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Wayne County, New York
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County Coordinator: Martha Magill
Assistant Coordinator:  Lisa K. Slaski

Brief History

Excerpts from the "Gazetteer of the State of New York," by J. H. French, 1860

        This county (Named in honor of Gen. Anthony Wayne) was formed from Ontario and Seneca, April 11, 1823.  It lies upon Lake Ontario, w. of the center of the State; is centrally distant 171 mi. from Albany, and contains 624 sq. mi. ...  Agriculture forms the leading pursuit.  The branches, in the order of importance, are grain raising, stock growing, dairying, and wool growing.  Fruit is extensively cultivated, and is rapidly becoming one of the most important agricultural products. ...  The county seat is located at the village of Lyons, near the center of the co. ... The Erie Canal extends through the S. tier of towns; and along its course are the most populous and thriving villages of the co.  The direct branch of the N. Y. Central R. R. between Syracuse and Rochester extends, along the course of the canal, through Savannah, Galen, Lyons, Arcadia, Palmyra, and Macedon.  A ship canal route and a R. R. route have been surveyed, connecting the Erie Canal and Central R. R. with Lake Ontario. ... The earliest white inhabitants were hunters and trappers.  The first permanent settlements were made in 1789, at Palmyra, under the auspices of General John Swift, agent of a company of settlers from Con.; and at Lyons, under Charles Williamson, agent for the Pulteney Estate.  From 1790 to 1794, colonies came in from R. I., Long Island, and Maryland.  The settlements did not progress with great rapidity for several years, owing to the diseases which prevailed.  The fear of Indian hostilities and of British invasion during the War of 1812 greatly retarded settlement.  On the return of peace, settlers began to arrive in considerable numbers, principally from New England and Eastern N. Y.  The completion of the Erie Canal gave a new impulse to immigration; and in a few years the flourishing villages of Lyons, Clyde, Palmyra, and Newark were built up along its course.  The N. Y. Central R. R. built through the co. in 1852-53, greatly benefited the co. and enhanced the value of the lands.  The most notable of the later incidents of the co. have been the rise of Mormonism in Palmyra, and the commencement of spiritual rappings in Arcadia.

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Last Updated: Wednesday, 04-Oct-2000 20:23:04 CDT
Copyright © 2000:  Martha Magill / Lisa K. Slaski

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