The Manuscripts and Documents of the Ohio Company of Associates illuminate the formation of the United States' first national frontier. Much has been written about the familiar headlines of the Revolutionary experience from Lexington and Concord to the Constitution. The less well-known story captured in the Ohio Company papers, however, is the new nation's initial thrust westward across the Ohio River.
In both its entrepreneurial and adventuring spirit, this enterprise reflects the western yearnings of the barely born nation. Within the rich microcosm of these papers one finds insights into numerous phases of the national frontier: early western travel, the lure of western lands, the double impact of land ownership as both tangible wealth and social status, land speculation by the friends of government, frontier settlement and the built landscape, early urban planning, conflict with Native Americans defending their frontiers, a precursor of the Homestead Act designated the Donation Lands, Federalist politics, personal leadership, and some episodes of failure.
Historians, genealogists, lawyers, surveyors, and perhaps even landscape planners and geologists will find a range of stories hiding in the rich layers of this collection.
James H. O'Donnell, III, Ph.D.
McCoy Professor and Andrew U. Thomas Professor of History