Ohio History Journal



On Saturday, December 9, 1927, the Franklin County

Pioneer Association, founded in 1866, met in the south-

west room of the Franklinton Public School Building,

for the purpose of unveiling, and presenting to the city,

a bronze tablet marking the home of Lucas Sullivant,

founder of Franklinton.

The house that Lucas Sullivant built (or a part of

it) is now incorporated in the larger buildings of the

House of the Good Shepherd, and it was by the gracious

permission of the lovely Superior of that order, Mother

Mary of St. Agnes (since deceased) that the Pioneer


Vol. XXXVII-11.

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162      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

Association was enabled to place the tablet on the outer

wall of the convent, on the southwest corner of Broad

and Sandusky Streets.

A complimentary audience gathered to attend the

exercises, and an interesting program was carried out.

The presentation was made to the city of Columbus

by Mr. Frank Tallmadge, chairman of the Executive

Committee, and an originator and prime mover of this

undertaking. In a speech to Mayor James J. Thomas,

he stressed the desirability of teaching local history to

the rising generation.

The principal feature of the afternoon was the de-

livery of an address by Mr. Andrew Denny Rodgers, III,

great-great-grandson of Lucas Sullivant. Mr. Rodgers

has not only read many books, but has made careful

examination of all available court records bearing on

his subject, as well as of deeds and other documents,

making trips for that purpose to Chillicothe, Circleville

and Springfield. Indeed, he has left no stone unturned

to authenticate every statement he has made.





The American and French Revolutions over and the new

Constitution in operation, the government of the fifteen United

States, in the latter part of the 1780's, turned its attention to the

development and cultivation of the almost unknown country to

the west of the Alleghanies. The "winning of the west" pre-

sented an immense test of national strength. For the task was

not an easy one. No national bank, no postal system, no rail-

road, canal or turnpike could be utilized, for the very good

reason that none were in existence. And merely a population

of less than four million persons, residing "almost wholly on

the Atlantic Coast," could assist in this undertaking!

By a simple resolution of the Continental Congress all

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated 163

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated         163


territorial lands had been declared of the national domain. But

the territories were comparatively uninhabited. In New York

but few people had pierced the far west of the Mohawk Valley,

although some pioneers had gone as far as Lake Ontario and the

rivers tributary thereto. In Pennsylvania, "settlers had pressed

westward more or less thickly to the lower elevations of the

Alleghanies and beyond, in the Pittsburgh regions, although what

is now West Virginia had only squatters here and there." In

northern Kentucky, along the Ohio River, lay several settle-

ments -- yet the combined population of West Virginia and

Kentucky aggregated less than one-half of the present popula-

tion of Columbus.

Virginians had "betaken themselves southwestward to the

head of the Tennessee River." However, in the course of these

migrations, the tales of John Finley regarding another land had

become current -- a land "watered by magnificent streams, garbed

in luxurious herbage, splendidly timbered, abounding in all sorts

of game" but spotted with beautiful "extensive plains." Daniel

Boone had written, "nature is here in a series of wonder and a

fund of delight." This was Kentucky, a vast country in which,

while replete with natural beauty, no man's life was safe, "owing

to the revolution in the east and the constant Indian warfare."

Contrasting this situation with the comfortable plantation

life of Virginia, with its superabundance of slaves, its rare cul-

ture and tradition, the wealth of opportunities within its imme-

diate state borders, its amusement-loving people, sheltered by a

good government of law and order, one has difficulty in discov-

ering any other reasons for leaving this delightful country than

a spirited desire to achieve the original or an unquenchable thirst

for adventure.

Nevertheless, in the early '80's from Mecklenburg County,

Virginia, came Lucas Sullivant, a young man, having adopted

the occupation of surveyor, following the example of George

Washington, and rejecting the further care of a good tobacco

farm, the balance of a large plantation to which had been at-

tached many slaves. Lucas' grandfather had been an early resi-

dent of North Carolina, holding a government appointment in

that colony. His mother, Hannah Lucas, is said to have been

"a self-reliant character" who "herself gave to her sons the rudi-

ments of their education." His father, however, was "of a social

disposition, careless and rather dissipated." Both parents dying

before he attained his majority, Lucas was left to buffet the world

alone. "Notwithstanding," we are told, his "energy, industry

and good character secured him good friends and considerate

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advisers, among whom was Colonel William Starling," who later

became his father-in-law.

