Who’s Birthday Is It? How About Cincinnati!

December 28th is the unofficial birthday of Cincinnati!

Cincinnati in 1800.

That’s right 234 years ago the first surveyors landed on the landing right around where Walnut street would meet the river today.  Gather around and let me tell you the story!

We begin in 1787 when a New Jersey Man named Mathias Denman decided to purchase  from John Cleves Symmes, 800 acres of land in south west Ohio between the Little and Great Miami rivers across from the mouth of the Licking river.

The river back then was much different then than it is today.  No dams, no maintained water levels, shallow in spots.

Denman had fought in the militia during the revolutionary war and took advantage of land grants awarded to him for his service. He owned land in Central Ohio as well as in Kentucky. He saw an opportunity to build a ferry over the Ohio River to Kentucky. It was also a great spot for a settlement.

He partnered with two men Robert Patterson and John Filson.  Robert Patterson who had been in Kentucky for a few years building a fort in what is now Georgetown, KY and helping to build the community of Lexington.  Patterson was in charge of finding settlers.  Deman also asked John Filson to join.

The Ichabod Kane like John Filson, was a teacher and a scholar.  He wrote the first “History of Kentucky”.  If it wasn’t for John Filson, Daniel Boone would not have been a household name.  Filson was in charge of surveying the land and mapping out the lots.

There was initial meeting in September of 1788.  The three land speculators with their team, met up with Symmes and his team to map out the 800 acres together.  On this trip Filson was separated from the group up near where Colerain Township is now and was never seen again.

Israel Ludlow who had been working for John Symmes took Filsons’ place in the group.  After meeting as a group, Patterson returned home to Lexington to advertise for settlers, Denman returned to New Jersey, and Ludlow to Limestone, now Maysville to gather supplies.  They made plans to return in early December 1788, however, due to ice in the river, they didn’t start out until December 28,1788.

Upon landing in the area, the first cabin was built by Joel Williams who was part of Ludlows’ survey team. It stood about where the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame is now. It was a very small two room cabin with a dirt floor and a fire place.

Next Joel build his own cabin which also doubled as a tavern.  It was located about where the fountains shoot out of the ground across from Morlein House.

Cincinnati just kept growing and changing and growing some more.   We are still changing and growing and making new history every day!

At first the city was named “Losantiville”. This name is made of four words from different languages. It means “The city opposite the mouth of Licking River”. “Ville” is French for city, “anti” is Greek for opposite, “os” is Latin for mouth and “L” is all that was involved with the Licking River.

We are so lucky to live in such an amazing town! Happy Birthday Cincinnati!

We sure do love you ! ❤️

Article submitted by George Stewart, President of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution

Below is also another article published about the founding of Cincinnati



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