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Portsmouth was platted in 1803, but it's history extends back to the establishment of a community called Alexandria on the west bank of the Scioto River, an Indian word meaning "fresh water". Repeated flooding of the lowlands on which Alexandria was built prompted Major Henry Massie to lay out a new community on the higher east bank. He named it Portsmouth to honor his former home, Portsmouth, Virginia. The floods eventually destroyed Alexandria, but Portsmouth grew.
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