Col. Starling later moved to Kentucky. Whether he per-

suaded Lucas that there were better opportunities in "the West,"

or whether Lucas hoped to reproduce his exciting experiences as

a member of an expedition against the Indians near Augusta, we

do not know, but suffice it to say he came to Kentucky to

continue his activity as a surveyor, accumulating enough capital

there to buy a home at Washington.

While satisfying the bounties of unappropriated lands within

a part of the Virginia commonwealth (now Tennessee and Ken-

tucky) surveying became a most estimable profession. These

bounties had been offered by the State to her officers and soldiers

of the Continental and State Lines to induce enlistment during the

Revolution. The surveyors were made responsible for their

allotment. The system called for the appointment by the "gov-

ernor with advice of council of surveyors to be nominated,

examined and commissioned for the purpose of surveying and

apportioning" the lands. With the aid and under the direction

of superintendents appointed by the officers, to whom "power to

choose the best land" was extended, the surveyors proceeded to

survey in proportions fixed according to the rank of the soldier.

And, after the survey, the portions of each rank were numbered.

Whereupon, the officers and soldiers drew lots for the numbers,

which were then located at their expense as soon as they and

the surveyors thought "proper."

But with the opening of the land "northwest of the Ohio

River" by the great Ordinance of 1787, another Land Office

was opened near the Falls of the Ohio (at present near Louis-

ville), under Colonel Richard C. Anderson, father of Governor

Anderson, of Ohio, and of Major Anderson, the "gallant de-

fender" of Fort Sumter in the Civil War. This territory, claimed

by the French and British successively, had been ceded definitely

to the United States by the two Treaties of Paris. Virginia had

claimed a large portion of it as her "County of Botetourt" and

later as her "County of Illinois" and had made unsuccessful

attempts to establish small settlements and a government there.

Up to the time of the Ordinance, Congress, fearful of Indian

unrest and more concerned with the developments along the

Atlantic coast and abroad, did not encourage emigration to these

lands. The Indian "Council of the Confederates" had sent Con-

gress a very polite remonstrance reminding that body that the

whites had not obtained the Indian title and begged that "your

surveyors and other people" should not be allowed "on our side

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated 165

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated          165


of the river." So lives in this territory were not as safe as in

Kentucky. It was to be expected that except for a few settlers

along the Ohio, some despondent French ones in the north around

the Maumee, a few traders in Indian villages and the inhabitants

of a few Moravian missionary settlements in the east, no white

person dwelt within the territory.

Besides Virginia, several of the original states claimed por-

tions of this undeveloped land. As far back as 1779, the Conti-

nental Congress had requested them to cede these claims to the

United States for the "common benefit of union." Virginia, in

an eminently national spirit, within a few years, executed her

famous Deed of Cession, relinquishing her claim to the territory;

but fortunately for herself, conditioned the grant that if certain

lands upon the Cumberland River and between the Green River

and Tennessee River should be insufficient to pay her military

land bounties, "the deficiency should be made up in good lands

between the rivers Scioto and Little Miami." Thus the United

States government became a great trustee of this land for the

Virginia officers and soldiers of the Continental Line.

Settlers began to venture across the Ohio. The Ordinance,

it was thought, sealed civil and religious liberty. "For the first

time in history, a great empire was dedicated to freedom and

public education."

Marietta, named for Marie Antoinette, was established in

1788 near Fort Harmar, at the mouth of the Muskingum River,

by an "Ohio Land Company" composed of forty-eight Massachu-

setts people who came by "hoof, wheel and keel." This company

owned a million and a half acres and had been, through the efforts

of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, largely instrumental in procuring the

passage of the Ordinance and the provision against slavery within

the territory.*  In the same year, opposite the mouth of the

Licking River where the great Indian trail crossed the Ohio,

Losantiville, of which Fort Washington was a part, and North

Bend were settled by thirty members of a company of New

Jersey people, owning several millions of acres between the Ohio

and the Miami Rivers. Today these settlements are combined

to make up, in part, Cincinnati. Manchester, Gallipolis, Hamilton

and Dayton, in order named, had their origins by settlements

along streams, the highway of the pioneer.

