Wooster is the county seat of Wayne County, Ohio. John Beaver, William Henry, and Joseph Larwill established the town in 1808. Residents named the town in honor of David Wooster, a hero of the American Revolution. Wayne County's original seat of government was Madison, but county residents lobbied the Ohio legislature to move the county seat to Wooster. Wooster became the seat of government in 1811.
Wooster grew very quickly. In 1840, 1,913 people resided in the town. Eight churches, twenty-one stores, one bank, and a private school for women all existed in the town by 1846. Over the next several decades, Wooster's influence continued to expand. In 1868, the Presbyterian Church established the College of Wooster. By 1889, the college had graduated 434 men and seventy-six women. That same year, twenty-four instructors taught almost seven hundred students. One year earlier, the city of Wooster contained eight newspaper offices, eleven churches, two banks and numerous manufacturing businesses, which primarily provided services or products to farmers in the surrounding countryside. In 1890, the town's largest employer was the Underwood Whip Company. This firm manufactured whips and employed sixty-four of Wooster's 5,901 residents. Other local businesses produced furniture, leather products, flour, animal feed, rye whiskey, granite, machinery, carriages, and numerous other items.
During the twentieth century, Wooster remained an important center of trade for local farmers. Illustrating farming's importance to the local economy, Wooster is the home of the Ohio Research and Development Center for Agriculture. Many of the city's businesses continue to manufacture items for Wayne County's more rural residents. Many locals also find employment at the College of Wooster. With a population of 24,811 people, Wooster was Wayne County's largest community in 2000.