The Settlers of Dayton File a Petition Regarding their Land Titles:

As we saw in the last post,  Solomon and Olive Goss did not stay at Mercer Station in the area near Dayton and headed to Marietta.

Historic building in Carillon Park Dayton Ohio

Historic Pioneer building in Carillon Park Dayton Ohio

Here is a summary of their time in the Dayton and Mercer Station area:

Enumeration 96 Green County, lists:

  • Goss, Solomon – Arrived in 1st Party, 1796
  • Goss, Solomon – Settler 1796
  • Goss, Solomon – Absent 1st Settler 1799

Source: Enumeration ’96 d Greene 1796-1810, a name and source descriptive index to persons in the Ohio counties of Montgomery & Greene, Ohio: Celebration Dayton 96 Bicentennial Committee, 1996, FHL Book#977.1 P22

Symmes failed to make good on his land dealings and the settlers in Dayton were about to lose their investment and have to start over. Below is the petition they sent to the House of Representatives:

John C. Symmes

John C. Symmes


The winter of 1798-99 was a season of great annoyance; the people were very much alarmed at the danger of loosing their labor, lands and improvements by reason of the failure on the part of Symmes in securing a title to the lands; many were disheartened and moved away; others were discouraged from coming. At length the settlers sent the following petition to Congress.

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress Assembled

The petition of the first settlers at Dayton and Mercer’s Station, in Montgomery and Greene Counties, Ohio, respectfully sheweth: That the Hon. Judge Symmes having made a relinquishment of his claim to a certain tract of lands lying between the Miami Rivers, to Gov. St. Clair, Gen. Wilkinson, Jonathan Dayton and Israel Ludlow, Esquires, the said lands being all the seventh and eighth ranges of townships east of Mad River; in order to form settlements on the same and augment its value the proprietors offered certain gratuities and privileges to such as might engage to become first settlers, which are contained in the articles accompanying the petition.

On the 5th of November, 1795, forty-six persons engaged to become settlers at Dayton, but from the many difficulties in forming a new settlement so far in a wilderness country, only fifteen of those came forward, with four others, making nineteen in all.

From the threats and ill-treatment of the savages to the people of Mercer’s Station it was once evacuated, and at several times Mr. Mercer with two brothers maintained the station at the risk of their lives. These settlements were formed by your petitioners a few months after the treaty of Greenville, when we had not faith in the friendship of the savages. Our settlement was immediately on their hunting grounds. We were not able to keep a horse amongst us during the first season, by reason of their stealing. The scarcity of provisions had raised flour to $9 a barrel, and other articles in proportion, which we had to purchase and transport fifty miles through a wilderness, clearing roads, 550 etc.; under all these and many more difficulties we labored in hopes of obtaining our lands at a low rate and the small gratuity offered. Several of your petitioners have not been able to procure any, land ; others have laid their claims before the Commissioners agreeably to the late law, and purchased at $2 per acre. We leave to state to your honorable body that the proprietors have not received the expected advantages from the forming of these settlements; that your petitioners have been at a vast expense, labor and difficulty in forming the said settlements, and have received no recompense nor privilege other than subsequent settlers; that they first opened a way, in consequence of which the .country has become populous and the United States has received a handsome revenue from the sale of the lands; that the town of Dayton is purchased by a subsequent settler, and we pray that Congress will make to us such gratuity in lands, or deduction from payments for lands, or grant such other relief as our case merits.

Your petitioners further pray in behalf of Rev. William Hamer, a settler at Dayton, who, having settled on the Section 29 in the Second Township and Seventh Range, before the lines were run, with an expectation of holding it agreeable to the terms set forth in Article A, and has since continued to cultivate and improve it, as it was supposed to be appropriated for religious purposes, he being a preacher of the Gospel and having the approbation of Mr. Ludlow, one of the proprietors, as appears by the Article C. Now, as the said section is to be sold as other lands, the said Hamer is willing to pay $2 per acre for it, in installments, agreeable to the late laws for the disposal of United States lands. We pray your honorable body may grant him a preemption and the indulgence he wishes: and your petitioners shall, etc.

