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Cayuga was formed
from Onondaga in 1799; but other counties have since been taken from it.
Greatest length N. and S. 55, greatest breadth E. and W. 23 miles. From
Albany, W., 156 miles, from New York, 301. Upon the S. the surface rises
into ridges, along the Cayuga lake, the Owasco lake and inlet, and the
Skaneateles lake. The principal streams are the Salmon and Fall creeks,
tributaries of the Cayuga lake; the inlet and the outlet of the Owasco lake,
and the Seneca river, which is the eventual recipient of all these waters.
The river flows through a plain in which its sluggish course is scarce
perceptible, and the marshes which it waters, extend to the western border
of the county; in its way it passes through Cross lake, a basin 5 miles long
by 2 wide, lying on the eastern boundary, in a low swampy district, whose
surface is 370 feet above tide. The disposition of the waters shows an
irregular surface. The Poplar ridge, E. of the Cayuga lake, rises in some
places to 600 feet above, but has a gentle slope towards the lake,
displaying finely-cultivated farms. The eastern declivity of this and other hills is
more abrupt. On the N. of Auburn, the country is comparatively level, yet
has a rolling appearance from the many large gravel hills scattered over the
plain, assuming in many places the semblance of stupendous mounds formed by
art. This gravel has much limestone, and produces excellent wheat. Few portions of the state
possess more fertile lands, or can boast of higher cultivation. In all the
fruits of the climate, this county is prolific. About two thirds of the land
is under improvement. The southern portion is most thickly settled. The
Cayuga lake, which forms a large part of the western boundary, is a
beautiful sheet of water, 36 miles long, and from 1 to 4 broad. The county is divided into 22 towns.
(Historical Collections of the State of New York, Past and Present, John
Barber, Clark Albien & Co, 1851).
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