July 2, 1744 | Treaty Treaty of Lancaster Leaders of the Six Nations sign a treaty ceding territory in the colony of Virginia to King George II. Rather than including the entire body of the treaty, the text on this site has been limited to those decisions which affected Virginia's boundaries
March 7, 1750–July 13, 1750 | Journal Thomas Walker's Journal (1750) In March 1750 (1749 under the Julian Calendar), Thomas Walker and several companions set off through western Virginia into modern-day Kentucky. His journal documents some of the earliest Euro-American impressions of the Cumberland region.
February 27, 1752 | Statute An Act for encouraging persons to settle on the waters of the Mississippi. Justified as a "means of cultivating a good correspondence with the neighbouring Indians," the provisions of this act encouraged "natural born subjects" and "foreign protestants" to settle along the waters of the Mississippi. Settlements possessed security value since they served as a means of projecting the colony's strength along the frontier. The act exempted settlers on the western slope of the Appalachian Mountains from payment of all public levies for ten years.
April 28, 1752 | Treaty Instructions for the Treaty of Logstown Instructions given Christopher Gist, Gentleman, by the Ohio company, April 28, 1752. Christopher Gist served as representative for the Ohio Company of Associates at the Logstown treaty meeting in the colony of Pennsylvania held in May 1752. Gist's instructions directed him to inform the several tribes of Indians expected at the meeting, including the Six Nations, the extensive grant of land on the Ohio to the Ohio Company for establishing colonial settlements and increase of trade in the region. The point of the meeting was to create a stable frontier environment for extension of commerce and settlement along the Ohio. For Gist's part, he was to emphasize the benefits to the Indians of expanded trade and increased white settlement.
June 13, 1752 | Treaty The Treaty of Logstown Joshua Fry, Lunsford Lomax, and James Patton journeyed to Logstown on the Ohio River to treat with the Indians of the Six Nations. After a delay of nearly a week in which the commissioners waited for the arrival of a leading Sachem of the Six Nations, Thonariss -- called Half King by the English -- the assembly began its discussions. The wide-ranging dialogue covered the topics outlined in their instructions from Lt. Governor Dinwiddie. In the end, the Sachems of the Six Nations recognized the British land claims established by the 1744 Treaty of Lancaster. The exchanges included in this excerpt of the treaty negotiations provide insight into the complex relationship between British, Indian, and French interests in the Ohio Valley.
February 14, 1754 | Statute An Act for encouraging persons to settle on the waters of the Mississippi. Demonstrating commitment to western settlement, the Virginia Assembly sets levies and duties to offset the costs of protecting the western edges of Augusta County from the depredations of the French and their Native American allies.
February 19, 1754 | Statute Proclimation [sic] of 1754 In response to the perceived threat of French incursions into the Ohio valley, Governor Dinwiddie issued this proclamation offering bounty lands to "all who should voluntarily enter into ... service" for the establishment of a fort on the Ohio where it met the Mohongahela. The bounty lands included two hundred thousand acres near the fort and along the river. Each enlistee would receive land "in a proportion due to their respective merit."
January 1, 1755 | Treaty Instructions for Peter Randolph and William Byrd to treat with the Catawbas and Cherokees on behalf of the colony of Virginia. In the early stages of the war with France in North American Lt. Governor Robert Dinwiddie sent William Byrd and Peter Randolph to treat with the Cherokee and Catawba Indians to pursue an alliance with them against the French. Dinwiddie instructed the two representatives to expound the "Grandeur and Munificence" of George II and vilify France's "restless . . . thirst of Dominion" in America. He also directed his emissaries to warn the Cherokee and Catawbas against being deceived by French efforts to turn them against the English. Dinwiddie expressed a particular interest in determining if other Indian tribes might be brought into alliance with the English.
May 28, 1755 | Statute An act for the encouragement and protection of the settlers upon the waters of the Mississippi, particularly in relation to taxation and duties. This law deals mainly with taxation but also continues a previous act for the encouragement of settlements "upon the waters of the Mississippi." That act limited the tax liablility of settlers along the Mississippi in order to speed settlement of that part of Albemarle county that extended farther west.
August 29, 1755 | Statute An act preventing and repelling the hostile incursions of the Indians, at enmity with the inhabitants of this colony. The law addresses ongoing violence between Virginians and native groups "supposed to be in the interest of the French." Bounty is offered to Virginians for the capture and killing of any enemy male over the age of twelve. To safeguard relationships with allies, the Assembly decrees that anyone who "knowingly and wilfully" kills any Native male "in alliance, peace and friendship with his majesty and his subjects in this colony" will be prosecuted as a felon.
