Source:Ohio Company Papers, 1736-1813. Ohio Company Papers, 1736-1813, DAR.1925.02

Source Ohio Company Papers, 1736-1813, DAR.1925.02
Darlington Collection, Special Collections Department,
Author Finding aid prepared by Kate Colligan, Angela Manella, and Matt Gorzalski.
Place Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States
Surname Craik, James, 1730-1814, Crawford, William, 1730-1814, Crawford, William, 1732-1782, Cresap, Thomas, 1702-1790, Croghan, George, 1720-1782, Gist, Christopher, D 1759, Gooch, William, Sir, 1681-1751, Mason, George, 1725-1792, Mercer, George, 1733-1784, Mercer, James, Mercer, John, 1704-1768, Stephen, Adam
Publication information
Type Miscellaneous
Publisher University of Pittsburgh
Date issued January 2009
Place issued ULS Archives Service Center University of Pittsburgh Library System
Finding aid prepared by Kate Colligan, Angela Manella, and Matt Gorzalski. Ohio Company Papers, 1736-1813, DAR.1925.02: Darlington Collection, Special Collections Department, . (ULS Archives Service Center University of Pittsburgh Library System: University of Pittsburgh, January 2009).

Collection Inventory Arrangement

  • Series I. Case of the Ohio Company, 1752-1762
The Case of the Ohio Company was originally prepared by George Mercer in October 1760 for the Committee of the Ohio Company. The Case was meant to document the company’s activities to demonstrate that it had developed and fortified trading routes in the Ohio territory in compliance with its 1748 land grant. The Case includes the journals of Christopher Gist (1706-1759), an agent of the company hired to explore the Crown’s land grant. In 1750, he explored the Ohio territory from the site of a Lenape (Delaware) village at the headwaters of the Ohio to the confluence of the Miami and Ohio rivers. The Case also includes the negotiations at Loggstown in 1752 between Colonel Joshua Fry representing the Colony of Virginia, Gist as an agent of the Ohio Company, and tribal leaders. The Gist journals and Council at Loggstown documents provide a unique record of early interactions with Native Americans during this period of British expansion that precipitated the French and Indian War. Unbracketed page numbers have been assigned by the archival processor, with the exception of The Appendix to the Case, in which manuscript pages were numbered by the author.
  • Series II. John Mercer, James Mercer and George Mercer, 1759-1813
John Mercer (1704-1768), and his son George Mercer (1733-1784), were both among the founding members of the Ohio Company. John Mercer arrived in Virginia from his native Ireland in 1720 where he worked as a prosecutor and attorney; George Washington was among his clients. George Mercer served in the 1st and 2nd Virginia Regiments, and in the Virginia General Assembly. He was appointed agent of the Ohio Company to represent the organization's interests in England, where he resided until his death.
Materials in this subseries relate to George Mercer’s responsibilities as an agent of the Ohio Company. Included is a circular sent by James Mercer on behalf of his brother, George, who wished some word from the members of the Ohio Company on his action of committing the Ohio Company to the Grand Company. Accompanying the circular are replies from George Mason, James Scott, Thomas Ludwell Lee, Pearson Chapman, and Richard Lee. A 1772 circular informs Mercer that the King approved the grant for the Grand Company to Thomas Walpole and his associates, and conveys that a government should be established in the region. Wadpole’s 1777 account with the Ohio Company is also present.
Correspondence and legal materials document the blended nature of personal and company transactions. A 1759 conveyance by John Mercer and his wife, Ann, transfers ownership of Ohio Company lands in Virginia to George and James Mercer. Conway Richard Debbs’ letter inquires about his father’s share of the Ohio Company.
  • Series III. George Mason, 1750-1785
George Mason (1725-1792) was born to a Virginia planting family. His involvement in colonial politics, as well as his family connections, brought him into contact with other founders of the Ohio Company. As the company’s agent in Virginia, Mason worked with Virginia officials to secure the company’s holdings in the Ohio Company. The materials in this series document various personal debts to the Ohio Company handled by Mason in Fairfax County, Virginia, in the early 1750s.
Peter Tostee’s connection to the Ohio Company is twofold; he held an account with the company through Mason, and was given power of attorney by George Croghan (see the Darlington Autograph Files,dar192507).
  • Series IV. George Croghan, 1745-1778
George Croghan (ca. 1720-1782) was the Ohio Company’s lead trader in Pennsylvania. Born in Ireland, he moved to the colonies in 1741 and traded with the Iroquois, from whom he claimed to have purchased 200,000 acres in 1764. Manuscripts in this series include accounts for household goods, debt notes, and documentation of land sales. Of particular interest are two copies of a 1749 advertisement for a fugitive bonded servant. See the Darlington Autograph Files (dar192507) and the Fort Pitt Wastebook (dar192503) for manuscripts related to Croghan’s trade in the Ohio country.
  • Series V. Thomas Cresap, 1739-1770
Colonel Thomas Cresap (1702-1790) was a landowner and trader who settled in Maryland. In later life, he became embroiled in land disputes along the Pennsylvania border. Cresap traded goods for the Ohio Company, and materials in this series include accounts and debts for dry goods. See the Darlington Autograph Files (dar192507) for an additional manuscript relating to Cresap.
  • Series VI. Adam Stephen, 1751-1791
Adam Stephen (ca.1721-1791) was born in Scotland, and educated as a surgeon. He served as a physician with the British Navy in Jamaica before traveling to Virginia in 1748 where he worked as a doctor and planter. He temporarily commanded the Virginia militia in the French and Indian War, and attained the rank of brigadier general in the Continental Army before his dismissal in 1777. It is unclear if Stephen was a member or a client of the Ohio Company. The series includes documentation of Adam Stephen’s debts to others and materials related to his work as physician.
  • Series VII. William Crawford, 1757-1789
William Crawford (1732-1782) was a soldier and surveyor who mentored under George Washington. Crawford served on the frontier at Fort Pitt, and later commanded the ill-fated Crawford Expedition into the Ohio territory, after which he was executed following his capture by the Delaware. William and his brother, Valentine Crawford, were members of the Ohio Company.
  • Series VIII. General Debt Notes and Correspondence, 1736-1793
This series contains manuscripts documenting debts peripherally related to the Ohio Company’s trade in goods and role as money lender. Notable persons represented include James Craik (1730-1814), a close friend and personal physician to George Washington, and James Wood (1707-1759), father of James Wood, Jr., Governor of Virginia. Also present are field notes on the Charlottesburg Survey. In one of the few letters in this series, John Stuart mentions uneasiness with the Cherokees to Lord Botetourt, the colonial Governor of Virginia.
  • Series IX. Copies of Papers Relating to The Ohio Land Company of Virginia from the Records of the Board of Trade in :London, 1747-1749
This volume contains manuscript copies of correspondence between 1747 and 1749, copied from the Records of the Board of Trade, involving the colonial Governor of Virginia Sir William Gooch, the Board of Trade in London, and others. William Darlington commissioned this copy in January of 1870. The letters in this volume discuss the creation, justification for, and financing of the Ohio Company. They reflect the urgency of the British to colonize the Ohio territory before the French in order to increase trade with American Indians, and to obtain access to valuable natural resources. The majority of the letters are accompanied with a scope note on either the page following the letter or the page directly before the letter, written by the copyist.
  • Processing Information:
This collection was processed by Angela Manella and Kate Colligan in December 2007. Revision of the finding aid with the addition of Series IX was completed by Matt Gorzalski in July 2008.
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