Ludington family

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Ludington family was an American family active in the fields of business, banking, and politics. Members prominent in the American Revolution were Henry Ludington and Sybil Ludington. Additionally, Lewis, James, Nelson, and Harrison Ludington were involved in the establishment and development of cities in the states of New York, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Henry founded Kent, New York, in 1775; Lewis founded Columbus, Wisconsin, in 1844; James founded Ludington, Michigan, in 1859; and Nelson founded Escanaba, Michigan, in 1862. Harrison was involved in the development of Milwaukee and was a governor of Wisconsin.


Historian La Reiana Rule says the American name Ludington is of English origin from Luddington. She believes ancestors of the American Ludingtons were in towns in England from the 10th century. Her research indicates the name "Leodingtun" signifies "estate of the compatriot's family".[1]

Lion Passant Guardant

Historian Willis Fletcher Johnson says the American surname Ludington is also spelled Luddington, Ludinton, and Ludenton.[2] He believes this family originated from the 16th-century Ludingtons of Shrawley and Worcester in England. Tradition has it that a Ludington was a follower of Richard the Lionheart in the Third Crusade and helped him escape prison. This Ludington soldier received nobility status and a family coat of arms for his efforts. The coat of arms is colored in argent, azure, and gules, and emblazoned with a lion passant guardant and a crest featuring a palmer's staff. The motto reads: Probum non penitet (Honor not penitence).[3][4]

Johnson says the earliest record of a Ludington in America is from April 6, 1635. On that date the ship Hopewell sailed from London for Massachusetts Bay with seven boys and four girls ranging from 12 to 22 years of age. William Bundock was the captain of the ship, which had already made several previous voyages to America. Among the people on the Hopewell passenger list was a "Christiom" Ludington. However, there are no confirmed records of any history about her. There is also a mention of a Christopher Ludington in the Virginia colony prior to 1635, also with no confirmed history records. The first confirmed Ludingtons in America are William (1608–1663) and his wife Ellen (b. 1617), and they are considered the American progenitors.[5]


William Ludington[edit]

William Ludington and his wife Ellen are of unknown English origin, but are considered the base foundation of the American Ludingtons since there are confirmed history records on them.[6] They were married in England about 1636.[6] They immigrated to America about 1639 and settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts, which later became Malden, Massachusetts.[4][7] Court records of 1640 show that William built his residence outside the city limits, which was illegal, and was issued a high fine for the infraction.[8] The fine was rescinded because about this same time the law was repealed.[9] William and Ellen raised seven children (the first born in England).[10] After raising their children they moved to New Haven, Connecticut, around 1660, where William died shortly thereafter, as his widow remarried on May 5, 1663, to John Rose.[11][12] Williams will was probated May 25, 1663.[6]

Thomas was their first child, born in 1637 in England and raised in Charlestown. In 1666 Thomas moved to Newark, New Jersey, and became a farmer. Their second child was John, born at Charlestown, in 1640. He was living in East Haven, Vermont, in 1664. Their third child was Mary, born either on December 6, 1642, December 6, 1642–43, February 6, 1643, or February 6, 1642–43 – depending if the Gregorian calendar or the Julian calendar is used for recording (as the British colonies in America did in the eighteenth century). Their fourth child was Henry, birth date unknown, who was killed in King Philip's War of 1675–76.[12] Their fifth child was Hannah, whose birth and death dates are unknown. Their sixth child was William II, born about 1655 and had two wives. William and Ellen's seventh child was Matthew, who died as a baby within 30 days.[12][13]

William II was a successful businessman and married twice.[6] His first wife was Martha Rose, daughter of John Rose and granddaughter of Robert Rose. Their children were: Henry, born 1679; Eleanor, birth date unknown (circa 1683) and married in 1714. His second wife was Mercy Whitehead and their children were: twins Mary and Mercy, born 1691; Hannah, born 1693; John, born 1694; Eliphalet, born 1697; Elizabeth, born 1699; Dorothy, born 1702; and Doreas, born 1704.[12][13]

The second son of Henry (b. 1679) was William III, born at Branford, Connecticut on September 6, 1702. He married Mary Knowles, of Branford, Connecticut, on November 5, 1730. They had eight children, Submit, Mary, Henry, Lydia, Samuel, Rebecca, Anne, and Stephen. Mary Knowles died on April 16, 1759 and William III married his second wife, Mary Wilkinson, just a day after the year of mourning ended, on April 17, 1760.[14]

Henry Ludington II[edit]

