Teaching Cleveland

Lesson 5

Handout 1 - Letter of Turhand Kirtland to Moses Cleaveland

CLEAVELAND, OHIO, 17TH JULY, 1800

Gen. M. Cleaveland, Canterbury, Conn.
To be left at Norwich, Post Office

Dear Sir: -- On my arrival at this place, I found Major SPAFFORD, Mr. LORENZO CARTER, and Mr. DAVID CLARK, who are the only inhabitants residing in the city, having been anxiously awaiting with expectations of purchasing a number of lots, but when I produced my instructions, they were greatly disappointed, both as to price and terms. They assured me, that they had encouragement last year, from Col. THOMAS SHELDON; that they would have lands at ten dollars per acre, and from Major AUSTIN at twelve dollars at most; which they think would be a generous price, for such a quantity as they wish to purchase. You will please excuse me, for giving my opinion, but it really seems to me good policy to sell the city lots, at a less price than twenty-five dollars, (two acres) or I shall never expect to see it settled.

Mr. CARTER was an early adventurer, has been of essential advantage to inhabitants here, in helping them to provisions in times of danger and scarcity, has never been experienced any gratuity from the company, but complains of being hardly dealt by, in sundry instances. He has money to pay for about thirty acres, which he expected to have taken, if the price had met his expectation; but he now declares that he will leave the purchase, and never own an acre in New Connecticut. Major SPAFFORD has stated his wishes to the company, in his letter of January last, and I am not authorized to add any thing. He says he has no idea of giving the present price, for sixteen and eighteen lots. He contemplated building a house, and making large improvements this season, which he thinks would indemnify the company fully, in case he should fail to fulfill his contract; and he is determined to remove to some other part of the purchase immediately, unless he can obtain better terms than I am authorized to give. Mr. CLARK is said to be included in the same contract, with Major SPAFFORD, but his circumstances will not admit of his making any advances. I have requested the settlers not to leave the place until I can obtain further information from the Board, and request you to consult General CHAMPION, to whom I have written, and favor me with dispatch by first mail.

Mr. EDWARDS has gone to see the Governor. Crops extraordinary good, and settlers healthy and in good spirits. They are increasing as fast as can be expected, but the universal scarcity of cash, in this back part of the country, renders, it extremely difficult to sell for money, and the vast quantity of land in market will prevent a speedy sale of our lands. The people have been encouraged that the Company would have a store erected, and receive provisions in payment for lands, for money is not to be had. Mr. TILLITSON, from Lyme, wants two, one hundred acre lots, and would pay for one in hand if horses, cattle or provisions would answer, or would take them on credit, if he could have sufficient time to turn his property, but has no cash to advance.

I have given a sketch of these circumstances, in order that you may understand my embarrassments, and expect you will give me particular directions how to proceed, and also, whether I shall make new contracts with settlers, whose old ones are forfeited. They seem unwilling to rely on the generosity of the company, and want new writings.

I have the pleasure of your brother's company at this time. He held his first talk with the Smooth Nation, at Mr. CARTER'S this morning. Appearances are very promising. I flatter myself he will do no discredit to his elder brother, in his negotiations with the aborigines.

I am, dear sir, with much esteem, yours, &c.

TURHAND KIRTLAND

from MSS 1, WRHS

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