Theoretically, civil liberty may have been guaranteed by the

Ordinance, but certainly, actual safety was not to be realized for

* The Ordinance of 1787 was written by Nathan Dane, who was chiefly

instrumental in its enactment. See Galbreath, C. B., "The Ordinance of

1787, its Origin and Authorship," in the Ohio Archaeological and Historical

Publications, XXXIII, pp. 111-175.

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some time. Up to the War of 1812, these two forts were

the only ones in the central and southern portions of what is

now Ohio, afforded the protection of federal troops. For this

reason the growth of the first decade was slow -- the population

of the entire territory, up to 1798, not exceeding 5000 persons.

Here, again, the surveyor was to precede civilization. The

agents of the officers and soldiers of Virginia reported to Con-

gress that there was an "unexpected" deficiency of good land on

the "southeasterly side of the River Ohio" to satisfy the Vir-

ginia bounties. Complying with the condition of the Virginia

Grant, Congress passed an act creating the "Virginia Military

District, containing 4,209,800 acres of land, the largest reserva-

tion or grant in Ohio and embracing the very richest of her

agricultural lands." The act further authorized the agents of

the officers and soldiers of the Continental Line to make "loca-

tions, surveys and allotments," but required, however, that "the

bounds of each location and survey" be entered in a book kept

for that purpose, annexing thereto the name of the party orig-

inally entitled to the entry and survey. This provision for names

in the entries constituted the only essential difference between the

surveying method used on the land southeast of the Ohio River

and that to be used in the Virginia Military District -- Virginia,

having prescribed for both districts the faulty and most con-

fusing "indiscriminate location plan," or "Crazy Quilt Plan," as

it has been called, as opposed to the even, intelligent "rectangular

plan" to be used later on the east side of the Scioto.

Lucas Sullivant must have become a proficient surveyor

while in Kentucky. Whether he engaged in land location while

there, we do not know. If he did, it is possible that he came

to, this vicinity as early as 1787, for within two weeks after the

opening of Col. Anderson's office, in which Lucas was a deputy

surveyor, entries were made on Darby Creek land and on the

west bank of the Scioto River where Columbus is now situated.

Whether the date of the entry is the date the entry was actually

made on the land or the date on which it was copied into the

records of the principal surveyor, we cannot ascertain; and

whether the entry was made by physical entrance upon the land

or by allotment at the principal surveyor's office, is slightly prob-

lematical. Since the entry served as the basis of title for the

owner of the military warrant, vesting in him an equitable title

of inheritance which merged with the legal title only when the

patent was issued; and since the law required that the entry

descriptive bounds be sufficiently precise and notorious to include

a locative object, e.g., a tree near a spring, in vicinity of some

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated 167

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated         167


notorious natural object, e.g., a spring, the entry was of such

importance that it must have been made by locators, either

mounted or on foot upon the land and copied into the books

upon their return to the principal surveyor's office. Should one

entry overlap another, the entry was withdrawn and the war-

rantee or his agent, second in point of time, had to seek out

other lands.

We do not know who these agents or locators were. Ohio

courts, however, have clung to a presumption that "the entry

and survey were made by the same person or under the same

authority." If this presumption be fact, four of the deputy

surveyors of the Virginia Military District, Nathaniel Massie,

John Beasley, Lucas Sullivant and John O'Bannon may have

entered in or near this land, fraught with more dangers than

any other section of the country, as early as August 8, 1787.

Be that as it may, over eight years elapsed before these

locators were to come or return as surveyors to the territory

which the west side of our city covers. In 1795, Lucas Sullivant,

accompanied by James Kent and Edward Walden, as chain car-

riers, and Abram Shepard, as marker, made, among others, survey

numbers 497, 513 and 515 on Darby Creek. The Indians becom-

ing hostile, he returned to Kentucky. There, into Lucas' hand,

among others, fell a warrant issued to "Richard Stephenson, heir

at law of Colonel Hugh Stephenson." He immediately "set on

foot" an inquiry "to find the owner of the warrant." Discovering

that Richard Stephenson had died before attaining his majority,

and being advised that he left certain brothers and sisters then

living in Kentucky, Lucas Sullivant, on April 14, 1796, negotiated

an agreement with persons purporting to be the rightful heirs,

whereby he agreed to finance the surveying expedition to locate

new lands, and they agreed to convey to him one-half of what

he surveyed as a consideration for his services.

