Sunday, December 28, 2003

Ohio moments


First settlers arrived by flatboat in 1788

On Dec. 28, 1788, the settlers of downtown Cincinnati landed flatboats on the north bank of the Ohio River at what is now the foot of Sycamore Street.

The party of about 26 men was led by Col. Robert Patterson, a Kentucky militiaman who had battled Indians in Ohio. Patterson, Matthias Denman and John Filson had agreed to pay $493 to land agent John Cleves Symmes for about 800 acres now bounded by Broadway on the east, Liberty Street to the north and Central Avenue to the west.

Dubbed Losantiville by Filson, the name acknowledged that the town was across from the mouth of Kentucky's Licking River. The "L" in the name represented the Licking, os was Latin for mouth, anti the Latin for opposite, and ville French for town.

Filson, the party's surveyor, disappeared before the landing and was killed by Indians. To secure themselves against the winter and Indian attack, the settlers built a cabin out of boat planks near what would become the corner of Front and Main streets.

Israel Ludlow, Filson's replacement, completed a survey Jan. 7, 1789. The settlers then drew for free lots near the river, which they agreed to build homes on within two years. Each also was to get a lot north of Seventh Street - so long as crops were raised on it for two years in a row. The town was renamed Cincinnati in 1790.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com or call (513) 768-8361




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