Each States Claim to the Strip

John Mitchell map of Michigan

The original map of Michigan. The Ohio Officials wrote their constitution with this in mind (Mitchell).

A Map highlighting the bottom edge of the great lakes and where the border should have been.

A Map highlighting the bottom edge of the great lakes and where the border should have been according to the Northwest Ordinance ("Map of Maumee Bay").

The Toledo strip was going to be used to build a canal that would allow steamships access to the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes and eventually connect to New York City and Philadelphia. The Northwest territory which was formed in 1787 and was to be divided up into no less than three states and no more than 5 (Mendenhall, 1895). Ohio was the first state from the territory to apply for statehood. Which meant it got first choice of borders.

Ohioans in the early 1800's were industrial, agricultural, but mainly commerce driven. The Ohioans desired for anything that would help them reach the markets of the East Coast. The Maumee Bay was one of them. During the constitunal convention for the state of Ohio in 1802 when the delegates were under the position that Ohio would get Maumee Bay due to a lack of surveying done at the time to find the tip of the lake. While the delagtes were writing up the portion of the constitution with the northern border, a fur trapper gave them a report that the southern edge of Lake Michigan runs much farther south than they had imagined (Mendenhall, 1895). This caused immense panic among the delegates, so they decided to put a clause in the state constitution that angled the line up to include Maumee Bay.

The state of Michigan according to the ordinance was to get all land north of the extreme line of the Great Lakes (Northwest Ordinance, 1787). That is what was decided in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Simple and factual, the Michiganders at the time were unaware that Ohioans had begun infiltrating the strip as well as claimed it as their own. The Michiganders were decades away from statehood at the time, and almost needed Ohio's presence, but it became too much and that the claims to the land were too strong to give up.

The provision that Ohio placed into their constitution was solely to protect Ohio's interest regardless of what the ordinance says. The states interest should have been irrelevant when the federal government creates an ordinance that is supreme over the state law due to the supremacy clause. 

Each States Claim to the Strip