Elias Langham was an important political figure in Ohio's early history.
Born in Essex County, Virginia in 1749, Langham first distinguished himself during the American Revolution. He enlisted in the Continental Army in 1777, serving in the artillery. During the American Revolution, he attained the rank of first lieutenant, although following this conflict, he would eventually win promotion to colonel.
Following the American Revolution, Langham became a surveyor for the federal government. He helped survey the Northwest Territory, the Mississippi Territory, and the Missouri Territory. While working in the Northwest Territory, Langham became enthralled with the land, and in February 1798, he settled near modern-day Chillicothe, Ohio. Here, Langham became involved in politics, serving in the Northwest Territory's legislature from 1799 to 1802. Langham also served as a judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the United States Territory Northwest of the Ohio River.
Langham's political career seemed to have ended when he worked with Northwest Territory Governor Arthur St. Clair to delay Ohio's admission as a state in the United States of America. St. Clair failed in this attempt, but Langham still survived politically. Voters in Ross County, Ohio elected Langham to the Ohio House of Representatives, a position that he held from 1803 until 1806. By 1804, he had become the speaker of the House.
Langham contributed to Ohio's development in other ways. First, he played an active role in the Masonic movement, helping to establish the Masons firmly in Ohio. He also served as one of the superintendents of the construction of Ross County's first stone courthouse.
Langham died in April 1830. He was buried in a private cemetery in Madison County, Ohio.