Thomas Jefferson Papers

II. Bounds of Six Proposed Northwest Colonies, 1 January–1 March 1784

II. Bounds of Six Proposed Northwest Colonies

  • Virginia to be bounded Westerly by the Ohio, Kanhaway, Kentucky and a meridian line from the most Southern spring of the Kentucky to the Carolina line.
  • N. Carolina by the Catawba and Kanhaway rivers and a line joining their nearest sources.
  • S. Carolina by the Cavetta river, the nearest water of the Hogohegee and a line joining them.
  • Georgia by the Cavetta and Flint rivers.

    New Colonies

  • A. Kentucky1 on the East, Ohio North, Meridian of the mouth of Myamis river2 West, Hogohegee South.
  • B. By A. East, Ohio North, Hogohegee West and South.
  • C. Pennsylva. and Ohio East, Lake Erie North, Wabash West, and S. West3 by a line running from mouth of Elk’s eye somewhat North Westerly.
  • D. South Ohio, North East by C. West the Wabash.
  • E. The Wabash on the East, North the Ilinois river, South West a line from mouth of Pimitouy river to mouth of Wabash.
  • F. North East by E. South by Ohio, West by Missisipi, North by the Ilinois river.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 234: 41926); entirely in TJ’s hand, with deletions and interlineations that are indicated in notes below. Accompanying this is another fragment in TJ’s hand (DLC: TJ Papers, 234: 41927) giving the bounds of what may be another “colony” south of the Ohio that perhaps was drawn up around 1783–1784. These bounds coincide almost precisely with those of the colony of Transylvania of 1775 (see Vol. 1: 64–110), but since the fragment in TJ’s hand contains deletions and interlineations as indicated, it is more likely that this may represent some idea he entertained early in 1784 concerning the possible bounds of Kentucky (see Virginia delegates to Harrison, 20 Feb. 1784): “Bounded on N.W. by Ohio. On N. E. by Louisa or Cantucky river to Donaldson’s line to head spring of it. On E. by Donaldson’s line a line from head of Cantucky to top of Powell’s mountain. On S.E. and S. by Cumberland river and all it’s branches. Then Westerly along top of Powell’s mountain until a North West course will hit head spring of Cumberland river. Then by Cumberland river.” The Kentucky river was also known as the Louisa; see reproduction of John Stuart’s map of Vandalia in Abernethy, Western Lands, p. 54–5.

1This must be an error. TJ may have intended to write “Kanawha,” for the Kentucky lies westward of all of the three rivers designated on maps available to TJ as “Great Miami,” “Little Miami,” or “Miami of the Lake” (also, “Myamis” or, as in Evans and Pownall, “Mineami”; e.g., Kitchin, Map of the United States, 1783). On the assumption that Kanawha was intended, the district “A” becomes approximately the general size of other districts contemplated; the accompanying map (Map II) is drawn on the basis of this assumption. See following note.

2These two words interlined in substitution for “Little Canhaway,” deleted. The sentence as originally written apparently read: “Kentucky on the East, Ohio North, Meridian of the <great> mouth of Little Canhaway West, Hogohegee South.” This also provides boundaries that do not enclose anything, and suggests that TJ made an error in writing “Kentucky on the East” instead of “Kentucky on the West.” This is plausible, since it seems obvious that in deleting “great” TJ must have been thinking of the meridian he later established in the report—the meridian of the mouth of the Great Kanawha. If this is a correct assumption, TJ may then have decided to establish the meridian of the mouth of Miami river as the western boundary and made the appropriate change, but failed to change “Kentucky” to “Kanhawha.”

3“S. West” interlined in substitution for “N. East,” deleted.

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