Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan

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BAYNTON, WHARTON, AND MORGAN was a Philadelphia mercantile firm that virtually monopolized the Western trade at the close of the French and Indian War. Through contacts in North America and London, these merchants exploited the West in one of the most significant commercial enterprises of the day. Before the legal opening of Indian trade, the firm sent the first cargo of goods westward (1765). This premature attempt to capture Indian trade provoked protests from frontier settlers, but the firm soon had 600 pack horses and wagons on the road between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and some 300 boatmen on the Ohio River.

The firm's fortunes declined during 1767, due to its unscrupulous business methods, British restrictions on colonial contact with Indians, French interference with Anglo-Indian trade, and competition from other firms. The company soon entered into voluntary receivership and joined with another firm—Simon, Trent, Levy, and Franks—to organize the Indiana Company to secure land grants for losses incurred through Indian attacks. Sir William Johnson negotiated a treaty for this company at Fort Stanwix in 1768 in which the Six Nations ceded 2.5 million acres of land. Immediate objections arose, the crown withheld confirmation, and representatives of the firm went to London to negotiate for the Indiana Company. Here competing claims of other groups brought about the formation of the Grand Ohio Company, or Walpole Company, in which the Indiana land grant was merged in 1769. The outbreak of the Revolution led to this project's collapse, and the firm withdrew completely from the Illinois trading venture in 1772.


Cayton, Andrew R. L. Frontier Indiana. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.

Merrell, James H. Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier. New York: Norton, 1999.

Sosin, Jack M. Agents and Merchants. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965.

Julian P.Boyd/s. b.

See alsoColonial Commerce ; Fur Trade and Trapping ; Indian Land Cessions ; Indiana Company ; Trading Companies ; Vandalia Colony .