For property in New York State: Treasurer of the State of Connecticut, 1820. Unbound. In this lot, there are two copies of this large Articles of Agreement between the State of Connecticut and Ezra B. Corkings. The documents measure 13.5” x 16”, and both are signed by Corkings and the authorized Connecticut “agent and attorney,” Zachariah Seymour. Both copies are in nice shape with a few small holes at the intersection of their storage folds..
The agreement sets forth the terms of sale for 106 acres of land “in the town of Bristol in the county of Ontario in the state of New York” for the sum of $776.28, payable over three years, for the benefit of the Connecticut School Fund.
Terms of the agreement required Corkings to build a habitable dwelling on the property that is at least 18’ x 18’ square.
Docketing on the reverse of one copy shows that Corkings was allowed barter livestock as part of his first payment.. Very good. Item #009835
Why, one might wonder, was the State of Connecticut able to raise funds for its educational fund by selling property in New York; I did, anyway.
As it happens Connecticut’s original charter, granted by King Charles II, was for a strip of land running across the North America “from sea to sea.” After the Revolutionary War, the United States wanted to establish a Northwest Territory in the region that today includes the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and northeastern Minnesota. To that end, Connecticut agreed to cede most of its strip of land to the United States with the provision that the state be allowed keep a segment south of Lake Erie which became known as Connecticut’s Western Reserve.
In 1795, Connecticut sold this Reserve to a speculator partnership, the Connecticut Land Company, for $1.2 million which it used to seed a permanent fund for the “support of schools” known as “The School Fund of Connecticut.”
The School Fund, in turn, acted as something akin to a mortgage company, making loans and investments to increase its capital in order to ensure its perpetuity. One of its investments was to purchase vast tracks of land in western New York in the early 1800s.
With this agreement, Connecticut sells some of that New York land to a settler in Ontario County.
In 1800, the Western Reserve, owned by the Connecticut Land Company, officially became part of the Northwest Territory. After the Company failed in 1809, the remaining land not needed to pay off its debts was divided equitably between its partners.
(For more information, see Swift’s A History of Public Permanent Common School Funds in the United States, 1795-1805, Bloom’s “West of Eden: Ohio Land Speculation Benefits Connecticut Public Schools” at Connecticut Explored online, and “The Western Reserve or New Connecticut” at The Order of the Founders and Patriots of America online.”
Scarce. At the time of listing, no other School Fund articles of agreement are for sale in the trade, and OCLC shows none held by institutions. The Rare Book Hub reports the was an auction of Connecticut Land Company records that contained two Articles of Agreement selling land in the Northwest Reserve, but there are no records of sales by the state of Connecticut School Fund selling land to settlers in New York..