Ohio History Journal

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98 Ohio Arch

98        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.




The following interesting account of the "Firelands" is taken from

the West Liberty Banner:

Unnumbered native Ohioans, not to speak of hundreds of thousands

of residents of the state from foreign lands and other states of the union,

must have wondered why a fertile and productive tract in northern Ohio,

a district which in no way hints of the ravages of fire, should be called

the "Firelands." Among all the vicissitudes of Ohio's early history great

conflagrations were known for their absence. No such terrible forest

fires swept this state as ravaged large areas in Michigan and Wisconsin

seventy or eighty years later.

The fires to which the name refers raged in Connecticut, not Ohio,

and they were the work of British or Tory soldiers instead of the result

of accidents or natural causes. In 1781, when the long struggle for inde-

pendence was nearly ended, Benedict Arnold commanded an expedition

which ravaged the Connecticut coast of Long Island Sound. He burned

New London and other towns and left behind misery and destitution

as well as a greater hatred himself than he had earned before the outrage

upon his native state.

This and other cruel and senseless attacks upon Connecticut's towns

left so strong a feeling of sympathy and injustice behind that in disposing

of Connecticut's rights in lands now forming part of Ohio, 781 square

miles in the extreme western edge in the Western Reserve were reserved

to reimburse those who had suffered by the British raids. Five ranges

of townships running north and south were included in this tract.

Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie extend so far southward at this point

that the five ranges of townships contained only about 500,000 acres of

land. The tract measured some twenty-seven miles by thirty. The Con-

necticut sufferers from the torch of the enemy lived chiefly in New Lon-

don, Norwalk and Fairfield, and it was from these towns that many of

the settlers of the "Firelands" came to build in the Ohio wilderness

settlements bearing the same names and having like civic ideals and






On November 25, 1904, at the tenth general court of the Society of

Colonial Wars in the State of Ohio, held at the Queen City Club, Cin-

cinnati, the following officers were elected:

Governor -Perin Langdon, Cincinnati.

Deputy Governor - Charles Theodore Greve, Cincinnati.

Lieutenant Governor-Hiram    Harper Peck, Cincinnati.