Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Landing of the Pioneers, April 7, 1788

In March of 1786, a group of Revolutionary War veterans met at the Bunch of Grapes tavern in Boston to form the Ohio Company of Associates. The purpose of the Company was to acquire a large tract of land in the Northwest Territory and promote settlement there. The following year, as Congress was devising the terms of the Northwest Ordinance, Manasseh Cutler negotiated a contract with Congress for the purchase of 1.5 million acres in the Ohio Country. Two parties of “adventurers” traveled west from New England in the winter of 1787-88, and rendezvoused at Sumrill’s Ferry in Pennsylvania. The superintendent of the expedition was Rufus Putnam, whose papers are now held in the Special Collections department of the Marietta College Library. In his journal, Putnam describes the trek of the pioneers and their arrival at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers on April 7, 1788, to begin the settlement of Marietta. To read Putnam’s entire journal, visit the Rufus Putnam Papers at the Digital Resource Commons of OhioLink and search for Rufus Putnam Journal of His Service to the Ohio Company: 



Saturday March 29th
Launched our great Boate named the Union Galley.  She was intended to carry 24 Tun but as her construction is new her burden is unsertain - the Same day we launched a large Walnut Canoe about 2 Tun Burthen called the Katling Tender, haveing before Put in the River two other Canoes one called the Allen of about one Tun the other the Wesel of about 8 hundred Burthen. This with the Adelphi Ferry Boate of about 3 Tun Burthen make up our Flat with which we Shall proceed down the River

Monday March 31st
Colo. Sproate, Mr. Foster, and others, Set out with the Horses & oxen for the mouth of Buffaloe Creek and are to take on 500 lb of hard Bread number of Venison Hams with a Firken of Butter from Washington on Pack horses.  Put a part of our loading on bord but the Rain prevented our compleating the loading and Setting out as was intended

Tuesday April 1st
45 minutes past one o clock we left Sumrells Ferry and falling down 6 mile took in one Tun of hay and proceeded to Mr Gees Ferry where we arrived at 9 o clock the Same.

April 2d   got under way at 4 clock in the morning and arrived at Pittsburgh about 8 AM - left Pittsburgh at 2 clock PM.  Passed great Beaver Creek at 8 in the evening

April 3d   came too about 3 mile above Harmons Creek at 4 Clock AM waiting for day light to find said Creek.  At 7 Clock the Same morning came too 3/4 of a mile below Harmons Creek haveing passed it through mistake.  Mr. Foster arrived about 12 Clock haveing ben Engaged in forwarding a quantity of Pork from Mr. Southerlands to the River, Distance 4 mile.  The provisions ware all got to the River this evening but the heavy rains which fell this evening prevented these as well as a Raft of Boards from coming Down

Friday April 4th   haveing got the provisions on Board and the Boards on the Raft, we Set out about 1 Clock PM and arrived with the galley at Buffaloe about 3 Clock, leveing the Adelphi Ferry boat to take in Sum more Pork at Mr. Hendersons opposit Mingo Bottom   Found the provisions not brought dow[n] as expected but that Mr. Wells was Zealously engaged in the business

Saturday April 5th
The provisions were all brought down in the course of the Day but too late to Set out till morning

Sunday April 6th
Put every thing on board early and left Buffaloe 23 minuts past 9 Clock AM.  Passed Short Creek 46 minuts past 10, Wheeling 32 minuts past 12, Grave Creek 55 minuts past 2 Clock PM - came too at the Southerly part of round Bottom 55 minuts past 3  except the first mile in the morning we rowed none except to keep stearagch by but the awning & Baggage above the Gunwale, the wind being North easterly gave us about 2 [k]not through the Warter - left round Botom 1/2 past nine in the evening -

Monday April 7th
Passed the west line of the Seventh Range 35 minuts after 11 Clock AM - arrived at Muskingum at one Clock PM and came too on the East point or Fork between the Ohio & Muskingum, where we landed our Stock and Bagage with Some of the provisions, both Bagage and provisions haveing Suffered considerably by wet weather besides the hard bread brought from Washington being wholly lost and the Venison Hams much Injured by the pack horses falling into a Mill Race -

Tuesday April 8th
The day Spent in makeing Some temporary Cover till we can fix on the Spot for building

Wednesday April 9
Colo Sproat & Mr. Mathews began to Survey the Companys lands   The people ware Set to clearing the land round our Camp Thursday   I went with Majr. Doughty and others to reconnoiter the ajacant Country and perticularly the ruings of the ancient works

Friday April 11
I began the Survey of the 2d Botom or building ground of the ancient works or Town.  The rest of the people ware employed in Cuting a road from our Camp to the Town Plot -