Northwest Territory Map
©2006 Illinois Genealogy Trails
Map courtesy of Wikipedia.org - http://en.wikipedia.org
The Northwest Territory, also known as the Old Northwest and the Territory North West of the Ohio, was a governmental region within the early United States.
Passed by the Continental Congress on July 13, 1787, the Northwest Ordinance provided for the administration of the territories and set rules for admission as a state. The Ordinance was affirmed by the U.S. Congress on August 7, 1789.
The territory included all the land of the United States west of Pennsylvania and northwest of the Ohio River. It covered all of the modern states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as the northeastern part of Minnesota. The area covered more than 260,000 square miles.
Arthur St. Clair was the Territory's only governor. The original supreme court was made up of John Cleves Symmes, James Mitchell Varnum, and Samuel Holden Parsons. There were three Secretaries: Winthrop Sargent (July 9, 1788-May 31, 1798); William Henry Harrison (June 29, 1798-December 31, 1799); and Charles Willing Byrd (January 1, 1800- January 15, 1803).
When the territory was created, it was inhabited by about 45,000 Native Americans and 2,000 traders, mostly French and British. Officially, American settlement began at Marietta, Ohio on April 7, 1788. Arthur St. Clair formally established the government on July 15, 1788 at Marietta. His original plan called for the organization of five initial counties:
Washington (Ohio east of the Scioto River),
Hamilton (Ohio between the Scioto and the Miami Rivers),
Knox (Indiana and eastern Illinois),
St. Clair (Illinois and Wisconsin),
On July 4, 1800, the Indiana Territory was carved out, reducing the Northwest Territory to the size of Ohio, to prepare for statehood. The Northwest Territory went out of existence when Ohio was admitted as a state on March 1, 1803.