October 29, 1755 | Statute An act for preventing and repelling the hostile incursions of the Indians, at enmity with the inhabitants of this colony. The law of August 29, 1755, which offered bounty for the "killing or destruction" of French-allied Native American males is expanded to offer like rewards to Virginia's Native American allies.
April 30, 1757 | Statute An Act for the more effectual preventing and repelling the hostile incursions of the Indians at enmity with the inhabitants of this colony. Further suggestions for the suppression of Native American violence through the offer of bounties. In order to maintain peaceful relationships with Indian allies, Virginians who kill or seize allied Native Americans will be prosecuted as felons.
November 12, 1758 | Statute An Act, to encourage Settlements on the Southern Boundary of this Colony. Virginia's colonial government exempted from taxation for ten years those who settled "upon Roanoke river" above the mouth of "little Roanoke, otherwise called Licking Hole." The exemption lasted ten years.
October 7, 1763 | Treaty Proclamation of 1763. In the aftermath of the French and Indian War, the British crown issued this proclamation, which severely limited colonists' access to land west of an imaginary line running down the crest of the Appalachain Mountains. With this attempt to reorganize British control in North America and maintain orderly relations with Native peoples, George III further alienated colonists who saw western expansion as an inevitable process. Many provisions in the Proclamation remained intact until 1776, although incursions by colonists into land west of the Proclamation Line were common.
October 5, 1765 | Statute An act for establishing a trade with the Indian allies of his majesty, and to amend another act directing the trustees of the Indian Factory of Virginia. In an effort to regulate and control trade with Cherokee allies, conditions for trade are laid out in detail. The trustees of the Indian Factory are instructed to limit the types of goods sold and the manner in which they deal with established allies and new consumers.
November 7, 1766 | Statute An act for opening a road through the frontiers of this colony to Fort Pitt on the Ohio. For improving commerce with the Indians of the Ohio valley and to facilitate supplying British garrisons along the frontier, the General Assembly authorized Thomas Walker and other gentlemen to "lay out" and "direct" the clearing of a road from the north branch of the Potomac River to Fort Pitt. The act mandated that the road run near Braddock Road.
October 14, 1768 | Treaty Treaty of Hard Labor Created subsequent to the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, clarifying the newly agreed to boundary line required additional treating with the Cherokee in the south. The meeting took place at Hard Labor, South Carolina where the participants recognized the cession of certain lands of the Cherokee to the colonies of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. According to the terms, the king's "white subjects" would be bound by the agreement not to move into the lands designated as belonging to the Cherokee, and the Cherokee were similarly constrained from settling on land acknowledged as belonging to the English colonies. This document described in detail the boundary and also recognized arrangements constructed in earlier agreements, specifically the Treaty of Augusta [Georgia] of 1763. Encroachments by settlers and retaliatory acts of violence conducted by Indians inflamed the frontier and necessitated further boundary negotiations.
November 5, 1768 | Treaty Treaty of Fort Stanwix After expressing their "apprehension" regarding the failure of colonists to strictly observe the 1765 boundary line between Indian Territory and the British colonies, continued negotiations produced this treaty. It describes in detail the line between the Six Nations, tribes of the Ohio, various dependent tribes, and the thirteen seaboard colonies. The agreement effectively closed off legitimate settlement of the Ohio Valley. However, it was ignored by many colonists who migrated west and squatted illegally on Indian lands. The inability of colonial authorities to effectively prevent these illegal settlements west of the boundary aggravated the situation between the various tribes of the region and white settlers along the frontier.
December 16, 1768 | Treaty Objections to the Treaty of Hard Labor Commissioners from Virginia object to the boundary line established with the Treaty of Hard Labor and vow to pursue the matter.
November 10, 1769 | Statute An act for appointing Commissioners to meet with Commissioners, who are or may be appointed by the Legislatures of the Neighbouring Colonies, to form and agree upon a general plan for regulation of the Indian trade. With regulation of Indian trade given over to the colonies, Virginia appoints her commissioners.
November 10, 1769 | Statute An act for the better support of the contingent charges of government. Section 1 of this law committed 2,000 pounds sterling for surveying the boundary between Virginia and Cherokee territory.
