The Symmes Purchase, also known as the Miami Purchase, was an area of land in Southwestern Ohio in what is now Hamilton, Butler, and Warren Counties. It was purchased by Judge John Cleves Symmes of New Jersey from the Continental Congress. In the 1780s, Benjamin Stites, a friend of Symmes', was visiting Limestone (now Maysville, Kentucky), and had some of his horses stolen by Native Americans. He pursued them through the wilderness of southwestern Ohio as far north as Xenia. He was so impressed with the fertility of the country he informed Symmes of its prospects and Symmes gathered a syndicate, known as the Miami Company, to buy the land.
Unfortunately, the survey conducted by Symmes's men was done poorly, e.g. the surveyors used magnetic north rather than correcting for true north. Further, Symmes sold much land that he did not own, some as far north as Dayton, meaning some early settlers found themselves squatters on the public domain. Symmes also sold some land that he did own more than once.
The Symmes Purchase survey is the only one in the United States where the ranges run from north to south and the townships from east to west. The section numbering is in accordance with the Land Ordinance of 1785. The survey here also was done to magnetic north rather than true north. Deeds in this area will refer to the Between the Miami Rivers Survey, M.Rs. and M.R.S. (M.R.S. is also used to describe the "Miami River Survey" a survey west of the Great Miami River.
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