On March 24, 1803, the Ohio legislature authorized the creation of Montgomery County. Residents named the county in honor of Richard Montgomery, a hero of the American Revolution. Previously, the county had been parts of Ross and Hamilton Counties. Wilbur and Orville Wright owned a bicycle shop in Dayton, the county seat, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It was here that the Wrights developed the first powered aircraft to fly successfully
Montgomery County is located in western Ohio. It is predominantly rural. Seventeen percent of the county's 462 square miles consist of urban areas. With a population of 166,179 people, Dayton was the county's largest community in 2000. The county experienced a 2.6 percent decline in population between 1990 and 2000. There were 559, 062 people living in Montgomery County in 2000.The county averages 1,210 people per square mile.
Montgomery County flourished during the nineteenth century. With the completion of the Miami and Erie Canal in 1829, Dayton was connected to Cincinnati. In addition, nine turnpikes connected Dayton to other parts of the state. Because it was a transportation hub, Montgomery County was heavily involved in Ohio's early industrialization. By the late 1800s, the county had become the home of many different businesses. There were a number of newspapers and journals that fueled a publishing industry. Many of these publications dealt with either religious issues or agricultural interests. Some examples include Christian World, Young Catholic Messenger, Ohio Bible Teacher, as well as Farmer's Home, the Ohio Swine Journal, and the Ohio Poultry Journal. Many other businesses were related to agriculture and included mills and a number of companies manufacturing farm implements. Among the best known in the nineteenth century was the Buckeye Mower and Reaper Company. In the 1880s, John Patterson opened the National Cash Register Company in Dayton.
Today, service industries, such as health care and tourism, retail positions, and manufacturing businesses are Montgomery County's largest employers. Government ranks a distant fourth. Most government employees work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. In 1999, the per capita income in the county was 28,113 dollars, with 11.1 percent of the people living in poverty.
Most voters in Montgomery County claim to be political independents.
Besides the Wright brothers, Montgomery County also was home to Ohio Governors James Cox and Charles Anderson. Paul Laurence Dunbar, a noted African-American author and poet lived in Dayton as well.