October 18, 1770 | Treaty Treaty of Lochaber Continued consternation over the exact location of boundary between the Cherokee nation and Virginia led to this 1770 settlement of the line. At issue was a contested swath of land that had been ceded to the Indians at Hard Labor. The new agreement adjusted the border to give lands east of a line running from the Holston River to the convergence of the Great Canaway (Great Kanawha) and Ohio Rivers to the British province of Virginia.
August 26, 1776 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Edmund Pendleton, August 26, 1776 Thomas Jefferson writes to Pendleton of his hopes for the new nation and practical plans for the election of the Senate and the establishment of boundaries. Thomas Jefferson also writes of battles in the early days of the American Revolution.
October 1, 1776 | Statute An act for dividing the county of Fincastle into three distinct counties, and the parish of Botetourt into four distinct parishes. As more settlers moved into Fincastle County, the demand for local institutions - courts, justices of the peace, etc. - grew. The General Assembly divided Fincastle into the counties of Kentucky, Washington, and Montgomery. This act defined the boundaries of the three counties, established courts, identified county seats, and recognized justices of the peace.
July 20, 1777 | Treaty Avery's Treaty/Treaty of Holston This treaty between North Carolina and the Cherokee is referred to frequently in Daniel Smith's Journal as the Virginia and Carolina Commissioners work with the Cherokee to establish boundary lines.
October 3, 1778 | Statute An act for establishing the county of Illinois, and for the more effectual protection and defense thereof. This act recognized the successful effort by George Rogers Clark and his expedition to secure the western side of the Ohio for Virginia. The commonwealth incorporated the existing inhabitants into the commonwealth through oaths of fidelity and then extended institutions of governance by establishing the county of Illinois. The act provided for election of civil officials and the raising of a five hundred man force for the defense of the county.
May 3, 1779 | Statute An act concerning officers, soldiers, sailors, and marines. This act guaranteed bounties of land and money to officers, soldiers, sailors, and marines who enlisted, or re-enlisted in some circumstances, in the forces of the commonwealth or the continental army. The bounties included $750 and "a grant of one hundred acres of any unappropriated land within" the commonwealth of Virginia for soldiers and for officers a "like quantity of lands as is allowed to officers of the same rank in the Virginia regiments on continental establishment." Other provisions of the act included tax exemption during time of service, pensions for soldiers' widows, prices for essentials through commissaries, and a grant of two hundred acres for volunteers under the command of George Rogers Clarke in defense of "the Illinois Country." Additional bounties of one hundred acres of land and $750 for special solicitations for troops to defend Illinois county and "four troops of horse" for the defense of Virginia's "eastern quarter."
May 3, 1779 | Statute An act for declaring and asserting the rights of this commonwealth, concerning purchasing lands from Indian natives. Virginia's revolutionary government claimed an "exclusive right of preemption" over all lands within the bounds of its "chartered territory," including the lands north and west of the Ohio River. Moreover, the act made null and void every land transaction between individuals and the various tribes of Indians, or grants from English crown to any individual within the commonwealth, transferring control of all such lands into the hands of the commonwealth.
May 3, 1779 | Statute An act for establishing a Land office, and ascertaining the terms and manner of granting waste and unappropriated lands. Concerned about the disposal of "waste and unappropriated lands," the General Assembly created a land office to deal with the sale and distribution of these lands. The lands would be used to encourage immigration, increasing public revenue, and paying off the commonwealth's debt. The office's administrative role would be essential to managing records of land patents, grants, veterans' land warrants, and purchases of waste and unappropriated lands sold at forty pounds per hundred acres. Managing Virginias lands, and later the public lands of the United States, was a central concern throughout the dcades of the early republic.
August 14, 1779–August 7, 1780 | Journal Daniel Smith's Journal (1779-1780) In 1779, with other surveyors and adventurers from Virginia and North Carolina, Daniel Smith and Thomas Walker set out to extend the Virginia-North Carolina boundary line far beyond the Cumberland Gap. From August 1779 until August 1780, the men traveled from southern Virginia, to the Falls of the Ohio River, and back to Virginia. In addition to their survey duties, the men worked secretly for Thomas Jefferson, meeting with George Rogers Clark at the Falls of the Ohio River to scout locations for the planned Fort Jefferson.
