Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

264 Ohio Arch

264         Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


disclosed by the falling in of walls, it is hoped that further explorations

may develop additional tablets and other important relics.

In this connection it may not be inappropriate to state that an in-

scribed stone was taken from another mound of the Grave Creek system

many years ago, and deposited in the museum of Hampden-Sydney Col-

lege, Virginia. It cannot be found, but Doctor Marters, member of the

House of Delegates, who carried the relic to Richmond, testifies to the




[The following sketch of the life of John Filson is reprinted from The Cin-

cinnati Times-Star of recent date. John Filson was one of the most influential char-

acters in the early history of Ohio and Kentucky, and the following article is well

worthy of permanent preservation.-EDITOR.]

One of the least familiar and at the same time one of the most

fascinating chapters in the history of Cincinnati and of Kentucky is the

story of the life of John Filson, the actual founder of Cincinnati, the

first historian and geographer of Kentucky, the biographer of Daniel

Boone, the man of peace among the warlike pioneers of the Middle

West of the eighteenth century. Filson's name is barely mentioned by

the historians of a later day.  Some of the most complete historical

works, such as that of Bancroft, overlook him entirely. To his memory

there is not a single monument. Even the street in Cincinnati which

was named after him has had its title changed and is now known as

Plum street. The picturesque name, "Losantiville," which he gave to the

city he had laid out opposite the most northerly point of Kentucky, has

vanished from the maps and the gazetteers. Filson's memory is kept

green only through one organization, the Filson Club of Louisville, which

has published a biography of the pioneer, embodying all the known facts

of his life and his services to his country.

One reason why Filson's name has not been preserved in history

to a greater extent may be found in the fact that he was not a fighting

man. In an era when deeds of bloodshed were celebrated to the exclu-

sion of the more peaceful but more useful arts of the teacher, the sur-

veyor and the farmer, such an oversight is quite natural.

Even the date of John Filson's birth is not known. It is known

that he was the second son of Davidson Filson of Brandywine, Pa.,

himself the son of one John Filson) an English pioneer. John Filson,

the explorer, probably was born about 1741, but there is only collateral

evidence of that fact. What his early life and education were can only

be conjectured by piecing together the accounts that have come down

of what colonial life in general was in the middle of the eighteenth

century. It is recorded, however, that he received some instruction in

his youth from the Rev. Samuel Finley, afterwards president of New

Jersey College, and it was from this learned man that he probably obtained

the smattering of Latin, Greek and French he is known to have possessed.