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Chillicothe, Ohio is the seat of Ross County. It was also the first and the third capital of Ohio. It is named after the Shawnee word Chala-ka-tha, which is one of the Shawnee clans who inhabited the area before the European settlers arrived. It was also what the Shawnee called any village which was the home of the main leader. It would be the capital city of the Shawnee until the leader died, and then the capital would be moved to the home of the new leader. Chillicothe was never a Chala-ka-tha. In 1796, Nathaniel Massie platted the town, which was situated on the banks of the Scioto River. He laid out 456 lots, with 100 of them being promised to the first 100 settlers. Within the year, the town had sprouted up, including stores, artisan shops, and taverns. It served as the first state capital from the day Ohio became a state in 1803 until Zanesville became the capital in 1810 as part of a state legislative deal in order to pass a contentious bill. In 1812, the state legislature moved the capital back to Chillicothe, where it stayed until 1816, when it was moved closer to the center of the state in Columbus. Settlers came from Kentucky and Virginia, having moved along the Ohio River to find land, and large numbers of freed slaves moved into Chillicothe and aided other freed or escaped slaves, helping abolitionists maintain the Underground Railroad.

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