October 3, 1779 | Statute An act for marking and opening a road over the Cumberland mountains into the county of Kentucky. In response to the pressure from increased settlement along the Ohio River, Virginia's legislature passed this act to finance the scouting and blazing of a trail for use as a road to facilitate "communication and intercourse between the inhabitants in the eastern and western parts." The legislators chose Evan Shelby and Richard Callaway for the task of surveying and marking the proposed route. These two men were directed to proceed through the Cumberland Mountains, to mark and then "cause ... to be opened and cleared. Shelby and Callaway were to receive three hundred acres of land or one hundred twenty pounds in payment for their services. The act also provided for the recruitment of a militia guard and labour detail of up to fifty men.
October 3, 1779 | Statute An act for more effectually securing to the officers and soldiers of the Virginia line, the lands reserved to them. With significant tracts of land in the western reaches of Virginia promised to the "officers and soldiers of the Virginia line," the Assembly asserts its rights to promise lands to veterans and remove squatters. To reduce tensions along the state's border, the assembly prohibits settlement beyond the boundaries it has set.
December 10, 1779 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, December 10, 1779 Thomas Jefferson informs George Washington of a conflict in Congress over reimbursing Colonel Theodrick Bland for expenses incurred at the Barracks at Albemarle. Jefferson encloses important extracts from an act in the Virginia Assembly that ensures land issued to officers, soldiers, and sailors will remain unsettled until the veterans, or their heirs, are able to take possession.
1780 | Report Report of the Virginia Commissioners, 1780 Daniel Smith and Thomas Walker report to the Virginia Assembly on their mission to establish a line between Virginia and North Carolina.
January 24, 1780 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Martin, January 24, 1780 Thomas Jefferson instructs Joseph Martin, agent to the Cherokee, to purchase or trade for land for Fort Jefferson, currently being plotted by George Rogers Clark.
January 29, 1780 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, January 29, 1780 Thomas Jefferson issues instructions for the construction of a fort on the Falls of the Ohio, offering the services of surveyors Thomas Walker and Daniel Smith, who are in the field plotting a line between North Carolina and Virginia. Addressing the need to defend the western frontier from British advances, Jefferson authorizes Clark's recruitment of a battalion of soldiers, with land warrants issued as payment. Jefferson also expresses concern over the establishment of peaceful relations with French settlers and Native groups already in the region.
January 29, 1780 | Letter Thomas Jefferson To Thomas Walker and Daniel Smith, January 29, 1780 In this secret communique, Thomas Jefferson instructs the surveyors to assist George Rogers Clark in selecting a spot for the fort to be constructed at the falls of the Ohio River.
April 19, 1780 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, April 19, 1780 Thomas Jefferson writes to George Rogers Clark with concerns about the planned fortifications at the mouth of the Ohio River.
May 30, 1782 | Letter Virginia Commission for the Use of Western Territory The Assembly of Virginia appoints five individuals to study the uses of the state's Western Territory.
November 26, 1782 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, November 26, 1782 Responding to George Rogers Clark's February 20 missive, Thomas Jefferson encourages him to send fossil and "notes as to the Indians, information of the country between the Missisipi and waters of the South sea &c."
November 29, 1782 | Letter Arthur Campbell to Thomas Jefferson, November 29, 1782 Arthur Campbell writes to Thomas Jefferson about fossil finds in the West and possible a possible western border that may result from negotiations with the British.
October 12, 1783 | Letter George Washington to Francçois Jean, marquis de Chastellux, October 12, 1783 George Washington recounts his trip into western New York and contemplates the possibilities for the navigation of plentiful western waterways, writing of "the immense diffusion and importance of it; and with the goodness of that Providence which has dealt her favors to us with so profuse a hand."
December 4, 1783 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, December 4, 1783 Thomas Jefferson expresses concern over supposed British plans to explore North America from the Mississippi River to California and asks Clark if he would be willing to undertake such an exploration on behalf of the United States. Jefferson also addresses the ongoing Congressional debate over the location of the new capitol, believing a site on the Potomac River would be amenable to western states as they form.
January 24, 1784 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Hutchins, January 24, 1784 Thomas Jefferson writes to geographer Thomas Hutchins with questions and remarks about one of Hutchins' pamphlets, "A Topographical Description of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina, Comprehending the Rivers Ohio, Kenhawa, Sioto, Cherokee, Wabash, Illinois, Mississippi, &c...With a Plan of the Rapids of the Ohio, A Plan of the Several Villages in the Illinois Country, a Table of the Distances Between Fort Pitt and the Mouth of the Ohio." In his remarks, Jefferson notes several mistakes in the work.