Henry Ludington was the third child of William III and Mary (Knowles) Ludington. He was born at Branford, Connecticut, on May 25, 1739.[15] He built his home and a grist mill around 1775 in the area known as the hamlet of Ludingtonville, named for his namesake; this later became the town of Kent, Putnam County, New York.[16] He was made Colonel during the American Revolution and was aide-de-camp to George Washington.[17]

Huntington life-size statue of Sybil Ludington on horseback at Carmel, New York, is inscribed -
"Sybil Ludington, Revolution War Heroine, April 26, 1777. Called out the volunteer militia by riding through the night alone on horseback at the age of 16 alerting the countryside to the burning of Danbury, Connecticut, by the British."[18]

Sybil Ludington[edit]

Sybil Ludington was the first child of Henry Ludington II and his wife Abigail Ludington.[19] In 1777, at the age of 16, she rode a horse 40 miles (64 km) through the night to where the Continental Army had a supply depot.[20] She warned approximately 400 militiamen under the direction of her father that British troops were planning to attack Danbury, Connecticut.[21][22][23] Her trip was said to be similar to that of Paul Revere's ride.[21][22][23][24] Sybil had been given praise from the towns she went through, as well as recognition from General George Washington for her service as a messenger.[25] The American poet Berton Braley wrote a poem about Sybil's notable ride delivering the message.[26]

Sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington made a statue of Sybil Ludington depicting her ride, that is displayed at the Danbury Library grounds in Connecticut.[25] Huntington also made a life-size statue depicting her ride that is at Lake Gleneida in Carmel, New York.[27] There is a replica in Memorial Continental Hall of the National Society of the Daughter of the American Revolution in Washington, D.C.[27] There is a commemorative stamp that was issued in 1975.[27] The map shows seven roadside markers of the heroine's route that say, Sybil Ludington rode horseback over this road the night of April 26, 1777, to call out Colonial Ludington's regiment to repel the British at Danbury, Conn.[27]

Frederick Ludington[edit]

Frederick, 1852

Frederick Ludington was the tenth child of Henry Ludington II (aka Colonial Ludington). He is associated with the development of the towns of Kent, New York, and Dover Plains, New York.[28]

Harrison Ludington and Nelson Ludington were sons of Frederick, and Colonel Ludington was their grandfather.[29] Harrison is identified with the development of the city of Milwaukee and was its alderman for two terms and its mayor from 1872 to 1875.[30] He served as Governor of Wisconsin from 1876 to 1878.[31]

Nelson was a pioneer of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and an early territorial developer.[32] He established a sawmill and laid out the city of Escanaba, Michigan, in 1862.[33][34] Nelson provided the name for the city.[35][36][37] Escanaba street names were originally named after the wives and daughters of the partners of the Nelson Ludington Company.[38]

Frederick and Lewis built store about 1808 in Kent, New York.

Lewis Ludington[edit]

Lewis Ludington was the twelfth child and sixth son of Henry Ludington II. Lewis was the youngest of the children, born June 25, 1786.[39]

Lewis had bought some land in Columbia County, Wisconsin, about 1843. In July 1844 he designed a community layout for this land that was the founding of the city of Columbus, Wisconsin.[40]

James Ludington[edit]

James Ludington, the sixth son of Lewis, was born at Carmel, New York, on April 18, 1827. He moved to Milwaukee in 1843 and lived there permanently. Around 1859 he developed a sawmill community in northwestern Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan called Pere Marquette. This eventually was plotted into a village and grew. It was later renamed Ludington, Michigan, in his honor. Ludington never lived in the town that he founded.[41] Many of the street names of Ludington, Michigan, are related to James in one way or another.[42] The main downtown intersection is James Street and Ludington Ave.[43][44]


The caretaker of some of the family heirlooms as of 1975 is Mrs. Emily Ludington Jordan of Oak Park, Illinois. Her son Norman Jordan has inherited the collection, which contains a cherry-wood bed, a card table, a fold-down desk, two chairs, and a wooden brass-topped cane.[45]

Ludington family tree[edit]

Ludington family tree showing relationships and the complete American family line of the Ludingtons from the progenitor
William Ludington
b 1617
founder of the Ludington
family in America
(five other siblings)
(6th child)
Marcy Whithead
(second wife)
Martha Rose
(first wife)
(two other siblings)
(1st child)
b 1679
(one older
b 1702
Mary Knowles
(first wife)
(seven other siblings)(3rd child)(other siblings?)
b May 25, 1739
founder of Ludingtonville, NY
b May 8, 1745
b April 5, 1761
Revolutionary War hero
b January 24, 1763
b July 31, 1765
b July 5, 1767
b March 28, 1769
b February 17, 1771
b April 19, 1773
b February 26, 1776
b March 14, 1778
b June 10, 1782
b May 16, 1784
b June 25, 1786
14 other siblings
b 1812
Gov of Wisconsin
b 1818
founder of Escanaba, MI
b 1827
founder of Ludington, MI
other siblings: Laura, Delia, William,
Robert, Charles, Henry, Lavinia,
Emily, and Amelia, whose names
were used for streets of Ludington, MI


