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How 7 local cities got their names, from famous figures to Greek words


Ever wonder why your hometown is named as it is?

Here is how seven local cities got their names.

1. Dayton

Jonathan Dayton, of New Jersey, never set foot in the area, but when Israel Ludlow surveyed and platted the town in 1796, the politician and Revolutionary War veteran took up ownership of 250,000 acres in the Great Miami River basin along with Ludlow and two other investors. The town that made him wealthy later was named after him.

2. Xenia

Joseph C. Vance surveyed the town in 1803, John Marshall built the first cabin in the town’s borders the following year and Xenia grew quickly, especially along with the growth of the Little Miami Railroad in the 1840s. Apparently residents wanted the community to be known for its warmth and friendliness, as they named it after the Greek word for “hospitality.”

3. Yellow Springs

This community was established around 1823 and received its name from a nearby spring that left yellow deposits on surrounding rocks due to the high iron content in the water. The spring expelled an estimated 110 gallons of water per minute.

4. Greenville

Seeking revenge against the American Indians in the area for the battle known as “St. Clair’s Defeat” in 1791, Anthony Wayne ordered the construction of a fort at the site he called Greene Ville, named for his friend and comrade in the American Revolution, Nathanael Greene. Wayne used Greene Ville as his encampment during the winter of 1793-94 and as a staging area and supply depot for his campaign in 1794. The city of Greenville was officially founded in August 1808.

5. Middletown

No one knows exactly why the city’s founder, Stephen Vail, named it Middletown, but one local historian believed it was because Vail came from Middletown, N.J. Another writer believed it was because of the city’s location as the midway point of navigation on the Great Miami River, which was then considered a navigable stream. Another theory is credited to the city being roughly halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati.

6. Kettering

The city is named for inventor Charles F. Kettering, who resided at his home "Ridgeleigh Terrace" from 1914 until his death in 1958. He was a founder of Delco Electronics and was head of research at General Motors from 1920 to 1947. Among his most widely used automotive developments were the electrical starting motor and leaded gasoline.

7. Eaton

William Bruce established the town in 1806, and residents named it after General William Eaton. General Eaton was the U.S. Consul at Tunis and played an important diplomatic and military role in the First Barbary War between the United States and Tripoli (1801–1805) and led the first foreign United States military victory at the Battle of Derne by capturing the Tripoli city of Derne in support of the restoration of the local monarch Hamet Caramelli.


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