February 8, 1784 | Letter George Rogers Clark to Thomas Jefferson, February 8, 1784 Responding to Thomas Jefferson's December 4, 1783, missive, George Rogers Clark regretfully opts out of any future U.S. expedition to the West. Clark does suggest that such an expedition be undertaken by a small group of men schooled in Native languages and traditions.
February 11, 1784 | Letter Thomas Hutchins to Thomas Jefferson, February 11, 1784 Thomas Hutchins responds to Thomas Jefferson's January 24, 1784 note questioning calculations made in one of Hutchins' pamphlets, "A Topographical Description of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina, Comprehending the Rivers Ohio, Kenhawa, Sioto, Cherokee, Wabash, Illinois, Mississippi, &c...With a Plan of the Rapids of the Ohio, A Plan of the Several Villages in the Illinois Country, a Table of the Distances Between Fort Pitt and the Mouth of the Ohio."
March 1, 1784 | Report Resolutions from the Committee for the Western Territory, March, 1, 1784. With Jeremiah Townley Chase and David Howell, Thomas Jefferson issues recommendations for the division and government of the western edges of United States territory. The preferred boundaries of future states are laid out and vaguely classical and Indian names are given the various regions. Congress did not adopt the Ordinance as Jefferson submitted it, primarily rejecting the abolition of slavery in the region and Jefferson's nomenclature. As passed by Congress, it became the Ordinance of 1784.
March 1, 1784 | Statute Virginia's delegates cede western counties to the nation. The wrangling between Virginia, Maryland, and other "landed" states and the Congress over the use and distribution of western territory was a long and contentious process. With this document, Virginia's delegates cede land northwest of the Ohio River to the nation.
March 29, 1784 | Letter George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, March 29, 1784 George Washington writes of the importance of water routes into the western territories of the United States. Washington also refers to the Maryland/Virginia conflict over commerce on the Potomac River and the resolution of the matter.
May 21, 1784 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, May 21, 1784 Thomas Jefferson worries about the evolving western borders and territory of the United States.
May 20, 1785 | Statute Land Ordinance of 1785. Until the Homestead Act of 1862, this ordinance, with detailed instructions as to the sectioning of land into township and plats, was the guiding document in the division and dispersal of Western lands.
September 26, 1785 | Letter George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, September 26, 1785 While anticipating the arrival of Houdon, who is to begin the sculpture commissioned by the State of Virginia, George Washington informs Thomas Jefferson that subscriptions for inland expeditions up the Potomac and James Rivers have all been sold to American investors. Washington also informs Jefferson of the Virginia Assembly's developing plans for the western part of the state, particularly in relation to North Carolina and Kentucky.
November 28, 1785 | Treaty Treaty of Hopewell This treaty further codified the relationship between the Cherokees and the American government
January 25, 1786 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, January 25, 1786 Thomas Jefferson thanks Archibald Stuart for his correspondence and worries over the United States' financial help and credit abroad. Jefferson writes that Kentucky's possible cession would be disastrous to his hopes that the new nation serve as the core of settlement for both North and South America.
August 16, 1786 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to John Ledyard, August 16, 1786 Thomas Jefferson writes to John Ledyard expressing hopes that his explorations will prove useful.
July 13, 1787 | Letter Northwest Ordinance, July 13 1787. Setting the stage for western expansion, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 shaped the development of the territory north and west of the Ohio River.
August 8, 1787 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Richard Claiborne, August 8, 1787 In this brief note, Thomas Jefferson writes that the best settlers for Western lands would be industrious Germans.
March 24, 1789 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Willard, March 24, 1789 Thomas Jefferson writes to Joseph Willard, primarily concerned with recent European scientific publications. Jefferson segues into a brief discussion of the scientific possibilities inherent in the exploration of North America, and the development of science by a people concerned with freedom and virtue.
May 10, 1789 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, May 10, 1789 Thomas Jefferson expresses his hopes for the future exploration and navigation of the Ohio and Potomac Rivers, adding a discussion about other avenues of water navigation that could promote western expansion and commerce. Jefferson also informs Washington he hopes to return to the United States, having appealed to John Jay for permission to do so. The letter also includes references to the role of the Marquis de la Fayette in French politics.
August 26, 1790 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Henry Knox, August 26, 1790 Thomas Jefferson discusses the Treaty of Hopewell and its ramifications for national expansion, particularly in regard to treaties made between states and native groups.
