1804 Rufus Putnam Map of Ohio (one of the earliest separate maps of Ohio)

Map of the State of Ohio.

1804 Rufus Putnam Map of Ohio (one of the earliest separate maps of Ohio)


The earliest sepcific map of Ohio. Depicts the Connecticut Western Reserve, Virginia Military District, and lands of the Ohio Company.

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Map of the State of Ohio.
  1804 (dated)    18 x 13.5 in (45.72 x 34.29 cm)     1 : 1267200


This is an 1804 Rufus Putnam map of Ohio –the earliest specific map of the fledgling state. The map depicts the Ohio only a year after its statehood, covering from the Detroit District and Lake Erie to Kentucky and Virginia and from the 'Indian Boundary Line' to Virginia and Pennsylvania. A highly informative illustration of the state, Putnam combines and updates information from several sources to produce this map.

The lands of the Ohio Company, the Virginia Military District, and the Connecticut Western Reserve (Connecticut Reservation) are all labeled. Each of these different sections served its own purpose. The Ohio Company, a land company, purchased their lands from the federal government and is responsible for founding the first permanent United States settlement in the Northwest Territory at Marietta, along the Ohio River.

The Virginia Military District was land granted to Virginia after it ceded its claims in the region to the federal government to aid passage of the Articles of Confederation. This land was then used as payment for Virginia veterans of the American Revolutionary War.

The Connecticut Western Reserve was what remained of a land grant to the Colony of Connecticut by King Charles II. Following the American Revolutionary War, the grant was ceded to the federal government except for the Western Reserve, which Connecticut sold to the Connecticut Land Company. The Connecticut Land Company was created to encourage settlement in this part of Ohio. A references list is situated near the lower left quadrant, which explains the presence of the shaded boxes in the northwestern portion of the map. These boxes represent lands which had been ceded by Indian tribes to the United States in 1795. Several towns and villages, including Marietta, are labeled.

This map was surveyed by Rufus Putnam, engraved by Thomas Wightman and published by Thaddeus Mason Harris in his 1805 book The Journal of a Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany Mountains…. Although the volume that contained this map does appear on the market from time to time, the map itself is quite rare with an extremely scarce market presence.


Rufus Putnam (April 9, 1738 - May 4, 1824) was a colonial military officer during the French and Indian War, a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, an organizer of the Ohio Company, and the first Surveyor General of the United States. he is also known as the ‘Father of the Northwest Territory’.Putnam was born in Rutland, Massachusetts. His father died when he was 6 or 7, and was sent to live with his paternal grandfather in Danvers, Massachusetts until his mother remarried. After her marriage to John Sadler, Putnam lived with his mother and stepfather in Sutton, Massachusetts, where the family ran an inn. Putnam served with a Connecticut regiment from 1757-1760 during the French and Indian War and saw action in the Great Lakes region and near Lake Champlain. After the French and Indian War, Putnam moved to New Braintree, Massachusetts and worked as a millwright from 1761 until 1768. While working as a millwright, Putnam devoted his free time to educating himself, studying geography, mathematics, and surveying. He was married twice. His first marriage, in April 1761, to Elizabeth Ayers, ended in 1762 when Elizabeth died. He remarried in 1765 to Persis Rice. In 1769, Putnam became a farmer and surveyor. In 1773, Putnam traveled to the region near present-day Pensacola, Florida to survey and chart land along the Mississippi River, which the Crown intended to grant to French and Indian War veterans as payment for their service.

Putnam enlisted in a Massachusetts regiment on April 19, 1775, the day of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. He was later commissioned as a lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army and employed his knowledge as a millwright to construct fortifications. His fortifications are credited with aiding in victory at Roxbury, Massachusetts, Sewall’s Point, Providence, New Port, Dorchester Heights, Long Island, and West Point. He was appointed by General Washington as the Chief of Engineers of the Works of New York, but resigned his commission as a full colonel in December 1776 after the Continental Congress rejected his proposition to create a national corps of engineers. He reenlisted in the Northern Army and served under Major General Horatio Gates at Saratoga and continued work on crucial fortifications, including at Fort Putnam at West Point. He was commissioned as brigadier general in 1783.

After the war, Putnam returned to a farm he had purchased in 1780 (it happened to have been confiscated from a Loyalist). He became a strong advocate of granting lands to veterans of the Revolution, as there was pent-up desire for land among the youth of New England, since there was not much land available for purchase. This advocacy led Putnam to found The Ohio Company of Associates with three other men in Boston. Its purpose was to settle the Northwest Territory, which had been ceded to the U.S. by Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris (1783). The Northwest Territory roughly covered the land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Following the passage of the Northwest Ordinance, the Ohio Company bought about 1,000,000 acres north of the Ohio River between present-day Marietta, Ohio, and Huntington, West Virginia.

Putnam led a group of pioneers out into this territory in 1788 and on April 7, 1788 this group established Marietta, Ohio at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers. Marietta is the first permanent United States settlement in the Northwest Territory. Between 1792 and 1793, Putnam served as a brigadier general during the Ohio campaign against several native american tribes, as these tribes had not ceded their land to the United States before settlers arrived. The tribes ultimately were defeated. In 1796, Putnam was appointed as the first Surveyor General of the United States, which he held until 1803. He was also appointed as a trustee of Ohio University in 1804, a position he held until his death in 1824.

Thaddeus Mason Harris (July 7, 1768 - April 3, 1842) was a Harvard librarian, Unitarian minister and author. He was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts. After his father’s death while fighting on the colonial side in the American Revolutionary War, Harris was sent to live on a farm in Sterling, Massachusetts. Harris studied at Harvard University and graduated in 1787. Following his graduation, Harris spent a year as a school teacher in Worcester, Massachusetts, after which he was offered an appointment as secretary to George Washington. Unfortunately he contracted small-pox, and his lengthly recovery prevented him from taking the post. In 1791, Harris became the librarian at Harvard and was appointed as the minister of the First Unitarian Church on Meeting House Hill in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1793. In 1806, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was also a founding member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1812. He served as corresponding secretary for the Antiquarian Society from 1812-1831, and as secretary of foreign correspondence from 1831-1832.


Harris, T.M., The Journal of a Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany Mountains; Made in the Spring of the Year 1803. With a Geographical and Historical Account of the State of Ohio., (Boston: Manning and Loring) 1805.     The Journal of a Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany Mountains; Made in the Spring of the Year 1803. With a Geographical and Historical Account of the State of Ohio. by Thaddeus Mason Harris, published in 1805, presents a history of Harris’s journey to Marietta, Ohio. The first section of the book consists of Harris’s journal, which is divided into two sections: the trip to Marietta, and the return trip to Boston. The second section, entitled, ‘Geographical and Historical Account of the State of Ohio’, was compiled by Harris. It includes a discussion of the state’s boundaries, its climate, minerals, rivers, fish, counties and towns, exports, antiquities, ‘curiosities’, government and history. In the chapter discussing Ohio’s history, a lengthy discussion of the Ohio Company is included. The final section is an appendix, which includes information about navigating the Ohio River and reprinted versions of a number of documents concerning the early history of Ohio, including the 1785 Land Ordinance, the contract between the Ohio Company and the U.S. Government for the sale of millions of acres of land (1787), the Northwest Ordinance (1787), the Congressional act enabling the establishment of Ohio (1802) and the Ohio Constitution (1802).


Very good. Light wear along original fold lines. Light foxing. Blank on verso.
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