Fair-Play Men Law and Legal Definition

The Fair-Play Men were illegal settlers or squatters who established their own system of self-rule from 1773 to 1785 in the West Branch Susquehanna River valley of Pennsylvania. Because they settled in territory claimed by Native Americans, they had no recourse to the Pennsylvania colonial government. Accordingly the illegal settlers established a system known as the Fair Play System. Under this system they elected three commissioners annually to rule on the land claims and other issues for the group. These fair-play men had authority to decide all disputes as to boundaries. Their decisions were final and enforced by the whole community as a whole. The decisions are said to have been just and equitable.