West Virginia, the Mountain State

By Charles H. Ambler; Festus P. Summers | Go to book overview
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Chapter VII
Indiana and Vandalia


FROM BEGINNING TO END of the English explorations and settlements in the Trans-Allegheny, land jobbing and colony building consumed much time and energy of promoters. Among their proposals were "Indiana" and "Vandalia," whose annals constitute an interesting and informing, if not always creditable, chapter in American history. The Indiana project had a bearing upon the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. It was also a factor in making the Federal Constitution and in its subsequent amendment. Vandalia was a grandiose and somewhat unique colonizing experiment involving large stakes and many personal and sectional loyalties and interests.1


Despite the efforts then being made to establish the Indian trade on a permanent and profitable basis in the Ohio Valley to the exclusion of permanent settlements, and in keeping with the King's Proclamation of 1763 for that and other purposes, persons supposedly interested in trade only, notably George Croghan and William Trent, were however planning to establish a colony north of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi rivers in the region of the Illinois country. After enlarging the circle of their trader associates so as to include among others the firm of Baynton, Wharton and Morgan of Philadelphia, these promoters petitioned the King for

See Thomas P. Abernethy, Western Lands and the American Revolution ( New York, 1937); Max Saville, George Morgan, Colony Builder ( New York, 1932); Alvord, Mississippi Valley; Volwiler, Croghan; Bailey, Ohio Company; and Charles A. Hanna, Wilderness Trail, 2 vols. ( New York, 1911).


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