On April 18, 1789, Thomas Hutchins, Geographer General of the United States and first surveyor of the Northwest Territory, died before completing his survey of the Seven Ranges.
Hutchins was given the job of surveying the Northwest Territory after the passage of the Land Ordinance of 1785. He started in what would become Ohio, organizing the land into Seven Ranges, each made up of a vertical row of townships. He began at the intersection of the north bank of the Ohio River and the Pennsylvania state line.
The government was eager to get the Seven Ranges surveying done because it needed to sell off the land to pay off Revolutionary War debts. But the work progressed slowly because of problems with squatters and Native Americans. Hutchins became sick and died after completing only four of the Seven Ranges.
The first direct sale of a large tract was to the Ohio Company, whose claim was in the southwest of the Seven Ranges.
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