Following the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, a major concern was the expansion westward of our fledgling nation. The mission of the U.S. General Land Office was vital to the settlement of areas such as the State of Ohio, which was admitted to The Union in 1803. President James Madison kept up with his duties right up to the end of his second term as Chief Executive, signing the offered land grant a few weeks before he left office. The parcel of land in question is located in the Cincinnati area. This southwestern Ohio locale was incorporated as a village in 1803 and as a city in 1819. At the time this document was signed, the area just west of Ohio was often the scene of conflict over land, putting this document right at the frontier of American expansion at the time.
Well suited for framing, this 13-1/2 x 8-1/4” parchment land grant ceded to Joseph Kelly of Butler County, on 2/22/1817 a parcel of land described as “Cincinnati...north west of the Ohio, and above the mouth of the Kentucky river”, which would place it somewhere in the southwestern portion of the state of Ohio near the then much contested frontier region referred to at the time as the Indiana Territory. Belying its age of two hundred years, this crisp and sturdy sheet displays in appealing condition with bold printed text, though the written segments are slightly faded. Several original period compacting folds do not make contact with the signatures of sitting President James Madison (“6”, d.1836) and Commissioner of the Land Grant Office Josiah Meigs (“5”, d.1822). Another important item of provenance, the raised seal of the United States General Land Office, is affixed at bottom left. The reverse is written with lengthy notations recorded in 1848 in regards to a taxation issue. Full photo LOA from JSA.