The wilderness northwest of the Ohio River was ready to be settled and Manasseh Cutler was determined to have his conditions included in the Northwest Ordinance: free universal education, freedom of religion and prohibition of slavery. He was not sure that he could succeed in his mission. He was just a small-town minister, what did he know about talking to Congress. But he headed off alone in his one-horse shay and covered 302 miles in twelve days to arrive in New York and deliver his petition to Congress. After many days and much arm twisting, the ordinance passed. The first pioneers left New England for the Northwest Territory in 1788 to settle in a town they named Marietta. I always enjoy the way David McCullough brings history to life. The people and places become real, not just names in a book. This story is told through the diaries and letters of five characters: Cutler and his son Ephraim, General Rufus Putnam, Dr. Samuel Hildreth, and Joseph Barker, a self-taught architect. It spans more than sixty years, and takes the traffic on the river from barges to the steamboat. This was a very good book and I highly recommend it.
eGalley review Publication date 5.7.19
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