This Day in Indiana History - August 25, 1795 - Northwest Territorial Assembly Adjourns - Maxwell's Code Becomes Law
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Meeting in the town of Cincinnati, the Northwest Assembly revised and passed a series of laws for the newly created Northwest Territory that Northwest Territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair had compiled. The assembly passed the last of these laws on August 20, 1795 and adjourned on August 25.
Governor of Northwest Territory
President Washington appointed St. Claire as governor of the Northwest Territory in 1787. He would establish the Northwest Territory initially at Marietta, Ohio. Later the capital would move to Cincinnati, Ohio. He would serve as Territorial Governor of first the Northwest Territory, then the Ohio Territory until 1802.
Mathias Denman, Colonel Robert Patterson and Israel Ludlow established the settlement of Cincinnati in 1798 when they landed their boat on the north shore of the Ohio River. Surveyor John Filson called the town Losantiville when he platted the town. Governor Arthur St. Clair renamed the town "Cincinnati," when he moved the capital of the Northwest Territory to the town in 1790. St. Clair named it in honor of the Revolutionary War veteran group, Society of the Cincinnati, to which he belonged.
From June 1795 until August 1795, the Assembly worked at the task of recreating a set of laws for the Northwest Territory that had been in force, but to which Congress had objected. When they finished their task, the Governor turned their work over to printer William Maxwell of Cincinnati to publish. The published work became the first book printed in Ohio and formed the basis of law in the Northwest Territory until Congress formed the Indiana Territory in 1800 from the western portion of the Northwest Territory. The laws became known as Maxwell's Code, deriving their name from the printer, William Maxwell.