The humble beginnings of Cincinnati can be traced back when Israel Ludlow, Robert Patterson, and Matthias Denman bought an 800-acre of land from John Cleves Symmes in 1788. The latter bought two million acres of land from the Confederation Congress in the same year. He wanted to get his riches by selling parts of his property to others. Denman was responsible for the funding, while Patterson looked for settlers, and Ludlow surveyed the land to make a town. Ludlow was successful in fortifying the town and divided it into two types of lots. The three gave the first thirty settlers free lots. They initially called the town Losantiville.
It was a slow beginning for Losantiville. There were only three log cabins in town during its first month of founding. There were twenty cabins and a frame house on the outlying lots. In total, there were more than 20 single men and eleven families settled on the land.
Losantiville began to grow more rapidly in August 1789. Josiah Harmar approved the establishment of Fort Washington to safeguard settlers. It was constructed west of the town Denman, Ludlow, and Patterson has established. The fort was completed in 1787, and Harmar turned it into his headquarters. Losantiville’s population increased due to the soldiers who are stationed at the fort.
Arthur St. Clair, the then governor of the Northwest Territory, founded the Hamilton County with Losantiville as its county seat in 1790. The name Losantiville didn’t sit well with St. Clair and changed it to Cincinnati, to honor Cincinnatus, a Roman citizen-soldier.
In its early establishment, Cincinnati was a place of unlawfulness and chaos until the settlers arranged a court and employed a sheriff. However, the soldiers still had to put the town under martial law at times, mainly due to the tension with local American Indians.
Vigilantes from Kentucky and Pennsylvania attacked Cincinnati between 179 and 1791. It was during this time when St. Clair and Harmar organized expeditions against the American Indians. St. Clair was forced to move his troops near Ludlow’s Station because he had such a difficult time keeping them under his control. In 1791, St. Clair faced defeat at the hands of the Indians that led to the escape of many settlers out of fear that the American Indians would attack them.
Even with the safety issues, settlers continued to come to Cincinnati. They thought that by providing the soldiers and travelers with products and supplies, they could make a living. More settlers were drawn to the town following Anthony Wayne’s triumph over the American Indians in 1794. When the United States Army fled Fort Washington in 1803, the town had approximately one thousand settlers.
Cincinnati became an integral meatpacking headquarters in the early 1800s. A lot of livestock were butchered, processed, and sold to settlers or delivered to markets. Cincinnati gradually became the meat-processing center of the country. During the 1890s, the town became a critical political, industrial, and educational center for the state and the nation. The primary industry in the city was the production of iron, then meatpacking, and woodwork. The University of Cincinnati was established and made college education possible for the residents.