Historical Summary

Establishment of Ontario County

Established in 1789, Ontario County encompassed all of western New York State from the Pre-Emption Line to Lake Erie and from Lake Ontario to the Pennsylvania border. Now 14 separate counties, the early history of this vast area is retained in the records of the parent county.

The Hartford Treaty

The Hartford Treaty of 1786, settled the conflicting claims of Massachusetts and New York, awarding New York political sovereignty and Massachusetts the right of pre-empting and selling the Iroquois-controlled land.

In 1787, Massachusetts sold its rights to the 6 million acre tract to Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham. The Buffalo Creek Treaty, negotiated by Phelps, and eliminated the Native American claim to the 2,250,000-acre eastern portion. The western part reverted to Massachusetts ownership and was later sold to Pennsylvania financier Robert Morris.

The First Land Office

Phelps and Gorham surveyed the purchase into ranges and townships, establishing the first land office of its kind in Canandaigua. Settlers from eastern New York and New England poured into the county, attracted by the fertile soil, temperate climate, and low prices. As the population increased, the New York State Legislature was pressured to subdivide and form new counties. Thus Steuben was taken off in 1796, Genesee in 1802, Livingston and Monroe in 1821, and Wayne and Yates in 1823.

Records & Archives Center

The history of the Ontario County pioneers may be found today in the holdings of the Ontario County Records and Archives Center. Assessment records for Geneseo in 1800, and Boyle in 1813, the 1789 deed to Mary Jemison from the Seneca Nation, and the 1809, petition for dowry restoration by widow Triphena Stewart of Bloomfield are just some examples of the early records available for research.

Chronology of Ontario County, New York

Creation of Ontario County - all land west of Pre-emption Line
January 27, 1789
Steuben County taken from Ontario County
March 13, 1796
Genesee County taken from Ontario County
March 30, 1802
Allegany County taken from Genesee County
April 7, 1806
Cattaraugus County taken from Genesee County
March 11, 1808
Niagara County taken from Genesee County
March 11, 1808
Chautauqua County taken from Genesee County
March 11, 1808
Livingston County taken from Genesee Co. AND Ontario County
February 23, 1821
Monroe County taken from Livingston Co. AND Ontario County
February 23, 1821
Erie County taken from Niagara County
April 2, 1821
Yates County taken from Ontario County
February 5, 1823
Wayne County taken from Ontario Co. AND Seneca County
April 11, 1823
Orleans County taken from Genesee County
November 12, 1824
Wyoming County taken from Genesee County
May 14, 1841
Schuyler County taken from Ontario Co. AND Steuben, Tompkins
April 17, 1854

Creation of Towns on Ontario County

November 2, 1796
November 1790
Bloomfield; amended June 1798
June 1795
November 1796
Gorham (original names Easton, Lincoln)
November 1796
Naples (original name Middletown)
November 1795
Phelps (erected as Sullivan)
November 1795
Richmond (original name Pittstown)
January 27, 1789
November 1792
Victor taken from Bloomfield
May 26, 1812
Manchester (original name Burt) taken from Farmington
March 31, 1821
Hopewell taken from Gorham
March 29, 1822
Canadice taken from Richmond
April 15, 1829
West Bloomfield taken from Bloomfield
February 11, 1833
South Bristol taken from Bristol
March 8, 1838
Geneva taken from Seneca
November 15, 1872