The city of Dayton was founded in 1796 by a group of just 12 settlers who decided to start a settlement along the Great Miami River where its three tributaries met. Since then, the city has grown to over 140,000 people as of 2017, and it is now a thriving hub of business and community life. Dayton is the state of Ohio’s sixth-largest city.
In 1859, when Abraham Lincoln came to town, Dayton was still a fairly new city, having only received its official city charter in 1841. It was connected to Cincinnati by a major road, which helped spur the development of industry and investment in the city. Lincoln’s speech on the old courthouse’s steps was a highlight of the campaign season when he came to town.