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The territory encompassing the Town of Dayton was set off from Perrysburg in 1835. The northeast corner of the Town is a watershed and small streams on the north run into the Cattaraugus Creek and thence into the St. Lawrence River; while on the south they run through the Conewango Creek which drains into the Allegany River to the Gulf of Mexico.
    The first settlers arrived in 1810 paying eighteen shillings an acre (in today's currency a shilling is worth $.10). By 1817 they built the first saw mill. When the Town was organized in February, 1835, there were 3 saw mills, a tannery and a population of 1,114.

    The Buffalo & Southwestern Railroad completed in 1875 ran diagonally, northeast to southwest, across Town and junctions with the Erie Railroad in the hamlet of Dayton. The Buffalo & Southwestern Railroad has been discontinued and the Erie is now New York & Lake Erie Railroad and the trackage is owned by the Cattaraugus County IDA.
    "This history of Dayton is the story of a thrifty, progressive and an upright people. The departed ones have left records of endurance and perseverance, which are fitting examples to the coming generations. Some of her public men and women have become famous and have held high positions of honor and trust. She has sent out many noble sons and daughters who have made their mark in the world. In peace here record has been admirable and in war it has been glorious. Her people have ever exemplified those sterling and forceful attributes which mark the best American citizen."
    West Dayton is the oldest hamlet in the Town, saw the existence of a saw mill in 1817, inn/hotel in 1825, a tavern, a school and a church in 1818, a shingle mill in 1862, a cheese factory in 1866, 2 general stores, 2 churches and a Grange Hall. The Post Office was established in 1850 and changed the name of the hamlet to Cottage.

Markham, formerly known as Markham's Corners, began as a depot and post office. The hamlet was named in honor of Joshua Markham, who settled here in 1834 and opened an inn. Development included a shingle mill, 2 hotels, a grocery, saw mills, cheese factory. The Post Office was reestablished here in 1876, and is now home to Town government.
    The hamlet of Dayton, was the principal hamlet in Town. It saw its first settler in 1818, development followed included a drug store, 2 hardware stores, furniture store, 2 hotels, a livery, a bank, a stave & heading factory, 3 general stores, drug store/doctor's office, lawyer's office, feed mill, 3 churches, school, telegraph & express office, cheese factory. Dayton hamlet started as Dayton Summit located at the foot of Peck Hill Road. After the advent of the railroad in 1851 the settlement moved about 1 1/2 miles east to the present location, the Post Office was moved to the depot, since then it has moved several times.
    Wesley, also known as Sociality which was also the name of the Post Office, and Howard's Corners, located on the old Jamestown Road. This was the first Post Office in Town established in 1833 and discontinued in 1852 with the advent of the railroad, development of a store, cheese factory, church, school, and a blacksmith shop ensued. All that remains now is the church.
    Fair Plain was the last settlement made in the Town which was also called the German Swamp. The unbroken wilderness and thick forests was transformed into good farm lands. It is now the site of a gravel business and a seasonal restaurant.
    All of the Post Offices in the Town were discontinued with the institution of Rural Free Delivery about 1900 with the exception of the Post Office in the hamlet of Dayton.
    Population in the Town of Dayton was 1,488 in 1850, 1,735 in 1890, 1,915 in 1990 and 1,886 in 2010. Along with population change came change in land use.