The Western Reserve

Armed with this first map, each of the colonies began to claim territories outside of their set boundaries, many of which overlapped. In 1777, Congress set up rules about territorial claims. By 1780 New York had surrendered her territorial claims to the federal government and one after another of the states followed New York’s example. By 1786, only Connecticut remained outside the fold when she surrendered all claims northwest of the Ohio River except the Western Reserve. Connecticut’s Western Reserve stretches 120 miles westward from the Pennsylvania Line and southward from Lake Erie to the 41st parallel. This approximately 5000 square miles of land was established for war veterans and homesteaders. The exception being the “Fire Lands”, a section on the far west which was reserved for the people of Norwalk and Fairfield Connecticut whose homes had been burned by the British during the American Revolution.