Colonel Israel Ludlow

Colonel Israel LudlowColonel Israel Ludlow was born in 1765 on a farm in New Jersey to Colonel Cornelius and Martha Ludlow (neé Lyon). In 1787, while still a young man, Ludlow received a letter from Thomas Hutchins, the first and only U.S. Geographer, who asked Ludlow to report to Judge John Cleves Symmes in order to survey Symmes' purchase of land and lay out a town at the mouth of the Licking River. In September of 1788 Ludlow arrived with a group of men and began surveying. By January of 1789, Ludlow had laid out a town called "Losantiville," which included 30 lots within the town and 30 lots outside of the town. General Arthur St. Clair, Governor of the Northwest Territory, created Hamilton County in January of 1790 and named Losantiville as the county seat. With the creation of the county there also came the creation of city and county officials. A militia was also created and Ludlow was named Captain of the local militia. St. Clair disliked the name Losantiville, however, and changed it to Cincinnati in honor of the Society of Cincinnati, which was named after the Roman statesman Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.

Ludlow Mansion at Ludlow Station, CincinnatiOnly a few years later, in August of 1795, Colonel Ludlow, General St. Clair, and General James Wilkinson agreed to buy land from Judge Symmes between the Great Miami River and the Mad River. By September of 1795 two surveying parties departed from Cincinnati to make their way to what would become Dayton. One party was set to cut a road from Cincinnati to the site, while another party, which included Ludlow, was set to plat a town for pioneer settlement. On 4 November 1795 Ludlow laid out the small plat of Dayton. He platted 280 lots within the city boundaries at 100 x 200 ft each, as well as 50 lots outside the city boundaries at 10 acres each. A group of 19 men from Cincinnati agreed to re to settle in Dayton, arriving with their families on 1 April 1796.

Ludlow returned to Cincinnati where he married Charlotte Chambers on 11 November 1796. After marrying Charlotte, Ludlow built a large home called Ludlow Mansion in Cincinnati at Ludlow Station. The couple had four children: James, Martha, Sarah, and Israel L. Ludlow. Sadly, Colonel Ludlow, the man who surveyed almost all of Ohio, died in 1804 at only 39 years old. He was initially interred in the Presbyterian graveyard in Cincinnati, but was later moved to Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery, where he remains, in section 113, lot 170.


  • H.B. Teetor. Sketch of the Life and Times of Col. Israel Ludlow. Cranston and Stowe, 1885.
  • "Israel Ludlow: The Man That Surveyed Ohio." Ohio History Connection
  • "Israel Ludlow." Ohio History Connection
  • W.H. Beers & Co. The History of Montgomery County, Ohio, Containing a History of the County. WH. Beers and Co, 1882