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Ludlow, George

Ludlow, George

LUDLOW, GEORGE. (1734–1808). Loyalist. Born on Long Island, New York, in 1734 to a wealthy merchant family, Ludlow was a respected attorney when he was appointed to the New York council in 1768; the following year he became a member of the supreme court. Though not politically active, he joined his brother Gabriel in attempting to organize Long Island's Loyalists at the start of the Revolution, spending a year in hiding until the British landed in August 1776. After General William Howe's victory over Washington, Ludlow returned to the reconstituted provincial supreme court, which met in British-occupied New York City. When William Smith was appointed chief justice in 1778, Ludlow felt personally slighted and resigned from the court. In 1779 the New York state assembly declared Ludlow a traitor and confiscated his estate. In 1780 James Robertson, the royal governor, appointed him to the lucrative positions of master of the rolls and superintendent of the Long Island police. Ludlow made the most of his offices, charging high fees and dispensing rough justice. As a consequence, he alienated much of the Long Island population and cost the British a great deal of support. Other Loyalists charged Ludlow and Robertson with engaging in smuggling, though the validity of these charges remains uncertain. It is evident that Ludlow made a great deal of money in the three years he was known as "the tyrant of Long Island."

Ludlow left with the British in 1783 and spent the next year in London seeking recompense for the £7,000 he claimed to have lost in the Revolution (he received £2,500) and joining his brother in lobbying for the creation of New Brunswick as a Loyalist province. In 1784 Ludlow was appointed to the New Brunswick council and chief justice of the supreme court, holding those offices until his death in Fredericton, New Brunswick, on 13 November 1808.

SEE ALSO Ludlow, Gabriel.


Jones, Thomas. History of New York during the Revolutionary War. Edited by Edward F. De Lancey. 2 vols. New York: New York Times, 1968.

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