Loyal Land Company

n 1749 a number of prominent Virginia adventurers established the Loyal Company with the purpose of petitioning for a large grant of land west of the Allegheny Mountains. Charter members of the company included Peter Jefferson, Joshua Fry, Thomas Walker, James Maury, and Thomas Meriwether (Meriwether Lewis's grandfather).

In 1749 the company received a patent for 800,000 acres located along the southern border of Virginia (now southeastern Kentucky). The grant contained a provision that required settlement of the land within four years. The Loyal Company twice secured a renewal of the grant. In 1763, however, the crown rejected further extension of the grant as part of the ban on western settlements that accompanied the Proclamation of 1763. Nevertheless, by this time the Loyal Company had completed many surveys of its land patent and the company's land claims were later upheld. Legal activities involving the company continued until 1842.

A short time after the founding of the Loyal Company, the Reverend James Maury (1717-1769) read Joshua Fry's copy of Daniel Coxe's A Description of the English Province of Carolana (London, 1722) that espoused symmetrical geography (see Item 12). Maury was minister of the Fredericksville Parish from 1751 until 1769 and an enthusiastic student of the geography of North America. The Coxe book described a powerful Missouri River flowing into the Mississippi and providing an easy route to the Pacific Ocean. This passage to the West aroused the enthusiasm of Maury and other members of the Loyal Company, many of whom served on the Fredericksville Parish vestry board.

In 1753 the Loyal Company acted on its enthusiasm for the West by planning an expedition up the Missouri River and to the Pacific Ocean. Thomas Walker was to lead the expedition but the adventure never took place because the French and Indian War intervened. It is likely that Thomas Jefferson, who was ten years old at the time, heard about this expedition from his father and from James Maury, who tutored him for two years. Meriwether Lewis also may have heard about this expedition from his family connections or from his tutor, James Maury's son, Matthew.

Peter Jefferson, was involved in a company promoting westward settlement to Kentucky and Tennessee. Peter was one of the first of the tidewater planters to move out to the Piedmont area of Virginia. He helped survey the state and create the Jefferson-Fry map of Virginia, published in London in 1751 under the Royal Geographer, Jeffreys. In1749, Peter Jefferson, Joshua Fry, Dr. Thomas Walker, and James Maury formed the "Loyal Land Company" to buy and promote land purchases west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Walker was the first non-Indian to cross the Blue Ridge into Kentucky, and charted the Cumberland Gap.

Peter Jefferson and his associates believed in a concept called symmetrical geography. This concept theorized that all North American rivers sprang from a single source, a great lake centered on the continent, called Thoyaga. Flowing from Thoyaga was a navigable river which flowed to the Pacific. They also believed that since river tributaries which flowed to the Atlantic passed so close to tributaries which led to the Mississippi, the same situation would probably hold true of Missouri River tributaries and Western rivers which flowed to the Pacific.

The Loyal Land Company dedicated their efforts to finding a passage through the mountains to the Pacific. This passage could make them very rich men - an easy way to the spices and minerals of the east, particularly China - a dream of explorers since the time of Columbus. The French and Indian War put an end to the land company's plan, of which ten-year-old Thomas Jefferson was surely aware. In fact, even after Peter Jefferson's death when his son was 14, one of the partners of the land company, James Maury, served as young Thomas' tutor. Maury described the Loyal Land Company plan:

Some persons were to be sent in search of that river Missouri, if that be the right name of it, in order to discover whether it had any communication with the Pacific Ocean; they were to follow the river if they found it, and make exact reports of the country they passed through, the distances they traveled, what worth of navigation those rivers and lakes afforded, &c.

Wikipedia draft

'''Loyal Land Company''' or Loyal Company of Virginia was a land speculation company formed in [[Virginia]] in 1749 for the purpose of recruiting settlers to western Virginia. The company continued operations until December 16, 1773 though litigation on behalf of and against the company continued until 1872.
On July 12, 1748 the Virginia Council, the executive body of the Virginia [[House of Burgesses]], approved a grant of 800,000 acres (324,000 hectares) to a consortium of investors. The grant was located west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, north of the undefined border with North Carolina and on the "western waters", i.e. in the Ohio Valley watershed.Unlike the [[Ohio Company]] which was required to recruit settlers to its lands, the Loyal Company was given four years to file surveys on the lands it claimed.

===French and Indian War===

===Proclamation of 1763===

===American Revolution===

== References ==
<!—- See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Footnotes on how to create references using <ref></ref> tags which will then appear here automatically —>
Henderson, Archibald. Dr. Thomas Walker and the Loyal Company of Virginia. Worcester, Mass.: The Society, 1931.

== External links ==

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