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Ohio - Michigan Land Dispute

posted Apr 23, 2010, 5:37 PM by James Wise   [ updated Aug 29, 2010, 11:59 PM by Travis Wise ]

Michigan Survey.This original land survey is located in Northwest Ohio in Williams, Fulton, and Lucas counties. It is a continuation of the federal rectangular surveys starting from the Michigan Meridian and its base line, which is located north of Detroit. The land was claimed by both the state of Ohio and the territory of Michigan.This dispute nearly caused a war between the two in 1835. Ohio militia actually waited at the disputed state boundary line to invade Michigan. Some skirmishes occurred, and minor injuries inflicted before more peaceful means prevailed. The cause of this controversy had its origin in the Ordinance of 1787, when it was provided that, if Congress shall hereafter find it expedient, they shall have authority to form one or two states in that part of said territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan. The Act of April 30, 1802, that enabled Ohio to become a state, defined its north boundary to be an east and west line drawn through the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan, running east until it shall intersect Lake Erie. Ohio was admitted to the Union without Congress clearly defining its northern boundary. Congress tried to clear up the problem in 1817, when William Harris surveyed the boundary as set forth in the Ohio Constitution. Michigan objected to the Harris Line. John A. Fulton ran another survey in 1818 based upon the language in the Northwest Ordinance. Ohio objected to the Fulton Line because it was several miles south of the Harris Line and Ohio would lose the harbor at what is now Toledo. Finally, on June 15, 1836, the controversy ended when the President of the United States approved An Act to establish the northern boundary of Ohio, and to provide for the admission of the State of Michigan into the Union upon the conditions therein expressed. The boundaries prescribed for Michigan took away all the land south of the Harris Line, 400 square miles. Michigan received 9,000 square miles (which now is its Upper Peninsula) for its loss. Also, it was admitted to the Union on January 26, 1837 as part of the compromise.

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