August 27, 1790 | Report George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, August 27, 1790 George Washington asks for Thomas Jefferson's opinions on a variety of security concerns on the United States' western borders, particularly given the threat of British/Spanish hostilities. Jefferson answered on August 28, 1790.
August 28, 1790 | Report Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, August 28, 1790 Thomas Jefferson responds to George Washington's concerns, expressed in his August 27, 1790 report to Jefferson, over British expansion in the West. Jefferson is particularly concerned with the United States' position in the event of a conflict between England and Spain.
August 29, 1790 | Report Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, August 29, 1790 As tensions simmer between Great Britain and Spain, Thomas Jefferson writes to George Washington about the possibility of British troops crossing American soil to confront the Spanish. In this note, he offers further comments to the note penned August 28, 1790.
November 26, 1790 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Gouverneur Morris, November 26, 1790 Thomas Jefferson writes to Gouverneur Morris regarding tensions in Congress over expansion and finances and violence with Native groups along the Ohio.
March 12, 1791 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Carmichael, March 12, 1791 Tension along the Mississippi River worries Thomas Jefferson, who asks William Carmichael to clarify the position of the Spanish regarding navigation of the Mississippi below the mouth of the Ohio River.
March 12, 1791 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Short, March 12, 1791 Tensions with European powers create worries for Thomas Jefferson as he writes to William Short with concerns over the navigation of the Mississippi.
April 2, 1791 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, April 2, 1791 Thomas Jefferson summarizes for George Washington the diplomatic maneuvering of Spain and the United States on the subject of Florida and western settlements.
August 10, 1791 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Henry Knox, August 10, 1791 The validity of private contracts with Native American groups in the face of Federal and state authority is addressed in this letter concerning the South Yazoo Company.
December 22, 1791 | Report Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, December 22, 1791 Thomas Jefferson advises President Washington on the prospects of negotiations with the Spanish and urges him to direct commissioners to focus on the navigation of the Mississippi.
February 25, 1792 | Letter David Campbell to Thomas Jefferson, February 25, 1792 David Campbell writes to Thomas Jefferson, outlining the difficulties in establishing federal authority in the newly organized Southwest Territory. Significantly, Campbell argues for the supremacy of the Constitution over North Carolina state law in the region and asserts that the land and property of Native groups should be left unmolested.
March 18, 1792 | Report Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, March 18, 1792 A detailed examination of the current and future prospect for western expansion and the legal and political ramifications of such movement.
March 27, 1792 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to David Campbell March 27, 1792 Thomas Jefferson replies to David Campbell, in response to Campbell's letter of February 25, 1792, thanking him for his commentary on Western law. Jefferson also expresses concern over the seizure of Native American lands, concerned that an Indian War would be expensive.
January 22, 1793 | Letter George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, January 22, 1793 George Washington responds to Jefferson's note about Michaux's expedition and asks that his name be added to the subscription list.
January 23, 1793 | Letter American Philosophical Society Members Subscribe to Andre Michaux's Expedition Thomas Jefferson's draft of the pledge of the subscribers to the Andre Michaux expedition.
January 23, 1793 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Andre Michaux, January 23, 1793 Thomas Jefferson's instructions for Andre Michaux's proposed western expedition.
February 16, 1793 | Report Thomas Jefferson to the United States House of Representatives, February 16, 1793 In the report, Thomas Jefferson's understanding of American land policy in the west, particularly Indian treaties and possession and white claims, is clearly laid out as he reports on the land claim of a Revolutionary War veteran
March 10, 1793 | Report Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, March 10, 1793 In his official capacity as Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson writes to George Washington, reiterating the boundaries of the western frontiers of the United States, particularly as they apply to treaties with Native groups.
March 11, 1793 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, March 11, 1793 Thomas Jefferson writes to Henry Lee about extending the Virginia/Kentucky line and the prospects for settlement. Regarding Virginia's unsettled boundary with the southwestern territory, Thomas Jefferson anticipates population growth and formal organization in that region.
April 10, 1793 | Letter David Rittenhouse to Thomas Jefferson, April 10, 1793 David Rittenhouse asks Thomas Jefferson for direction in the planning of the Andrew Michaux expedition.
April 10, 1793 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, January 22, 1793 Thomas Jefferson forwards information about subscriptions for Michaux's journey to George Washington.
April 11, 1793 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to David Rittenhouse, April 11, 1793 Thomas Jefferson responds to David Rittenhouse's April 10 inquiry about planning Michaux's expedition and desires that the Philosophical Society meet.
