip of territory about fifty miles wide on the Ohio, and one hundred miles long next to the eastern boundary of that state, coming to a point near Fort Recovery, which happens to be about in the due north line from the mouth of the Great Miami.

Disputes have arisen as to the correctness of the surveys of the western and northern boundary lines of the state, which have been fully set forth in former issues of the Archaeological Reports published by this society.

Online Resources | Ohio AHGP

Source: Ohio Archaeological and Historical Publications, Volume 5, John L. Trauger, 1898.

 



 

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