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Explore Life in Middletown, Ohio

 
 
Daniel Doty is considered the "father" of Middletown but it was Stephen Vail, who in 1802 platted fifty-two lots from his one hundred acre purchase.  Doty was the pioneer, the first to settle in the vicinity of Middletown.  In 1796, he brought his family from New Jersey to live in the "Little Prairie," the name he had given the area he had first explored in 1791.  Vail was the farmer and land speculator, naming his plat Middle-town.  Perhaps, he believed the location on the Great Miami River would be in the middle of what would become Butler County in 1803.
 
The Excello, the last canal boat to leave Middletown, 1906

 
Middletown's future as a center of trade was made possible by the Miami-Erie Canal, which offered a better means of transportation than the Great Miami River or the poor roads of the time.  Work on the canal began on Daniel Doty's farm in July, 1825.  The first portions of the canal were completed in January, 1829, and connected Middletown with Dayton and Cincinnati.  By 1845, the canal extended from Lake Erie (Toledo) to the Ohio River (Cincinnati).  Communities along the canal were well served until the packet boats were made obsolete by the railroads.  The last canal boat left Middletown in 1906.
Main Street looking south from Third

If you had lived in Middletown in earlier times, you might have been called
upon to work in the city's fast-growing industries.
Learn about the manufacturers which called Middletown home.




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