On this day in 1796…

In March of 1796, the Thompson party started its journey from Cincinnati to Dayton. Split into two groups, one by land and one by water, they traveled 60 miles, pulling the boat through shallow channels with a rope tied to a tree, sometimes for miles. On land, they lead the Thompson cow that paid for itself in milk.

Ten days later, on April 1, 1796:

 “The boat party was the first to arrive. Rounding the curve in the river, where for so many years since then it has been flowing under the Dayton View Bridge, the pioneers perceived before their eyes the swift current of Mad River emptying itself into the main channel, just as it had been described, and saying to each other (so we may imagine), ‘Yes this must be the place,’ they tied the pirogue to a tree at the head of St, Clair Street and led by Mrs. Thompson, all clambered ashore.

At that moment, DAYTON came on the map!” – The Story of Dayton.

Among this group was Benjamin Van Cleve. He later because Dayton’s first postmaster, librarian, and schoolteacher.

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