Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 22, 2013
General Moses Cleaveland

General Moses Cleaveland

July 22, 1796: The Connecticut Land Company names an area after the superintendent of the surveying party – General Moses Cleaveland. The 57 wealthiest men in Connecticut formed a company to explore the Old Northwest Territory. The region included all of modern day Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois along with most of Wisconsin and a small part of Minnesota. The Land Company was headed by Oliver Phelps, the richest man in Connecticut. Moses Cleaveland was one of the members.

Cleaveland was a lawyer, politician, soldier, and surveyor. He led the party to survey the Western Reserve. This was a narrow (120 mile) strip of land between the forty-first and forty-second-and-two-minute parallels. It ran from the border of Pennsylvania westward and covered more than three million acres. The survey party left Buffalo, New York and sailed on Lake Erie heading west. They stopped on July 4, 1796 at the mouth of Conneaut Creek. This was named Port Independence. After paying off the local residents, they were permitted to survey the area.

The survey party slowly coasted along the shore and on this date came to the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. The lush region held a flat plain covered by a great forest gently sloping to the river. It was thought to be the perfect place to build a city. It was surveyed into town lots and named Cleaveland. Moses left the area in 1796 and never returned. There were only four settlers the first year and the population grew slowly. By 1820 the population finally reached 150. The town was incorporated in 1814 and dropped the first “a” from the name in 1831.

Today, the City of Cleveland encompasses 82.4 square miles and is home to 478,400 people. The Greater Metropolitan area has 2,230,900 residents. Cleveland’s Playhouse Square Center is the second largest arts center in the US. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is there, looking out over Lake Erie. They have several sports teams including the Cleveland Indians (baseball), the Cleveland Browns (football), and the Cleveland Cavaliers (basketball). The manufacturing and port city has seen a shift in population as the decline in heavy industry has affected the job market. The following quotes are all from famous Clevelanders.

“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.” – Drew Carey

“There is a lot of pressure put on me, but I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I feel if I play my game, it will take care of itself.” – LeBron James

“While being called beautiful is extremely flattering, I would much rather be noticed for my work as an actress.” – Halle Berry

“I wasn’t allowed to see movies when I was a child. It was against the religion I was raised in, Fundamentalist Baptist. I didn’t go into a commercial movie house until I was a senior in college, and that was on the sly. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I immersed myself in films. Then, I went to see all the films by Bergman, Fellini, etc.” – Wes Craven

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Cleveland has many other names. It is called The Forest City, Metropolis of the Western Reserve, The Rock and Roll Capital of the World, C-Town, The Cleve, and Sixth City. Because it is so close to Lake Erie, it is also called The North Coast and insultingly, The Mistake on the Lake.  The people who live there are called Clevelanders. The decade between 1830 when there were 1,075 people and 1840 saw the biggest growth in the region when population swelled by 465%. Large increases for the next few decades continued with 180%, 155%, and 114% increases so that by 1880 the population was 160,146. Growth slowed but was continual until the 1930s when population slightly dropped. The highest population was 914,808 in 1930. Nearly a quarter of the population fled the city in the 1970s with another 20% decrease in the new millennium.

Also on this day: Public Enemy #1 – In 1934, John Dillinger met his end – maybe.
Falkirk – In 1298, the Battle of Falkirk took place.
And They’re Off – In 1894, the first motorized vehicle race was held.

One Response

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on July 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    There 57 men in Connecticut? Was there a Connecticut? George Washington said what is connecticut?

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