Whether Lucas selected the land near the supposed head-

waters of the Scioto for this new entry because of Daniel Boone's

description that this valley was "exceedingly fertile" and "re-

markable for fine springs and streams of waters," must be left

to conjecture. Undoubtedly he was influenced by the achieve-

ments of Nathaniel Massie, the greatest of Virginia Military

District surveyors, and his party, including Col. John McDonald,

his personal friend and biographer, and Duncan McArthur, later

a prominent surveyor and one of Ohio's early governors. This

party had, on April first, laid out the borough of Chillicothe and

were planning a surveying expedition of a chain of entries made

in 1787, up the river to and including the land north of and to

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the east of what is now Guilford Avenue, in Columbus, for one

Robert Vance, John Trabue and others. Their expedition was

completed in October of 1796. Replying to the question whether

or not Mr. Sullivant thought at this time that an entry made on

the land west of the present Guilford Avenue, of this city, was

so centrally located that it might eventually become a part of

the capital of a state not yet formed, our answer must be in

the negative, for state lines were not yet established and the

Northwest Territory was a vast region extending as far west as

Wisconsin. At any rate, upon this land he made entry for

Richard Stephenson in June, 1796.

Concerning his route from Kentucky, we can only guess. He

may have come up the Scioto with or following Massie; up the

Little Miami or Deer Creek where John O'Banion had been

surveying; or he may have followed an "old hunting road from

the Kentucky country to Chillicothe past a remarkable Indian

encamping ground" and then cut his way through the wilderness

to this vicinity. "Zane's Trace," a route from Limestone or

Maysville, Kentucky, through Chillicothe, Lancaster and Wheel-

ing, afterward to become "the prime factor in Ohio's develop-

ment," had been ordered cut. Ebenezer Zane, however, did not

open this until 1797. In Gen. Beatty's address before the Frank-

linton Centennial in 1897, he said that not until 1798 did Capt.

Joseph Hunter, the first settler of Fairfield County, pass over it.

The fact is that practically no other white men had ever

been over this ground prior to the Massie and Sullivant expedi-

tions. La Salle, the French explorer, may have dipped down in

or near this portion of the state to the Ohio River. Christopher

Gist, an agent of "The Ohio Company," had come in 1750 to

what is now Coshocton, passed the pool, later to become "Buckeye

Lake," on to Lancaster, and proceeded southward. On good

authority, however, it is said that he "visited Logstown, passed

over the Muskingum   River and at a Wyandot village there

met Croghan, another famous frontiersman, who accompanied

him to the Shawnee village of the Scioto." Several white Indian

captives, including Jeremiah Armstrong and perhaps his brother,

Robert, Jonathan Alder, James Smith and possibly Daniel Boone,

had been brought or came to or near this country. Six months

before the firing of the shot "heard around the world," Col.

William Crawford, at the head of an expedition during the

"Lord Dunmore War" against the Indians, accomplished an

almost complete massacre of a Mingo Indian settlement on the

east bank of the Scioto.

Only fifteen years before, the first white girl born in Ohio

had been born in an eastern settlement. The reasons for this

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated 169

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated         169


dearth of white explorers and inhabitants are obvious. The In-

dian hazard was too great, although the Treaty of Greenville,

in response to Wayne's victory in the Battle of Fallen Timbers,

had reduced the danger. Congress had not encouraged even the

"squatters" of the "Northwest." Up to 1795, the meager gov-

ernment of the Northwest Territory was not sufficiently strong

to pass any laws, let alone enforce them, except the few framed

by Governor St. Clair and the territorial judges to rectify par-

ticular conditions.

