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Springfield, Ohio is the seat of Clark County, having been designated such in 1818. It was founded in 1799 by James Demint, a teamster from Kentucky who built the first cabin there. In 1701, James Dougherty surveyed and platted the town. It was named in honor of Springfield, Massachusetts, home of the Springfield Armory, and site of Shay's Rebellion in 1787. The bulk of the earliest settlers were from Kentucky and they almost all were involved with agriculture in one way or another. The fact that it was close to streams as well as the for of the Mad River, two dozen mills were within a few miles of town by 1846. Religious and educational institutions abounded during the first part of the 1800s, with a coed high school run by the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church's Wittenberg College, and churches built by the Presbyterians, Baptists, Universalists, Methodists, Episcopalians, and Lutherans. By 1880, there were more than 20,000 people in Springfield, due to the number of manufacturing jobs in town. In the early 1900s, Springfield was called "The Home City" as the Masonic Lodge, Odd Fellows, and Knights of Pythias built homes for orphans and some of the older members of their respective lodges. The first 4-H Club was started in Springfield. During the second decade of the 20th century, there were ten automobile companies in town and numerous farm equipment companies had offices or manufacturing factories there, including International Harvester, which is now Navistar.

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