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Pioneers of the Northwest Territory (Ohio), 1738

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The first group of these early American pioneers to the Northwest Territory is sometimes referred to as “the forty-eight” or the “first forty-eight”, and also as the “founders of Ohio”. These first forty-eight men were carefully chosen and vetted by several of the co-founders of the Ohio Company of Associates, Rufus Putnam and Manasseh Cutler, to ensure not only men of high character and bravery, but also men with proven skills necessary to build a settlement in the wilderness

During 1852 the president of the Ohio Historical Society described these pioneers:

“So various and eventful lives as theirs have scarcely ever fallen to the lot of man. They were born under a monarchy,—fought the battle of Independence,—assisted in the baptism of a great republic,—then moved into a wilderness,—and laid the foundations of a State,—itself almost equaling an empire. These men not only lived in remarkable times, but were themselves remarkable men. Energetic, industrious, persevering, honest, bold, and free — they were limited in their achievements only by the limits of possibility. Successful alike in field and forest,—they have, at length, gone to their rest,—leaving names which are a part of the fame and the history of their country”.

On the centennial anniversary of the Marietta settlement, Senator George F. Hoar of Massachusetts orated,

“It was an illustrious band; they were men of exceptional character, talents and attainments; they were the best of New England culture; they were Revolutionary heroes”.

The first forty-eight pioneers included the following men. (Sources: Hulbert, Proceedings of the Ohio Company, Volume I; Hildreth, Pioneer History.) This group of pioneers arrived on April 7, 1788, except for Col. Meigs, who arrived several days later on April 12, 1788 (Source: Hildreth, Pioneer History) and Anselm Tupper, who arrived on April 25, according to Rufus Putnam's journal.

  1. General Rufus Putnam, superintendent of the settlement, co-founder of the Ohio Company of Associates
  2. Colonel Return J. Meigs, Sr., surveyor
  3. Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, surveyor (married to daughter of Commodore Abraham Whipple)
  4. Anselm Tupper, surveyor (son of General Benjamin Tupper)
  5. John Mathews, surveyor
  6. Major Haffield White, quartermaster
  7. Captain Ezekiel Cooper
  8. Captain Daniel Davis
  9. Captain Jonathan Devoll (Devol)
  10. Captain Peregrine Foster
  11. William Gray
  12. Josiah Munroe (Munro)
  13. Captain Jethro Putnam
  14. Jabez Barlow
  15. Daniel Bushnell
  16. Phineas Coburn
  17. Ebenezer Corey (Cory)
  18. Samuel Cushing
  19. (Jervis) Cutler (son of Manasseh Cutler)
  20. Israel Danton
  21. Jonas Davis
  22. Allen Devoll
  23. Gilbert Devoll, Jr.
  24. Isaac Dodge
  25. Oliver Dodge
  26. Samuel Felshaw
  27. Hezekiah Flint
  28. Hezekiah Flint, Jr.
  29. John Gardner
  30. Benjamin Griswold
  31. Elizur (Elisur) Kirtland
  32. Theophilus Leonard (Learned)
  33. Joseph Lincoln
  34. Simeon Martin
  35. Henry Maxon
  36. William Maxom (Mason)
  37. William Miller
  38. William Moulton, goldsmith and silversmith
  39. Edmond (Edmund) Moulton
  40. Amos Porter, Jr.
  41. Allen Putnam
  42. Benjamin Shaw
  43. Earl Sproat
  44. David Wallace (Wallis)
  45. Joseph Wells
  46. Josiah White
  47. Peletiah White
  48. Josiah Whitridge