In the face of such conditions, Lucas Sullivant, with his

party of 20 men, consisting in part of Joseph Connor, Joseph

Lewis, John Ellis, Robert Dixon, James McClure and Edward

Walden, as chain carriers, and Samuel Robinson, Andrew Chew,

John Flourence and John Hynaman, as markers, all duly ap-

pointed and sworn and, if not all, nearly all men who had served

in the Revolution or in expeditions against Indians in 1796, be-

came the pioneer surveyors of the Darby Creek country and, in

part, the pioneers of what is now Franklin County. Other white

men who came here, with the possible exceptions of the Indian

captives, Jeremiah Armstrong and John Brickle, did not return

to settle or their coming was not voluntary.

Within a year after their arrival, the party had surveyed

over a dozen tracts of land, comprising over 15,000 acres in

Union, Madison and Franklin Counties. In the same year, Moses

Cleaveland, kinsman of President Grover Cleveland, with a band

of persons, as agents of the Connecticut Land Company, arrived

near Conneaut and planted the first crop of wheat sown and

reaped by white men in the Western Reserve, bringing the spirit

of Yankee expansion and the essence of Puritanism.

The hardships endured by every pioneer command our re-

spect and tribute. Perhaps, to them, the adventures compensated

for the suffering, yet I can but envy them the "dry breast-meat

of the wild turkey, or the lean flesh of the deer," the silver fox

and bear they ate; the abundant variety of bird, small animal and

floral life they saw; the thrill of not knowing exactly what to

expect next. I can only applaud, or better, bow my head, when I

read of their tribulations; of wolves as constant visitors. One

night, but for a rifle's flash, a huge panther would have jumped

from a tree into their unprotected camp. Rattlesnakes found as

bed companions; a cold, raw winter; constant danger of Indian

attack due to the recent massacre of the Mingoes; these are but a

few of the tales coming down to us of the perils of the Sullivant


This party came not as drifters in the tide of immigration

about to ensue, nor even to make homes, but to survey. The

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commerce of surveying was not all, however. Mr. Sullivant had

long cherished a purpose of founding a town -- not a "paper

town" where the wealthy owner would remain at his comfortable

home in the east as many Ohio towns were founded -- nor was

the system of tenantry, in vogue in Virginia and translated to

the territory by some, to be instituted. He decided to buy the

land and personally found a town -- for all those who wished to

remain upon the low fertile plain of the west bank as well as

for those who wished to come; and as a trading-post for the

Wyandot and Mingo Indians who had villages on the west bank

near the fork of the rivers, and camps located, 'tis said, near

where the Ohio Penitentiary, the Green Lawn Avenue bridge and

the City Water-Works are located.

Mr. Sullivant must have been more impressed with the

possibilities of land along the Scioto than along Darby Creek.

Accordingly after completing a number of surveys along Darby

Creek, he decided to purchase land along the Scioto and so

procured an assignment from Capt. Robert Vance of his rights

in the patent for the land covered by "Survey 1393," which today

is bounded by Mound Street on the south, Guilford Avenue on

the west and the Scioto River on the east and north. Unfortu-

nately, owing to the fact that the law permitted oral assignment

of these rights and did not require any specific formalities, we

know nothing of the facts of this assignment.

On the land thus acquired, in 1797-98, Lucas Sullivant, after

a freshet had interrupted one experiment, "platted a large town

with lots extending east and west into the prairies from the

glacial drift composing the higher ground," naming it "Franklin-

ton," for Benjamin Franklin, perhaps, "the first civilized Ameri-

can," who was but recently deceased. Today, the city succeeding

that little borough, has so extended that within its corporate limits

lies "Survey Number 2668," the land which Mr. Sullivant per-

sonally entered and surveyed for "Richard Stephenson, heir at

law of Col. Hugh Stephenson."

Other settlements followed shortly. At Darby Creek, a

group assembled and a town was later platted by Mr. Sullivant

as "North Liberty, situated on the west bank of Darby Creek."

Sturdy pioneers soon gathered at the extreme edge of the black

forest on the east bank on a site near Alum Creek, and at Ga-


Land of the Virginia Military District was worth the enor-

mous sum of 25 cents to 50 cents per acre. Mr. Sullivant, there-

fore, sold his lots at the same price but, encountering difficulty at

even this price, it is said, he gave away some lots on what is now

known as Gift Street.

