Symmes Purchase

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Hand Drawn Map of Symmes,1768-1799
Map of Ohio showing the Symmes Purchase.
six mile square divided into 36 mile square sections numbered starting one in the southeast corner and proceeding northward to six in the northeast, then seven west of one to twelve west of six, and so on to thirty six in the northwest corner
Plan for numbering sections of a township adopted May 20, 1785

The Symmes Purchase, also known as the Miami Purchase, was an area of land in Southwestern Ohio in what is now Hamilton, Butler, and Warren Counties. It was purchased by Judge John Cleves Symmes of New Jersey from the Continental Congress. In the 1780s, Benjamin Stites, a friend of Symmes, was visiting Limestone (now Maysville, Kentucky), and lost some of his horses to theft by Indians. Pursuing them through the wilderness of southwestern Ohio, he travelled as far north as Xenia, witnessing the fertility of the country in the process. He was so impressed with the region that he informed Symmes of its prospects upon his return, and Symmes gathered a syndicate, known as the Miami Company, to buy the land.

The tract is bordered on the south by the Ohio River, on the west by the Great Miami River, and on the east by the Little Miami River. The northern boundary runs through Butler and Warren Counties about twenty-five miles north of the Ohio River. Sections of Todhunter and Garver Roads in Monroe, Monroe Road in Lebanon, and Oregonia Road in Turtlecreek Township run along the boundary.

Unfortunately, Symmes' men committed many errors while performing the survey, including using magnetic north rather than correcting for true north. Further, Symmes sold much land that he did not own, some as far north as Dayton, meaning some early settlers found themselves squatters on the public domain. Symmes also sold some land that he did own more than once.

The Symmes Purchase survey is the only one in the United States where the ranges run from north to south and the townships from east to west. The section numbering is in accordance with the Land Ordinance of 1785. The survey here also was done to magnetic north rather than true north. Deeds in this area will refer to the Between the Miami Rivers Survey, M.Rs. and M.R.S. (M.R.S. is also used to describe the "Miami River Survey" a survey west of the Great Miami River.

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Coordinates: 39°15′N 84°30′W / 39.250°N 84.500°W / 39.250; -84.500