Prominent Local Figures: Israel Ludlow

Although not very well known, Ludlow accomplished a lot in 39 years. Like Jonathan Dayton and James Wilkinson, Ludlow was from New Jersey, near Morristown.

Ludlow was a surveyor and town planner, helping to found Dayton, Cincinnati, and Hamilton, Ohio. Hamilton, Dayton, and Cincinnati all have a Ludlow street in his honor.

Cincinnati – Ludlow surveyed Cincinnati, which was almost named Losantiville, a composite of words meaning “city across from the mouth of the Licking River.” The “L” was for the Licking River, “os was Latin for the river’s mouth, “anti” was Greek for opposite, and “ville” was French for city. Ludlow decided instead to name it Cincinnati, after the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of former officers of the American Revolution. The society was named after a retired Roman dictator, Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.

Hamilton – As a proprietor, Ludlow laid out Hamilton in 1794. Initially the town was to be called Fairfield, but was later changed to Hamilton in honor of Alexander Hamilton. Ludlow was sole proprietor of Hamilton, donating $4,200 for the construction of a county courthouse.

Dayton – As a group, Jonathan Dayton, Israel Ludlow, Arthur St. Clair, James Wilkinson, and William McMillan agreed to purchase ranges 7 and 8 of the Miami Purchase, located between Mad River and Little Miami River from John Cleves Symmes. It was later discovered that Symmes did not own the land, so they had to buy the land directly from the federal government. Dayton was platted into 330 lots, 280 being in-lots, and 50 being out-lots. The first settlers of Dayton were to receive one of each type of lot, the locations of which were chosen by lottery.

Later Years –

Ludlow’s Station – located along Mill Creek, it was abandoned by settlers fearing Native American attacks in 1794.

Greenville Treaty Line – Present day Greenville, Ohio. Ludlow was hired to survey the treaty line after the 1795 treaty between General Anthony Wayne and several Native American tribes in the Northwest territory.

Ludlow Line – In 1798, Ludlow surveyed land from the Great Miami River to a line north from the Ohio River at the mouth of the Great Miami. This line became Ohio’s western boundary. In 1804, this nearly 42 mile line was adopted by Congress and named the Ludlow Line.

In his later years, Ludlow married Charlotte Chambers, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and they had four children. In the same year as his youngest son’s birth, Ludlow became ill and died four days later on January 21, 1804. He was buried with Masonic honors at the Presbyterian Graveyard, then later move to Spring Grove Cemetery – both of which are in Cincinnati.

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