Ohio History Journal



In August of this year the city of Columbus celebrates its

150th birthday. In August 1797 Lucas Sullivant, a young Ken-

tucky surveyor, laid out the town of Franklinton just south of

the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers. Sullivant set

aside one street which he named Gift Street; the lots on it were

donated to those who became the first settlers of the town. The

settlement began immediately, with John Dixon the first settler.

Among the-other pioneers in Franklinton were John Brickell, who

had spent five years, 1791-95, as a captive of Indians on the Mau-

mee, and Jeremiah Armstrong, who was captured in 1794 and

adopted by the old Wyandot chief, Tarhe, the Crane, who lived

at Upper Sandusky.

When Franklinton was first settled, Indians were still living

in the area. There were Wyandots, Delawares, and Mingoes.

Their villages were located, on both sides of the Scioto, and their

cornfields were planted in Sullivant's Prairie. In a few years,

however, most of the Indians had departed, and the new Amer-

ican had established himself. By 1812, when the state capital

was platted on the east side of the Scioto, Franklinton was a

town of 400 or 500 people. Franklinton was destined to grow,

but its distinctiveness was lost in the rise of its twin city, Co-

lumbus. In 1870 it was absorbed by the state's capital city. In

the past century and a half Columbus has grown from a few

families in Franklinton to the metropolis of Central Ohio, with

a population of over 400,000; it has developed from a lusty

frontier village into a great commercial and industrial center.

An anniversary, especially a sesquicentennial, is an event for

celebration and the expression of pride. It should also be a

time for reflection, a time to look back over the years and dis-

cover whether the ideals of the city have kept pace with its physical

growth. Columbus today has the problems of government and

cultural unity typical of most of America's fast-growing towns.

A study of its past should awaken a common pride or civic con-

sciousness and furnish the background for directing the people

toward solving municipal problems and building a beautiful and

happy city.