Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3






It is well known that Virginia claimed most of the terri-

tory northwest of the Ohio river, by reason of the grants made

by the sovereign of England to the colonists. In 1784 in accord-

ance with a formal request made by Congress in 1780, Virginia

ceded to the United States all her claims to the territory, re-

serving only the lands between the Scioto and the little Miami

rivers. This tract is usually called the Virginia Military Dis-

trict. It was reserved for the purpose of paying the Virginia

soldiers who had served in the revolutionary war.

The two rivers flow from different sources, and it was neces-

sary to draw a line from the head of one stream to the head of

the other. In 1800 an act of Congress directed the Surveyor

General to cause the line to be run from the source of the Little

Miami to the source of the Scioto. The line was run by one of

the surveyors, named Ludlow, whence the name of the line. For

twenty feet on each side the trees were cut down. The source of

the Miami thus determined is two or three miles eastwardly from

South Charleston, in the southeast part of Clark County. The

line runs northwesterly through the counties of Clark, Cham-

paign, and Logan, about forty miles, to the old Indian Boundary

Line as fixed by Wayne's treaty in 1795. In 1804 this line, to-

gether with its future extension beyond the Indian Boundary to

the Scioto, was declared to be the western line of the Virginia

Military District, provided Virginia would agree to it within two

years. Virginia objected. The land west of the Ludlow line had

been by this time, or shortly afterward, surveyed into Townships

and Sections as Congress lands. By reason of Virginia's ob-

jection, an act was passed in 1812, ordering a new survey of the

dividing line. The commissioners of the United States and of

Virginia met at Xenia in October of that year, and a new line

was run, called the Roberts Line. It began where Ludlow's Line