Scioto Company

From Academic Kids

The Scioto Company was a French institution which granted worthless deeds in the Ohio Country (later Northwest Territory and then Ohio) to French colonists.

The Scioto Land Company was organized by Colonel William Duer and others in 1787 and officially organized in 1789 as the Compagnie du Scioto in Paris by Joel Barlow, the agent of Duer and his associates abroad (William Playfair, an Englishman, plus six Frenchmen).

This company had arranged with the Ohio Company in 1787 for the use of about 4,000,000 acres (16,000 km²), north of the Ohio River and east of the Scioto River, on which the Ohio Company had secured an option only. The dishonesty of those who conducted the sales in France, the unbusinesslike methods of Barlow, and the failure of Duer and his associates to meet their contract with the Ohio Company, caused the collapse of the Scioto Company early in 1790, and two subsequent attempts to revive it failed.

Meanwhile about 150,000 acres (607 km²) had been sold to prospective settlers, companies and individuals in France. On February 19, 1791, 218 of these purchasers left Havre de Grace, in France, and arrived in Alexandria, District of Columbia, now Alexandria, Virginia, on the May 3 following.

On their arrival, they were told that the Scioto Company owned no land. When they arrived at Marietta, Ohio, about fifty of them landed. In October 1791, rest of the company proceeded to Gallipolis, which was laid out about that time, and where rude huts had been built for them, were assured by the agent that the place lay within their purchase.

This land, however, fell within the limits of the tract bought outright by the Ohio Company, which sold it to the Scioto Company, and to which it reverted on the failure of the Scioto Company to pay.

In 1794 William Bradford, the U.S. Attorney General, decided that all rights in the 4,000,000 acres (16,000 km²), on which the Ohio Company had secured an option for the Scioto Company, were legally vested in the Ohio Company.

In 1795 the Ohio Company sold to the French settlers for $1.25 an acre ($309/km²) the land they occupied and adjacent improved lots, and the United States government granted to them 24,000 acres (97,000 km²) in the southern part of what is now Scioto County, Ohio in 1795;

Every effort to secure titles to the lands they had purchased having failed, an application was made to Congress, and in June 1798, a grant was made to them of a tract of land on the Ohio, above the mouth of the Scioto River. Little of this land (still known as the French Grant), however, was ever occupied by them; most remained in or near Gallia County, Ohio.


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