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated 171

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated         171


The plat of Franklinton is on record at Chillicothe. The two

main streets were named for George Washington and Benjamin

Franklin. The four lots at the center of the town, which was at

the corner upon which we stand today, were appropriated for

public buildings only . . . "a state-house or court-house and as

a commons." If at first Mr. Sullivant gave away lots, in the

deeds which are also recorded at Chillicothe, the early residents

were wise enough to state that the consideration for the purchases

was $33.33, in some cases five shillings, and in others ten pounds,

although, of course, these deeds may not represent the first pur-


Joseph Dixon made the first family settlement in the autumn

of 1797. The early purchasers, in order named, according to

the records, were James Robinson, William Trimble, John Boyd,

John Woolcutt, William Johnson, Noble Crawford, George Skid-

more, John Lysle, Adam Hosack (the first postmaster), Robert

Armstrong, William Domigan, Isaac Claypool, John Mitchell,

John Brittle, Joseph Vance (later a captain in the War of 1812

and governor of Ohio), Michael Fisher, Samuel Finley, William

Clearey, Andrew Rolston, John Edmiston (Lucas Sullivant's per-

sonal physician), Hugh Montgomery, Elijah Chenoweth, William

Dunlop, Morris Brown, John Blair, Jacob King, Michael Stroup,

William West and William Armstrong. The significant feature

of these purchases is that 85 per cent of the purchasers were

already residents of Franklinton.  Others who came in 1797

were the Dearduffs, the McElvains (Andrew McElvain was the

first mailman), Stokes, Ludwig Sells, the Ballentines, Jacob

Grubb, William Fleming, Jacob Overdier, Arthur O'Harra (first

justice of the peace), Joseph Foos, John Blair, John Dill (asso-

ciate justice of court), and James Marshall.

Having already built or contemplating the erection of the

first brick house in the section upon the premises of which we

are to place this beautiful medallion, Lucas returned to Kentucky

and brought back as his bride, Sarah Starling, a direct descendant

of Sir William Starling, knighted in 1661 and a former lord

mayor of London. She bore "the hardships and privations of

the period with courage and a cheerful spirit." Though she

died of fever contracted while ministering to the sick soldiers

of the War of 1812, yet in the short space of time in which she

lived in Franklinton, she earned the title of "Lady Bountiful."

While in Kentucky, being informed that he had dealt with

the wrong parties, Lucas sought out the rightful legal heir of

Richard Stephenson, obtained the patent and completed the

purchase of the land from him on Christmas Day of the year

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1800, although he had opened negotiations for this purchase at

least a year earlier.

Shortly thereafter, some of the Stephenson heirs ques-

tioned the title of Lucas Sullivant to these lands. William

Creighton, the first secretary of state of Ohio, was employed

to defend. The case went to the United States Supreme Court

where it was dismissed in favor of Mr. Sullivant. In the course

of the case, Charles Lee, acting secretary of state and attorney

general of the United States, rendered an opinion in support of

Sullivant's counsel.

In 1805 or 1806, Lyne Starling, brother-in-law of Mr. Sulli-

vant, came to Franklinton to assist him in his duties as county

clerk and county recorder (Franklinton having been made the

county seat of the newly-created Franklin County), and to join

him in conducting a general store business. Mr. Starling, a

bachelor "contemplating marriage," purchased "an elegant seat

and tract of land opposite the town" on the "High Bank" of the

river, where now is located the down-town district of Columbus.

His title, too, was questioned in 1820. He employed Henry Clay

as counsel but the latter was forced to resign to become secretary

of state of the United States. Starling's victory was the occasion

of a full town celebration, "full" being used in more than one


In the meantime, Ohio had been swept into statehood, largely

through "the urgent political necessities of the Jeffersonian De-

mocracy." The popularity of Gov. St. Clair, a Federalist, with

all the Federalist ideas of entrusting nothing to the people, had

worked a popular distrust of him. He had "locked horns" too

many times with the Territorial Legislature. So, in spite of the

amusing argument of the Federalists that the Territorial Gov-

ernment had cost only $5,000 a year and State Government would

cost $15,000, Ohio was organized as the seventeenth State, with

Chillicothe as the capital. The exact time when the "Buckeye

State" was admitted into the Union must remain a subject for

legal and historical argument. Its status as a state of the United

States was established no later than "March of 1803."

