NETR logo

Congress Lands East of Scioto River

  • PLSS

Congress Lands East of the Scioto River is a 3.5 million acre tract of land lying east of the Scioto River, south of the Refugee Tract and the United States Military District (USMD), west of the Seven Ranges, the Donation Tract and the Ohio Company Purchase, and north of the Ohio River. Initially, the lands were to be bought by the Scioto Company from Congress, however, when the Scioto Company was unable to pay agreed upon price, the federal government retained control over them. Congress had all of the lands—except for a 25,200 acre tract known as the French Grants—surveyed into townships that were numbered from south to north, and ranges that were numbered from east to west starting at Range 8 West. Fractional townships exist along the meandering of the Scioto River at the westernmost extent of the tract. Irregularities of survey in this region of Congress Lands can be explained by the inaccuracies of early surveying practices and changing ordinances in federal law surrounding the surveyal of public lands.

Three square mile exceptions to the PLSS exist within Congress Lands East of the Scioto River: the Ebenezer Zane tracts. These tracts were granted to Ebenezer Zane by Congress as Zane had promised to build a road from Wheeling, Ohio to Limestone, Kentucky with three ferry sites crossing the the Muskingham River along the way. Congress allowed him three separate square-mile tracts surrounding each of the ferry sites where Zane would ferry travelers across the Muskingham. The sites are located near the present day towns of Chillicothe (T8 R21 & T1 R22), Lancaster (T14 R18 & T14 R19), and Zanesville (lying in both USMD and Congress Lands).