June 17, 1797 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Aaron Burr, June 17, 1797 Thomas Jefferson contemplates the actions of the newly seated Congress in the light of foreign pressure and partisan politics. Jefferson's worries about the changing character of American politics are focused on expansion and the possibility of serious French colonization in Louisiana.
November 12, 1799 | Letter Daniel Clark to Thomas Jefferson, November 12, 1799 Daniel Clark writes of Philip Nolan's close brush with death in New Mexico and informs Jefferson of Nolan's plan to travel to the United States. Clarks takes the liberty of sending along a box of pecans for Jefferson.
January 29, 1800 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to John Breckinridge, January 29, 1800 Thomas Jefferson advocates the creation of a separate Western judiciary in the newly laid-out regions. The tumult in France causes him to worry over the fate of the American Republic.
May 29, 1800 | Letter Daniel Clark to Thomas Jefferson, May 29, 1800 Daniel Clark writes to Jefferson of Philip Nolan's departure for the United States, and notes that an inhabitant of the land "West of the Mississippi" accompanies him for Jefferson's edification, so that he may be "the first to acquire particular information of a Country now almost unknown to the U.S."
November 29, 1800 | Letter James Wilkinson to Thomas Jefferson, November 29, 1800 James Wilkinson introduces Thomas Jefferson to the work of William Dunbar and offers his own map of the Mississippi Territory.
January 12, 1801 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, January 12, 1801 Thomas Jefferson acknowledges William Dunbar's July 14, 1800 letter and enclosures; he also touches on other scientific matters and expresses his satisfaction at having a scientific correspondent on the western edge of the country.
March 20, 1801 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Joseph-Mathias Gerard de Rayneval, March 20, 1801 Thomas Jefferson addresses the history and purposes of the Ohio, Wabash, and Loyal Land Companies in this letter about Conrad Alexandre Gérard de Rayneval's financial difficulties with the Wabash Company. State cession of lands to the companies are germane to the discussion.
July 13, 1801 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William C. C. Claiborne, July 13, 1801 Thomas Jefferson writes to William Claiborne with news of his appointment as Governor of Mississippi, noting the importance of the region as "the principal point of contact between Spain and us, & also as it is the embryo of a very great state." Jefferson also warns Claiborne of the importance of encouraging the residents of Mississippi to embrace party politics similar to his.
November 24, 1801 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, November 24, 1801 Thomas Jefferson wonders about the possible use of Western territory for slaves or free blacks in the aftermath of Gabriel's Rebellion. He is concerned about the possible repercussions for domestic and international relations if they are sent west or remain on the continent; St. Domingo seems a good possible destination.
January 18, 1803 | Report Thomas Jefferson to United States Congress, January 18, 1803 Thomas Jefferson's confidential report to Congress planned westward expansion and the United States' relationship with Native Americans.
February 27, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Smith Barton, February 27, 1803 Thomas Jefferson informs Benjamin Smith Barton of Meriwether Lewis' upcoming journey, excited at the prospect of the scientific advances that will result.
February 28, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, February 28, 1803 Thomas Jefferson informs Benjamin Rush of Meriwether Lewis' upcoming trip west, asking Rush to assist Lewis in any way possible. Jefferson then details his ongoing digestive problems.
February 28, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Caspar Wistar, February 28, 1803 Jefferson informs Wistar of the upcoming expedition and of his faith in Meriwether Lewis.
March 2, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Robert Patterson, March 2, 1803 Thomas Jefferson writes to Robert Patterson of the planned expedition west, asking him to help prepare Meriwether Lewis for taking geographical measurements.
March 3, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, March 3, 1803 After thanking William Dunbar for earlier correspondence, including Martin Duralde's report to the American Philosophical Society, Thomas Jefferson expresses hopes that American rights to the Mississippi River can be maintained without war; the President also anticipates the acquisition of Native lands on the left bank of the river to "plant on the Missisipi itself the means of it's own defence."
March 14, 1803 | Letter Albert Gallatin to Thomas Jefferson, March 14, 1803 Albert Gallatin informs Thomas Jefferson of the preparations he has made for the Corps of Discovery expedition, including commissioning Nicholas King's blank projection of western North America. Gallatin demonstrates his familiarity with the work of cartographers including Arrowsmith, Delisle, and Mackenzie, assuming Jefferson has the same background knowledge.
