Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 1.djvu/104

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60 HISTORY

State of New York. By another treaty made with other western tribes, a large portion of Ohio was relinquished and opened to settlement by whites.

On the 20th of May, 1785, Congress passed an act providing for the survey of public lands. These lands were divided into townships six miles square, the ranges of townships to be numbered from the Pennsylvania boundary west, and the townships themselves to be numbered north from a point on the Ohio River due north of the western termination of the southern boundary of Pennsylvania. The townships were divided into thirty-six sections each one mile square. This was the origin of our excellent system of surveying, dividing and describing of public lands. Some changes have been made by subsequent legislation, but the system remains substantially as it was originated at that time.*

After the surveys were made and recorded, the lands within certain limits were offered for sale at not less than one dollar and a quarter per acre. It was a part of the plan of Congress at the session of 1784 to have the Northwest Territory divided by parallels of latitude and meridian lines into ten States. They were to be named, beginning at the northwest corner and going south: Sylvania, Michigania, Chersonisus, Assenispia, Metropotamia, Illinoia, Saratoga, Washington, Plypotamia and Pelisipia.† Fortunately the people of the future great States of that region were spared the infliction of such inappropriate names as were some of these.

On the 7th of July, 1786, the subject was again considered by Congress, and a joint resolution adopted providing that not less than three, nor more than five States, should be organized out of the territory. On the 13th day of July, 1787, Congress passed an act known as the “Ordinance of 1787,” by which all of the country lying north and west of the Ohio River and east of the Missis-


* Colonel James Mansfield, then Surveyor-General of the Northwestern Territory, was the author of this system.
† Sparks' “Life of Washington.”