From Ohio History Central
Canton, Ohio is the county seat of Stark County.
Bezaleel Wells founded Canton in 1805. The community grew slowly during the first half of the nineteenth century. By 1815, only three hundred people resided in the town. One of the main reasons for Canton's slow development was its distance from transportation routes. During the late 1820s, planners of the Ohio and Erie Canal offered to build the canal through Canton. Residents refused, believing that disease would run rampant through the community due to the standing water in the canal. As a result, the Ohio and Erie Canal skipped Canton, traveling through nearby Massillon, Ohio, instead. The canal actually improved the health of Massillon residents, draining the neighboring swamps of putrid water. Canton also rejected railroads initially. The developers of the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad offered to build the track through Canton, if residents pledged ten thousand dollars to the line's construction. City officials refused, believing that the railroad would have to build the track through Canton anyway. The developers constructed the line eighteen miles east of Canton, through Alliance, Ohio, allowing Alliance to prosper.
In 2000, Canton had a population of over eighty thousand people. Local industries produced more than 1,500 different types of items.