A Timeline of Indiana History - 1795 - 1800
April 1796 - Chillicothe Ohio EstablishedLocated on the Scioto River, the site is situated in south central Ohio and was part of the Virginia Military District. The name Chillicothe derives from a Shawnee word Chala•ka•tha, which means "principal town." The Shawnee tribe moved to the site in 1758 after a flood destroyed their village of Shannoah, or Sonnontio, also on the Scioto River. After the Treaty of Greeneville the area was opened for white settlement and the Shawnee had to leave.
Nathanial Massie (December 28, 1763 - November 03, 1813)
The son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Watkins Massie, Nathanial was native to Goochland County, Virginia. Nathaniel served in the Revolutionary War. In 1783 he migrated to Kentucky to farm land his father owned. Massie had studied surveying and began exploring lands north of the Ohio River in the Virginia Military District of the Northwest Territory.
Virginia Military District
During the period when the United States was attempting to establish a national government Virginia controlled most of the land in the Ohio River Valley. Maryland refused to ratify the Articles of Confederation unless Virginia ceded this vast region to the Federal government. Virginia did cede the land, but kept a large tract located in what is now south central Ohio to use to pay its Revolutionary War Veterans.
Surveying the Land
Many of the Revolutionary War veterans hired him to survey lands they received as grants for their war service. In 1790 Massie surveyed Manchester, along the Ohio River. During his survey work, Massie selected the best lands and bartered them for his surveying work. Thus, Massie acquired significant land holdings in what would become Chillicothe and Ross County, Ohio. Massie placed advertisements in various Kentucky and Virginia newspaper. He offered free lots in the new town to the first 100 settlers that migrated with him to the Northwest Territory. By March 1796 he had attracted about forty men bent of settling in the newly opened lands.
Massie led this group up the Scioto River to settle at a point where Paint Creek empties into the Scioto River on April 1. He named the new town Prairie Station. This site proved unsuitable, as it was low lying and subject to flooding. Thus, the settlers moved further upstream to the site of the former Shawnee town and began clearing land for their new settlement. The pioneers called the new town Massieville; however Massie changed the name to Chillicothe. The original plat had 456 lots. By late in the year the new town had taverns, stores and tradesman's shops. The town would later become the capital of the Northwest Territory and then the first capital of the new state of Ohio. Massie would settle in the town. He is interred in Grandview Cemetery, Chillicothe in Ross County, Ohio.