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Dayton is the seat of Montgomery County, and the fourth largest city in Ohio. The city was founded in 1796, seven years before Ohio became a state, by a group of settlers known as the Thompson Party. In 1797, Daniel C. Cooper laid out the Mad River Road, the first overland connection between Cincinnati and Dayton, which opened the area to further settlement. The city was incorporated in 1805, and named for Jonathan Dayton, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, who owned the majority of the land.

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