The City of Delaware is a city in and the county seat of Delaware County in the United States state of Ohio. Delaware was founded in 1808 and was incorporated in 1816. It is located near the center of Ohio, is about north of Columbus, and is part of the Columbus, Ohio Metropolitan Area. The population was 34,753 at the 2010 census, while the Columbus-Marion-Chillicothe, OH Combined Statistical Area has 2,002,604 people.
While the city and county of Delaware are named for the Delaware tribe, the city of Delaware itself was founded on a Mingo village called Pluggy's Town. The first recorded settler was Joseph Barber in 1807. Shortly after other men started settling in the area (according the Delaware Historical Society)- Moses Byxbe, William Little, Solomon Smith, and Elder Jacob Drake, Thomas Butler, and Ira Carpenter began building in the area. In 1808, Moses Byxbe built the first framed house on William Street. On March 11, 1808, a plan of the city was filed, marking the official founding of the town. Byxbe and the others planned the city to be originally on the east bank of the river, but was switched to the west bank only a few days after the first plan was filed.
Even though Delaware was still a small community, in 1812, when the capitol of Ohio was moved from Chillicothe, Delaware and Columbus were both in the running and Delaware lost by a single vote to Columbus. However, following the War of 1812, settlers began arriving in Delaware in greater numbers. Among some of the earliest settlers were the parents of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States. Unfortunately, the Hayes home no longer stands, but a historical marker in front of a BP station, marks the location.
The city was incorporated in 1951.
In the early days of the town, a sulfur spring was discovered northwest of Joseph Barber's cabin. By 1833, a hotel was built as a health spa near the spring. However, the Mansion House Hotel was a failure, and by 1841, citizens began raising funds to purchase the hotel property with the intent of giving it to the Ohio and North Ohio Methodist Episcopal Conference of the Methodist Church for the purpose of a Methodist college. With that effort, Ohio Wesleyan University was founded in 1844.
Railroads came to the area in April, 1851 as Delaware served as a stop on the Cleveland Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad. Additional rail lines were added to serve Delaware providing access to major cities and markets throughout the country by the late 1890s. At the turn of the century, Delaware could boast of its own electric street railway system. In the early 1930s, electric inter-urban service was provided by the Columbus, Delaware and Marion system.
During the Civil War
During the Civil War, Delaware was the home to two Union training camps. The first on the west side of the river for white recruits of the 96th and 121st Ohio Volunteer Infantry were mustered into service. The second, on the west side of the river was for African-Americans joining the army in Ohio in the 127th Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry - later renamed the 5th Regiment United States Colored Troops.