Ithaca was founded in 1855 by John Jeffery of Niagara County, New York. He acquired the land in 1853, but did not assume possession of it until 1855, when the site was unbroken wilderness in every direction. He named the site Ithaca in honor of his hometown in New York. During 1855, other settlers began to appear in the area and in the fall of that year, Jeffery cleared the land that was to become the main business district of Ithaca. In 1856, he planned the village of Ithaca and laid out lots, blocks, streets and alleys. In March of 1856, the county board of supervisors met in a special session and selected Ithaca as the site of the Gratiot County Seat. Ithaca became a City in 1961.