The Ohio Company, founded in 1747, represented the trading and land prospecting interests of a handful of Virginia planters. Thomas Lee was appointed president, Nathaniel Chapman served as treasurer, and John Mercer was both secretary and general council. In that year, John Mercer's son, George Mercer, was appointed the company's representative in England. In 1748 the British Crown approved a land grant to the company to be administered by the Colony of Virginia. The grant covered the Ohio territory, a colloquial term for what is now modern day West Virginia, much of Ohio, western Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland. Governor Robert Dinwiddie, a member of company, required that the company develop trade with the Indians, erect forts, and settle one hundred families to secure the grant. The company employed frontiersman Christopher Gist to survey the area of the grant in 1750. Two years later, Iroquois leaders signed a treaty at Loggstown, Pennsylvania, a large Native American settlement on the Ohio near the forks. Gist was representative of the Ohio Company and Colonel Joshua Fry represented the colony of Virginia at the negotiations. The Ohio territory was also claimed by the French, who began erecting forts in the Ohio Valley in reaction to the Treaty at Loggstown and other factors. By the beginning of the French and Indian War in 1754, the Ohio Company's efforts were largely stymied, despite its continued existence until its formal dissolution in 1779. Other members of the company included Virginians George Mason, brothers Lawrence, Augustine, and George Washington, Governor Robert Dinwiddie, and British merchant John Hanbury. The Ohio Company and Pennsylvania frontier history was of great interest to a handful of late nineteenth century American scholars, among them William M. Darlington. Darlington acquired the papers in this collection in the 1870s, and published a volume of Christopher Gist's journals. Multiple copies of the Gist journals have been published, the earliest as an appendix to Thomas Pownall's 1776 A Topographical Description of North America. In the 1950s, there was a second upsurge of interest in the frontier history of the eastern United States. In the 1940s and 1950s, Lois Mulkearn, the first Darlington Memorial Librarian, took up an extensive study of the Ohio Company papers collected by William Darlington. Mulkearn wrote the George Mercer Papers, the authoritative volume on the Ohio Company Papers, particularly the Case of the Ohio Company compiled by George Mercer.
From the description of Records of the Ohio Company, 1736-1813 [electronic resource]. (University of Pittsburgh). WorldCat record id: 671392003
By the Treaty of Lancaster, 1744, the Iroquois nation deeded a substantial portion of the Ohio Valley to the British crown. Three years later in 1747 a group of prominent Virginians organized the Ohio Company and then petitioned for the grant in 1748. After deliberation by the Privy Council and Board of Trade, the grant was approved and issued on July 13, 1749. The following year the Company sent Christopher Gist to survey the territory. His activities, including further negotiations with the Indians and a small settlement, alerted the French who immediately began fortifying the Ohio River, precipitating the French and Indian War in 1755.
From the description of Petition to the King for settling the Ohio River valley, 1748. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 56133287