Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Firelands or Sufferers' Lands tract was located at the western end of the Connecticut Western Reserve in what is now the U.S. state of Ohio. The land was set aside for residents of the Connecticut towns of Danbury, Fairfield, Greenwich, Groton, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, and Ridgefield who lost their homes in 1779 and 1781 due to fires set by British forces during the American Revolutionary War.
In 1792, the Connecticut legislature set aside 500,000 acres (2,000 km²) for the Sufferers at the western end of the Western Reserve, consisting of all of the present-day counties of Huron County and Erie County as well as Danbury Township in Ottawa County and Ruggles Township in Ashland County.
About 30 towns, cities and villages ended up being situated in the Fire Lands near the southern shore of Lake Erie.
However, very few of the original "Sufferers" ever settled in the firelands, as the land was not given and cleared for settlement until many years after the war.
In 1803, the Sufferers, or their heirs, legal agents, and purchasers of their deeds, formed a corporation to manage the lands to which they were entitled in the newly formed state of Ohio. The land was divided into 30 five mile (8 km) square survey townships, which were further subdivided into 120 quarters, each containing 4,000 acres (16 km²). (Note: Standard U.S. survey townships were six miles (10 km) square.) A drawing was held to determine the land received by each individual. Many of the local communities and townships in the Firelands are named for locations in Connecticut.
- Williams, W.W., History of the Firelands, Connecticut, 1879.
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