William Gahagan, Samuel Thompson, Benjamin Van Cleve, William Van Cleve, Thomas Davis, James McClure, Daniel Ferrel, John McClure. Thomas Hamer, Abraham Grassmire, William Hamer, Solomon Hamer, William Chenoweth, George Newcom, William Newcom and James Morris.

Thomas Davis, representative of John Davis, deceased: William Hamer, representative of Solomon Goss ; B. Van Cleve and William Gahagan, representatives of John Dorough ; Jonathan Mercer, for himself and others of Mercer’s Station, on Mad River.

Congress in the way of relief, and in compliance with this petition, passed a law on the 2nd of March, 1799, giving to these people, and any others who had any contract in writing with John Cleves Symmes previous to the 1st of April, 1797, the privilege of purchasing lands of the United States at the price of $2 an acre, to be paid in three annual installments. This law did not afford the relief desired, and but three or four persons entered their lands under it.

Source: The History of Montgomery County,W. H. Beers & Co. 1882,  Chapter – City of Dayton, pages 543 to 551. A copy of this book is at Internet Archive on-line.

In trying to determine if Solomon Goss ever received any compensation for his losses, I looked at the deed registers for Hamilton County, Ohio but found nothing. There is also no mention of anything in the Washington County, Ohio deeds.

I found a booklet at the Family History Library by a Mr. Chris McHenry who also tried to piece together the mystery of whether or not the settlers were able to reclaim their lands in the Dayton area. I studied his booklet but did not find any mention of Solomon Goss but much to my surprise I found Obadiah Scott and a Caleb Seward mentioned? Is this the father of Olive and James or Caleb an uncle?

“Obadiah Scott who is a Volunteer Settler makes application for and Entry of the North East Corner of the twelfth Section in the Second township and first entire range of townships, which Section is the property of Doc. William Burnet & Company — This applicant prays the benefit of obtaining One hundred and Six Acres thereof which becomes forfeited by reason of Non Settlement or representation according to the terms of Sale and Settlement. Mr. Scott is Gone August 22nd, 1791. 

January 18, 1793 Capt. John Maison …..relinquishes his entry & gives it up to Obadiah Scott. This belongs to Obadiah Scott – NE Corner 12 Section Second twp. first Entire Range. 

Caleb Seward Enters himself by his brother James Seward for the representation of the tenth Section in the 3rd township in the 1st. Entire range 20th August 1795. page 114.  

Source: Symmes Purchase Records – A Verbatim Copy of the Entry Book, Pamphlet, and Forfeiture Records of John Cleves Symmes 1787-1890, A Verbatim Copy of the Entry Book, Pamphlet, and Forfeiture Records of John Cleves Symmes 1787-1890, Chris McHenry, 1979, Family History Library Film# 1035537 Item 3. 

Unfortunately, Solomon Goss and Olive were no strangers to land disputes having lived through the mess in Luzerne County.  I like to think it was Olive who said to Solomon, I want to go somewhere safe, no more struggling.  He therefore, took her to Marietta and they were there in May 1798 for their daughter Elizabeth’s wedding to Andrew Lake.

Note:  I have been to Ohio on two separate trips. I have visited most of the state except the Dayton, Montgomery Co., area.  A genealogical research trip might reveal more information and maybe someday I will get a chance to visit that city.

About BJ MacDonald

Interested in travel, really into genealogy and researching my family history, classic novels and movies, fantasy and science fiction, photography, history and more... Here is a tip. Make sure you are commenting on the blog you were visiting and the post you were interested in. My blogs are listed by hovering over my pictures and clicking. Clicking one of them will take you back to the correct blog. You can try me here:
This entry was posted in Luzerne County, Marietta, Montgomery Co., Obadiah Scott III & Thankful Rood, Obadiah Scott Sr. & Hannah Howe & Charity Barber Sutliff, Olive Scott Goss, The Wife, Pennsylvania, Solomon Goss and Olive (Scott) Goss (Son of Philip & Mary (Kendall) Goss, Washington County and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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