BURKE FAMILY ORIGINS IN VIRGINA
John Carter (1613-1669) was born in Middlesex, England and sailed to Virginia in the English Colony in North America in 1635, where he soon founded ‘Corotoman’ Plantation in Lancaster County, Virginia. John Carter’s son, Robert "King" Carter, was the richest man in the English Colonies of North America in 1700. John Carter liked to make slaves out of the Ibo people, of northern Nigeria. There is some evidence that the later generations of slaves on Carter family plantations were descended from the Ibo people brought to Virginia earlier by John Carter. So the African-American Burke Family of Washington County, Ohio, helped created America's first Millionaire!
Manasseh Cutler was an American Congregationalist clergyman, scientist, and colonizer of Ohio, born in Killingly, Conn., May 13, 1742 and died in Hamilton, Mass., July 28, 1823. He worked on his father's farm and a prepared for college under Rev. Aaron Brown, before entering Yale, from which he graduated with honor in 1765. The following year he married Mary Balch of Dedham, Mass.. After studying law, he was admitted to practice in Massachusetts courts in 1767. The next year he was licensed to preach at Hamlet parish, (then a part of Ipswich, Mass. and afterwards part of Hamilton). During the American Revolutionary War, he served as chaplain in Col. Ebenezer Francis's 11th Massachusetts Regiment.
At the close of the Revolutionary War, Manasseh Cutler returned to preaching at Hamlet parish and soon began to study medicine. He was then able to attend to both the spiritual and physical welfare of his congregation. Not withstanding the many duties of his active life, he continued his habits of study and found time for research astronomy, meteorology, botany and kindred sciences. He was the first to scientifically examine the flora of New England, and over 359 species were examined by him and classified according to the Linnaean system. As a scientists, he was second only to Benjamin Franklin.
When the association of Revolutionary officers was organized for the purpose of locating and settling on bounty lands in the West (Northwest Territory), Dr. Cutler took an active interest in the movement. He was one of five officers appointed to draft a plan for the planned "Ohio Company". In 1787, he was appointed by the directors of the Ohio Company as its agent to make the purchase of lands upon the Muskingum River. During this period he met and became friends with Ben Franklin. Their tastes and pursuits were very similar.
While Dr. Cutler's mission to Congress was to purchase lands on the Muskingum for the Ohio Company, the purchase was dependent upon the form of government of the territory in which those lands lay. He therefore became engaged in the provisions of the Northwest Ordinance before Congress, for the nature of the government of the Northwest Territory. He was successful in uniting the discordant political elements and made possible the enacting of Article 6 of the Ordinance of 1787, which made slavery illegal in the Northwest Territory.
On December 3, 1787, the first company of men under General Rufus Putnam, set out for the Muskingum, and arrived at Marietta on April 7, 1788. The following year, Dr. Cutler started his famous twenty-nine day, 750 mile journey in his sulky, to visit the new settlement. He arrived in Marietta, Washington county, (Ohio) on August 19th, 1789. He was present at the opening of the first court in the Northwest Territory and marveled at the ancient Indian earthworks in the vicinity of Marietta. After a short time he returned to New England, although he contemplated removing with his family to the new settlement, he judged that it would require too much sacrifice, and he abandoned the project.
Dr. Manasseh Cutler's eldest son, Ephriam Cutler, was born April 13, 1767. He was brought up in Killingly Connecticut by his grandfather Hezekiah Cutler. He left Killingly, Connecticut on June 15, 1795 with three shares of stock in the Ohio Company lands, and arrived at Marietta, (Ohio) on September 18, 1795. Two of his children died on the trip. In 1799 he moved from Marietta to Waterford in Washington County. In Waterford, he engaged in the mercantile business. In May of 1799 Ephriam moved to his 1800-acre farm on Federal creek, where he erected a mill. Shortly thereafter Ephriam Cutler was appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and Justice of the Peace, by the Northwest Territorial Governor, Arthur St. Clair.
Ohio's statehood in 1803 was preceded by a constitutional convention held in Chillicothe during November 1802. Ephriam Cutler was a member of the Northwest Territorial Legislature and in 1802 he was one of Washington County's delegates to the Ohio Constitutional Convention, (Rufus Putnam and Paul Fearing were the other two). Connecticut and Virginia had retained title to some Ohio lands, forming the Connecticut Western Reserve in the northeast and the Virginia Military District between the Little Miami and Scioto rivers in the southwest. The Ohio Company of Associates, made up of people from the New England States, had acquired lands in southeastern Ohio and in 1788 founded Ohio's first town (under the United States Government control), at Marietta, on the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers.
These settlers from New England were clearly against slavery. Article 6 of the Ordinance of 1787 made slavery in the Northwest Territory illegal, but some slave owners from Virginia who settled in the Virginia Military District, wanted to make slavery legal in the new state of Ohio, so the issue was brought up for vote at the Ohio Constitutional Convention of 1802. On the day the ballet was to be cast on the issue of slavery in Ohio, Ephriam Cutler was very ill. However Ephriam Cutler had Rufus Putnam and Paul Fearing, the other delegates from Washington County, carry him over to the convention hall where he cast his vote against slavery. The bid to make Ohio a slave state was defeated by one vote!
In 1806, Ephriam founded the Village of Constitution, located on the north bank of the Ohio River, half way between Marietta and Belpre, in Washington County, Ohio. Judge Cutler and some other abolitionists that he was acquainted with soon began to help fugitive slaves cross the Ohio River and head for Canada. This practice of defying the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 by helping fugitive slaves, became the historic Underground Railroad that operated north of the Ohio River.
In order to get a proper perspective of why, where and how the Underground Railroad was established and operatged, a brief history of slavery in the English colonies of North America helps explain the social and political conditions inherited by the United States; and the conditions that led to the formation of the UR and eventually to the American Civil War.
The enslavement of African people in the United States was the central issue of contention between the "North" and "South" factions from the time when the United States formed its Government in 1783, and continued to be the single most important issue of difference between the North and the South until slavery was ended by the "Northern" victory in the American Civil War in1865. Undoubtedly this issue still plays an important role as we enter the 21st Century. The biased attitudes toward blacks were formed over the combined 246 year history of slavery, first in the English colonies and later passed down to the United States.
During the Slavery Period of United States history (1776-1865), the Mason-Dixon Line was the political and ideological boundary between the "Northern Free States" and "Southern Slavocracy States". The Mason-Dixon Line had originally been established in 1667, in order to settle a disputed boundary between two English colonies; Maryland and Pennsylvania. The line derived its name from two British astronomers, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, who completed the surveyed the line . Initially the Mason-Dixon Line had nothing at all to do with the issue of slavery, as slavery was a legal practice in Pennsylvania just as it was in Maryland and Virginia. Pennsylvania didn't completely abolish slavery until after the American Revolution around 1783.
In 1820, during the political debates that took place in the U.S. Congress over the Missouri Compromise, the term Mason-Dixon Line was used to describe the western boundary between the North and the South as the Ohio River . From that time on, the Mason-Dixon Line was not only the boundary between (Pennsylvania and Maryland), but also included the boundary between (Pennsylvania and Virginia), and extended down the Ohio River between (Ohio and Virginia), (Ohio and Kentucky), ( Indiana and Kentucky), and (Kentucky and Illinois) all the way to the mouth of the Mississippi River. The Ohio River Mason-Dixon Line became the "front line" in the long war between slavery and the UR! Ohio had nearly 400 miles of border along the Ohio River with "western" Virginia. Our story covers about sixty-five miles along the river.
The Red Line on the Map shows the Mason-Dixon Line.
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