Ohio faced a complex situation. There were people from

Connecticut in the northeastern portion; from New Jersey in

the southwestern; from Massachusetts in the southeastern;

Scotch-Irish and Germans, from Pennsylvania to the east of

the Scioto and in the southwestern part of the State; and Cavalier

Virginians west of the Scioto -- all of pronounced and different

ideas and principles. The Virginians of Chillicothe, opponents

of St. Clair, had won heavily in the Constitutional Convention

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated 173

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated          173


of 1802. All power was given to the Legislature; very little

to the executive; the judiciary was made elective -- is it too

much to say, that here was the first complete political democracy

in history? The doctrine of the "Rights of Man" with govern-

ment by consent, rather than by coercion of the governed, had

prevailed against the advocate of paternalistic government!

Lucas Sullivant, fortunately, had remained out of state

politics. He assisted materially, however, in the election to the

State Senate of Gen. Joseph Foos, who had been the first hotel

keeper and ferry owner of the village. Lyne Starling and he

had already dreamed that the capital would be brought to Frank-

linton. The letters of Lyne Starling and the plat of the village

of Franklinton are proof of this. When the legislative committee

for the selection of the state capital, meeting at Franklinton with

instructions to locate the seat of government not "more than 40

miles from the common center of the state," reported in favor

of Dublin, and against Franklinton, a syndicate, with the guidance

and financial assistance of Lucas Sullivant, of owners of the

land on the east bank of the river, "sufficiently elevated" to protect

it from floods (which was the objection to Mr. Sullivant's town),

was organized. The proposition of this syndicate was accepted,

largely through the influence of Senator Joseph Foos. Thus,

"Columbus," so named by Mr. Foos, was born as the "perma-

nent seat of government of the state"--a city born a capital!

Lots "traced out through a dense forest," and covering 1200

acres surveyed on the "rectangular plan," were sold on the

same day as the declaration of the War of 1812, but, owing to

the fact that but poor mail service if any, was in existence, word

of the declaration was not received. Construction of the first

state capital building and the first penitentiary, on West Mound

Street, under the direction of the Legislature's agent, Mr. Joel

Wright, was soon begun.

The War of 1812 retarded the growth of Columbus but it

was the "glorious" period of Franklinton, since the government

headquarters for this section, under Gen. William Henry Har-

rison, was established there. Franklinton grew to so great a

population as 200. Lucas Sullivant had supervised the construc-

tion of a court-house (on the present site of this school building),

had built the county jail at a cost of $80, assisted in the erection

of a schoolhouse, had built, at his own expense, the first old brick

meeting-house in which his wife might worship God, and signed,

as trustee, the call to Rev. Dr. Hoge, an able missionary, who

early came to the region "in company with the supreme judges

who were about to open the first term of the Supreme Court ever

held in Franklin County." But still "the roads at all seasons

174 Ohio Arch

174       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications


were nearly impassable; there was not in the county a chair for

every two inhabitants, nor a knife and fork for every four."

Travel was mainly upon the Scioto upon which Mr. Sullivant

maintained boats. Social life must have been a great deal like

the life of western towns "in the days of '49." The tavern

business was most profitable, three being needed to supply the

little village's wants. Once the whole vicinity turned out for a

great "squirrel hunt." There was much hunting and fishing.

But wolves and bears prohibited going far away merely for

pleasure. Not until 1812, did a newspaper spring into existence.

The National Road was not completed as far west as Colum-

bus until 1830. No free school system provided education. It

was not until 1813 that Lucas Sullivant built across the Scioto

the first bridge within the compass of a hundred miles and later

induced the government to run the National Road out what is

now West Broad Street. The war revived the Indian peril to

such a degree that a stockade had to be built around the court-

house, and to this came people from all the surrounding vicinity.

During the war, however, at a large assembly in the grounds of

Lucas Sullivant, Tarhe, "the Crane," the chief sachem for the

Wyandot tribe, met with General Harrison and professed in

the name of friendly tribes, the "most indissoluble attachment

to the American government and a determination to adhere to

the terms of the Treaty of Greenville." The war ended, Frank-

linton declined, its only activity, 'tis said, being "the tilling of

Mr. Sullivant's rich prairie lands."

