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Ohio Company of Virginia


OHIO COMPANY OF VIRGINIA, a partnership of Virginia gentlemen, a Maryland frontiersman, and a London merchant organized in 1747 to engage in land speculation and trade with the Indians in the territory claimed by Virginia west of the Appalachian Mountains. Early in 1749 the governor of Virginia granted the company's petition for a grant of 500,000 acres of land in the upper Ohio Valley. The company sent Christopher Gist on exploring expeditions in 1750 and 1751. After Indians were induced to permit settlement south of the Ohio River at the Treaty of Logstown (1752), a road was opened across the mountains and in 1753, Gist and a number of others settled in what is now Fayette County, Pennsylvania. In the same year the company built a storehouse on the Monongahela River at the site of Brownsville, Pennsylvania. Early in 1754, it began building Fort Prince George at the Forks of the Ohio. The capture of this uncompleted fort by the French in 1754, and the war that ensued, forced the settlers to withdraw. The company's ambition to resume settlement after the fall of Fort Duquesne was frustrated by the prohibition of settlement west of the mountains. The company lost its grant in 1770, and exchanged its claims for two shares in the Vandalia Colony. The Ohio Company revealed the intention of England, and also of Virginia, to expand across the mountains into the Ohio Valley; and its activities played a part in bringing on the final contest between the French and the English for control of the interior.


Bailey, Kenneth P. The Ohio Company of Virginia. Glendale, Calif.: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1939.

Hinderaker, Eric. Elusive Empires: Constructing Colonialism in the Ohio Valley, 1673–1800. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

McConnell, Michael N. A Country Between: The Upper Ohio Valley and Its Peoples, 1724–1774. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.

Solon J.Buck/a. r.

See alsoColonial Charters ; Colonial Settlements ; Duquesne, Fort ; French and Indian War ; Land Companies ; Land Grants ; Land Speculation ; Proclamation of 1763 ; Trading Companies ; Trans-Appalachian West .

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