William Croghan was
born in Ireland in 1752 and made his journey to
at a young age. In 1775,
he enlisted with the 8th Virginia Regiment.
In April 1776, he was promoted to captain and then to major
in the same year. He
continued to serve his country throughout the Revolutionary War.
In 1764, William Croghan and George Rogers Clark were commissioned
to survey the public lands of
which had been set aside to compensate the
veterans. William formed
a personal relationship with the Clark family and on
July 14, 1789
he was married to George’s sister, Lucy Clark.
Another sibling of George and Lucy was William Clark of the famed
Lewis & Clark expedition. A
slave belonging to William Croghan accompanied Lewis and Clark on
the expedition. Lewis
and Clark stopped at William and Lucy’s home, Locust Grove, in
on their return trip. In
addition to this famous duo, William and Lucy were hosts to James
Monroe, Andrew Jackson, and Aaron Burr.
William Croghan received his bounty land warrant in April 1800 as
consideration for his service as a major in the Army, but his name
can be found throughout land records in
as he was the principle surveyor of the
This raises questions regarding any role he may have had in choosing
the location of his land and if his ownership of land affected any
decisions he made as the principal surveyor in the Virginia Military
District. His land lay on the southeast corner of the
intersection of present day SR-36 and the Scioto River.
A close observation of the map indicates that William Croghan’s
land lies directly in the path of an irregularly shaped lot line
pattern on the military surveys.
It would suggest the lot boundaries were defined around an
existing feature; quite possibly an Indian trail.
Indian trails were popular with early explorers, and then used later
by the militia in the campaign to rid the Northwest Territory of
Indians, followed by the surveyors and settlers.
It is no secret that
Col. Ebenezer Zane benefited from a similar arrangement.
Col. Zane is known for building roads through the wilderness.
In return for building one particular road, Col. Zane
petitioned Congress for the right to purchase three tracts of land.
When Congress accepted Col. Zane’s proposal to construct
the new road, they granted him his request and he chose three
locations on the road he built.
They were where the road crossed the Muskingham,
. This proved to be a
profitable venture as settlers needed to cross rivers and profits
were obtained from operating flat boats and other commerce.
Many of these “river-crossing” communities thrived and
two of Col. Zane’s river crossings still exist today;
Turning back to our subject, William Croghan, we have to conclude
that if truly by coincidence, then at the very least; it is
suspicious that his land would be intersected by an Indian trail
leading to Delaware, an Indian trail running north to south along
the river, and the Scioto River; specifically at a ford in the river
which made it passable.
But, like Col. Zane’s
third crossing, also located on the
, William Croghan’s land did not share the success experienced at
other points on the river.