Columbus, on the contrary, rose rapidly. The first bank in

this vicinity, with Lucas Sullivant as principal stockholder and

president, later merged with the present First National Bank,

and went to Columbus rather than to Franklinton. Franklinton's

fate seemed sealed, but the settlement successfully avoided being

incorporated into Columbus until 1862. Mr. Sullivant, however,

did not live to see the county-seat transferred. Throughout his

life, it remained an unincorporated village, never having a mayor,

marshal or board of councilmen.

Lyne Starling, by special act of the Legislature, was author-

ized to proceed with the settlement of Lucas Sullivant's large

estate. His greatest bequests were his sons: William, who

became the greatest bryologist of his time; Michael, who in

Illinois, administered, Harper's Weekly has said, "the largest

and most enterprising farm in the United States"; and Joseph,

whom Dr. T. C. Mendenhall, a member of the first faculty of

the Ohio State University, has said, was responsible more than

any other one person for the broad development of the Ohio

State University and the Columbus public schools.

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated 175

Lucas Sullivant Tablet Dedicated        175


One of Lucas Sullivant's last expressed wishes was that he

might return 100 years from that time "as he felt sure he would

see steam wagons running over his lands at fifteen miles an hour."

Joseph Sullivant, writing later in his invaluable biography of his

father, jubilantly says that he has stood on the same spot and

seen the steam wagons with their huge trains rushing across the

bottoms at a rate of speed of more than 20 miles an hour. This

is but one feature of the unusual development of our city and a

reflection of human progress generally. Today 75 passenger-

trains enter Columbus daily, each capable of attaining a rate of

speed of more than 70 miles an hour. The recent construction

of one railway line into Columbus cost $14,000,000 or $200,000

per mile.

Had there been no Lucas Sullivant, no Lyne Starling would

have come to this section. Had there been no Lucas Sullivant,

there would have been no Franklinton. While much credit must

be awarded Gen. Joseph Foos and the members of the land

syndicate, Alexander McLaughlin, John Kerr, and James John-

son, it may be said that, had there been no Lyne Starling, there

would have been no Columbus--and this because of Mr. Star-

ling's most valuable lands, considerable wealth, educational ad-

vantages and clear political vision. The conclusion, that had

there been no Franklinton there would have been no Columbus,

is reiterated.

Both logic and fact lead to the further conclusion that the

founder of Franklinton became the father of Columbus.



Andrews, E. Benjanim--History of the United States.

Bruce, Hardington--Romance of American Expansion.

Chaddock, Robert E.--Ohio Before 1850.

Galbreath, C. B.--History of Ohio.

Lee, Alfred E.--History of the City of Columbus.

MacDonald, Capt. John--Biographical Sketches of General

Nathaniel Massie, General Duncan McArthur, Captain William

Wells and General Simon Kenton; who were early settlers in the

Western Country.

Martin, William F.-History of Franklin County.

Massie, David Meade--Nathaniel Massie--A     Pioneer of


Mathews, Alfred--Ohio and Her Western Reserve.

Peters, William E.--Ohio Lands.

Studer, Jacob B.--Columbus, Ohio, Its History, Resources

and Progress.

176 Ohio Arch

176       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications


Sullivant, Joseph--Genealogy  and a Family Memorial.

Original Boundaries and Early Times of Franklin County.--

Address before the Franklin County Pioneers' Association.

Venable, William H.--Footprints of Ohio Valley Pioneers.

Note: Much material was gathered from Entry Book "A"

and Survey Book "A" of the Land Department, Auditor of

State's Office; from the United States Supreme Court and Ohio

Supreme Court Reports of Cases; from the Land Laws of Ohio,

and Legislative Enactments of the period covered; records of

the case of Stephenson vs. Sullivant at the County Clerk's Office,

Franklin County, Ohio; the published addresses of General John

Beatty and Colonel E. L. Taylor given at the time of the Frank-

linton Centennial in 1897; and the address of Governor James E.

Campbell before the Kit Kat Club on "How and When Ohio Be-

came a State", published in Galbreath's History of Ohio.