Matthias Denman

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Matthias Denman was one of the founders of the settlement that became Cincinnati, Ohio.

Matthias Denman was born in 1760 in New Jersey. In 1788, he purchased eight hundred acres of land with Israel Ludlow and Robert Patterson from John Cleves Symmes. The land was located on the northern bank of the Ohio River opposite the mouth of the Licking River in Kentucky. Symmes had purchased two million acres of land from the Confederation Congress in 1787 and now hoped to become rich by selling parts of the Symmes Purchase to others. Denman provided the necessary cash; Patterson found settlers; and Ludlow surveyed the land to make sales and established a town. By early January 1789, Ludlow had platted the town, dividing it into two types of lots. Near the town's center, lots were one-half acre. Outlying lots were four acres. Ludlow, Denman, and Patterson provided the first thirty settlers with two free lots, one of each type. The three men named the town Losantiville. The Northwest Territory's governor, Arthur St. Clair renamed the town Cincinnati, in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati.

In 1804, Denman moved to Licking County, Ohio, and settled near the town of Hanover. Denman and his sons became famous for their great strength. On one occasion, two sons supposedly chopped two hundred fence rails apiece in just a few hours. Most men reportedly were fortunate to split one hundred fence rails in an entire day.

Denman died in 1838.

See Also