Clark County, Ohio

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Israel Ludlow

Few names are more thoroughly identified with the lands known as the "Symmes Purchase," or indicated by the mystical M R S (Miami Rivers Survey) found upon the field books of all the old surveyors of this broad quarter of Ohio, than the one at the head of this article.

In 1788, three persons, viz., Matthias Denman, Robert Patterson and John Filson purchased a tract of land, amounting to something less than two whole sections, where the city of Cincinnati now stands, and came to the spot with the intention of laying a town there. This land was purchased from John Cleves Symmes, who was also interested in the new enterprise. Patterson appears to have been the "moneyed" head of the concern, while Filson, who was an ex-school teacher, general linguist, etc., was to act as surveyor. Denman was a sort of "advance agent" and heralded the scheme to those afar off. In September, 1788, this party, together with a few Kentuckians as escort, undertook to explore the country a few miles north of the Ohio River, when Filson became separated from the main party and was killed by a band of straggling Indians. "The locality of this occurrence was not far from the northern boundary line of Hamilton County, and northeast corner of Colerain Township."

The circumstance of Filson's death seems to have staggered matters "opposite the mouth of the Licking," and the whole party retreated to Limestone (now Maysville), Kentucky, where, in the language of one of the party, "another man, Israel Ludlow, was engaged to supply as best he might, the place of Filson;" in December of the same year (1788), the party returned, and in January, 1789, the first survey of Cincinnati was completed by Mr. Ludlow, and his future connection with the land established. From this beginning he became one of the most prominent members of the little colony which huddled around Fort Washington.

He was the surveyor who laid out the city of Dayton, in which he was an interested partner, and for twelve or fifteen years was engaged in dividing the public lands of this "grand tract." Mr. Ludlow's contract with the Government was for $3 a mile for the survey.

From the head-stone which marks his grave, in the churchyard of the First Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, the following inscription is copied:

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
ISRAEL LUDLOW,
One of the Original Proprietors of Cincinnati,
who departed this life at
Ludlow's Station,
January 21, A.D. 1804,
in the 39th year of his age.


From History of Clark County, Ohio, W.H. Beers & Co. 1881. Page 343-344







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