Teaching Cleveland
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High School Edition: 9-12

Lesson 5

Selling the Reserve, Turhand Kirtland's Letter to Moses Cleaveland


To discuss the difficulty encountered by the Connecticut Land Company in its attempts to sell the lands of the Western Reserve to discuss the factors which contributed to the development of a cash poor economy on the frontier and how these factors could be overcome to enable the Connecticut Land Company to sell the lands of the Western Reserve.



aborigines, indemnify, sundry


  1. What difficulties did Turhand Kirtland, a representative of the Connecticut Land Company, encounter when he arrived in the Western Reserve to sell land?
  2. What factors contributed to a "cash poor" economy in the Connecticut Western Reserve? How could these factors be overcome?


  1. Ask the students the following questions for discussion:
    a.What does the phrase "cash poor" economy mean?
    b.Considering that the average person made about $6.00 in wages per week, in 1796, do you think the amount the Company wanted for the land to be overpriced?
    c. What would you have taken as payment for the lands of the Reserve?
  2. After the students have read the letter, have them write a reply that they believe Moses Cleaveland might have written on behalf of the Company to Kirtland.
  3. Have students design a poster advertising the sale of land in the Western Reserve.
  4. Have the students pretend that they are newspaper reporters in 1796, who are writing an editorial encouraging people in the East to come to the Reserve.

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