April 3, 1803 | Letter Meriwether Lewis to Thomas Jefferson, April 3, 1803 Meriwether Lewis writes to Jefferson regarding his preparations, including his many communications with men of science. Lewis includes his plans for a collapsible boat.
April 13, 1803 | Letter Albert Gallatin to Thomas Jefferson, April 13, 1803 Albert Gallatin responds to Jefferson's planned instructions to Lewis by stressing the importance of evaluating the suitability of the parts of the trans-Missouri region not included in the Louisiana Purchase. He wonders if British appropriation of the region is a possibility.
April 17, 1803 | Letter Levi Lincoln to Thomas Jefferson, April 17, 1803 Levi Lincoln offers suggestions for the Corps of Discovery's trip and warns Thomas Jefferson of strong objections from the opposition.
April 22, 1803 | Letter From Thomas Jefferson to Lewis Harvie, April 22, 1803 Thomas Jefferson writes to Lewis Harvie, informing him of Meriwether Lewis' progress in preparing for his expedition. Jefferson also reassures Harvie that questions between Spain and France over the Louisiana Territory will not interfere with the United States' acquisition of the region.
May 13, 1803 | Letter Bernard Lacépède to Thomas Jefferson, May 13, 1803 Bernard Lacépède applauds Jefferson's dedication to exploration and expansion, predicting success and the expansion of United States trade and communication because of it.
June 20, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, June 20, 1803 Thomas Jefferson issues detailed instructions to Meriwether Lewis, addressing every aspect of the upcoming expedition.
July 17, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, July 17, 1803 Thomas Jefferson writes to William Dunbar of the acquisition of Louisiana Territory, asking for information and statistics to place before the Congress.
August 9, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to John Dickinson, August 9, 1803 Thomas Jefferson expresses his pleasure at the Louisiana Purchase, and explains the importance of the territory as a buffer against Spanish expansion.
September 21, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, September 21, 1803 Thomas Jefferson questions William Dunbar about Spanish borders in the Louisiana Territory.
October 3, 1803 | Letter Meriwether Lewis to Thomas Jefferson, October 3, 1803 While pausing to provision his expedition, Meriwether Lewis writes to Thomas Jefferson about the scientific explorations at Big Bone Lick and his plans for the trip westward.
October 21, 1803 | Letter William Dunbar to Thomas Jefferson, October 21, 1803 William Dunbar responds to Thomas Jefferson's September 21 letter regarding the Spanish presence in Florida and the Gulf Coast and the surveys conducted by the Spanish in that region. He also praises Daniel Clark's summation of the population of the Lousiana Territory and suggests a representative from that region appear before Congress, but notes that the Spanish government is unlikely to allow such a measure to take place as long as the territory is in their hands.
November 16, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, November 16, 1803 Thomas Jefferson updates Meriwether Lewis on political activity around the event of the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson includes notes from the explorer Truteau that detail population and activities of some native groups living west of the Mississippi.
January 22, 1804 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, January 22, 1804 Thomas Jefferson informs Meriwether Lewis of the steps the United States is taking to consolidate its position in the land along the Mississippi.
January 28, 1804 | Letter William Dunbar to Thomas Jefferson, January 28, 1804 William Dunbar sends notes to Jefferson concerning the Mississippi River Valley; he believes the notes could be read before the Philosphical Society; see the "Reports" section of this archive for several of Dunbar's dispatches on the Mississippi River region. Dunbar continues with a discussion of the development of Natchez and the establishment of a college there.
March 13, 1804 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, March 13, 1804 Thomas Jefferson thanks William Dunbar for his letter of January 28, promising to forward his paper on the Mississippi River to the American Philosophical Society. Jefferson then writes a detailed discussion of the science of water in a river like the Mississippi. Jefferson also relates his plans for directing surveying parties to the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, in addition to explorations of the Red and other more southern waterways. Jefferson concludes with speculations on the future of the Lousiana Territory.
May 13, 1804 | Letter William Dunbar to Thomas Jefferson, May 13, 1804 William Dunbar thanks Thomas Jefferson for his comments about Dunbar's notes on the Mississippi River. Spain's land sales in Western Florida draw the author's attention and Dunbar offers approval of continuing explorations on America's western rivers, while bemoaning Congress' reluctance to adequately fund such expeditions.
November 9, 1804 | Letter William Dunbar to Thomas Jefferson, November 9, 1804 William Dunbar relates the beginnings of his exploration of the Red River, including ventures into former Spanish territory. He also relates general scientific information of interest to Jefferson.