  1. ^ Rule, La Reiana (July 28, 1968). "What Your Name Means". Independent Press-Telegram. Long Beach, California. p. 104 – via open access publication – free to read.
  2. ^ Johnson (1907), p. 5.
  3. ^ Johnson (1907), p. 4.
  4. ^ a b Cutter (1914), p. 1102.
  5. ^ Johnson (1907), p. 7.
  6. ^ a b c d Patrick (1886), pp. 8–14.
  7. ^ Johnson (1907), p. 8-9.
  8. ^ Patrick (1886), pp. 9–10.
  9. ^ Cutter (1914), pp. 1102–1103.
  10. ^ Johnson (1907), pp. 10–18.
  11. ^ Clemons (1907), p. 265.
  12. ^ a b c d Cutter (1914), p. 1103.
  13. ^ a b Johnson (1907), pp. 18–20.
  14. ^ Johnson (1907), p. 22.
  15. ^ Johnson (1907), p. 24.
  16. ^ Heritage, p. 299.
  17. ^ Palmer, Evangeline (April 24, 1975). "Derry Residents Observe First Bicentennial Event". Nashua Telegraph – via open access publication – free to read.
  18. ^ Metz (2006), p. 75.
  19. ^ Johnson (1907), p. 90.
  20. ^ Stewart (2004), p. 23.
  21. ^ a b Hartwell-Jackson, Jennifer (2007). "Sybil Ludington: a Revolutionary Hero". Traverse for Women. Utopian Empire Creativeworks. Retrieved May 15, 2017. a teenaged American woman named Sybil Ludington staged a midnight steeplechase, which made Paul Revere's efforts seem very modest by comparison!
  22. ^ a b Kuntz, Melanie (2012). "Sybil Ludington". Women in History.
  23. ^ a b Miller (2012), p. 2.
  24. ^ Amstel (2009), p. 47.
  25. ^ a b "Sybil Ludington". Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  26. ^ "Sybil Ludington is revered by Poem for her own ride". News Journal. Chicago, Illinois. April 23, 1975 – via open access publication – free to read.
  27. ^ a b c d Metz (2006), p. 76.
  28. ^ "Chapter XXVII: Town of Kent". History of Putnam County. 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  29. ^ "Ex-Governor Ludington Dead". Green Bay Weekly. June 24, 1891 – via open access publication – free to read.
  30. ^ Johnson (1907), p. 218.
  31. ^ "Governor Harrison Ludington". National Governors Association. 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  32. ^ Dunathan, Clint (January 14, 1956). "Lakeview Cemetery Begins 80th Year with Expansion". Escanaba Daily Press – via open access publication – free to read.
  33. ^ Dunathan (1963), p. 28.
  34. ^ "Royce is called City's Founder; Helped Name It". Escanaba Daily Press. June 29, 1963 – via open access publication – free to read.
  35. ^ Dunathan, Clint (April 25, 1969). "Post Office Downtown Anchor May Be Slipping Far Westward". The Escanaba Daily Press. p. 5 – via open access publication – free to read.
  36. ^ Dickson (2002), p. 55.
  37. ^ Conard (1893), p. 479.
  38. ^ "A History of Escanaba". Escanaba Morning Press. July 1, 1976 – via open access publication – free to read.
  39. ^ Johnson (1907), p. 224.
  40. ^ Johnson (1907), p. 225.
  41. ^ Wood, Jeanne (May 8, 1969). "Alfred Ludington Pays First Visit Here". The Ludington Daily News. p. 1 – via open access publication – free to read. James Ludington came from Milwaukee and there he returned shortly after founding the city.
  42. ^ "How did the streets receive their names". Ludington Daily News. April 11, 1970. p. 1 – via open access publication – free to read.
  43. ^ "History of Ludington Told in Street Names". Ludington Daily News. June 23, 1947. p. 28 – via open access publication – free to read.
  44. ^ Mason County Historical Society (1980), pp. 11, 303.
  45. ^ Stevens, MaryAnne (April 23, 1975). "Ludington history lives in Oak Park". News Journal. Chicago, Illinois – via open access publication – free to read.