Jonathan Dayton (Source)
Although he is not from Dayton, and had never actually visited Ohio, we owe our city’s name to a relatively unknown historical figure, Jonathan Dayton.
Jonathan Dayton was born in Elizabethtown (presently named Elizabeth), New Jersey in 1760. His father, Elias Dayton, was a storekeeper and active in local and state politics. Jonathan entered into the Continental Army after graduating from the College of New Jersey, which was later renamed Princeton.
Dayton served under his father, General Elias Dayton, and became Captain by the age of 19. Some of the men serving under him were Israel Ludlow, James Wilkinson, and Arthur St. Clair, who would later purchase the land that bears his name.