Genesee County, New York

Not to be confused with Genesee, New York.
Genesee County, New York

Genesee County Courthouse

Map of New York highlighting Genesee County
Location in the U.S. state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded March 1803
Seat Batavia
Largest city Batavia
  Total 495 sq mi (1,282 km2)
  Land 493 sq mi (1,277 km2)
  Water 2.4 sq mi (6 km2), 0.5%
  (2010) 60,079
  Density 122/sq mi (47/km²)
Congressional district 27th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Genesee County is a county in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 60,079.[1] Its county seat is Batavia.[2] Its name is from the Seneca Indian word Gen-nis'-hee-yo, meaning "the Beautiful Valley".[3] The county was created in 1802 and organized in 1803.[4]

Genesee County comprises the Batavia, NY Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also in the Rochester-Batavia-Seneca Falls, NY Combined Statistical Area. It is in Western New York.


Pre-Columbian era

Ancient history of man goes back to the Ice Age 10,000 to 12,000 years ago at the Hiscock Site, in Byron, New York. Together with a mastodon jaw, tusks, and teeth, and assorted animal bones, researchers have found a variety of manmade tools, ceramics, metal, and leather, indicating long occupation of the site. This site in Genesee County is considered among North America’s most important for archaeological artifacts from the Ice Age.[5][6]

Varying cultures of indigenous peoples lived in the area for thousands of years. Hundreds of years before European exploration, the Iroquoian-speaking Seneca Nation developed in the central part of present-day New York; it became one of the first Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy). Beginning in 1639 and lasting for the rest of the century, the Seneca led an invasion of Western New York, driving out the existing tribes of Wenro, Erie and Neutrals.

Colonial and revolutionary era

When counties were established in New York State in 1683, the present Genesee County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). In 1784 Tryon County was renamed as Montgomery County. Around this time, the Pennsylvania Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony also claimed the territory as their own, but New York did not enforce its territorial claim. In 1789 Ontario County was split off from Montgomery as a result of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase. Again, the county theoretically extended west to the Pacific Ocean.

19th century politics: Origins of antimasonry

Genesee County was included in the 19th century "burned-over district"- the Western region of New York that was consumed by religious revivals characterized by "the evangelical desire to convert the entire American population to Christianity and to create a 'moral, homogeneous commonwealth.'" [7] This religious moral crusade provided the social atmosphere that allowed Antimasonic sentiment to gain momentum as a significant church-oriented movement, and, later, a grass-root political party that became the nation's first third party.

By the 1820s, the practice of Freemasonry was prevalent in Genesee County. From 1821 to 1827, half of all county officials were Freemasons.[8] In September 1826, William Morgan, a resident of Batavia, New York, disappeared after having been briefly imprisoned for failure to repay a debt. Morgan had been rejected from the Masonic lodge in Batavia, and, as a result, threatened to publish a book which exposed the secret rituals of Freemasonry. His disappearance and presumed murder ignited a campaign against Freemasonry. The investigation into Morgan's disappearance confronted major obstacles from government officials and the judiciary- positions that were largely occupied by Freemasons.[9] The Morgan affair combined with existing suspicions and distrust of the secrecy of Freemasonry initiated mass meetings throughout the county to decide how the issue of Freemasonry should be handled. The Antimasonry crusade's original goal was to oust Masons from political offices. Through the political guidance of party organizers, such as Thurlow Weed and William H. Seward, the crusade developed into a political party that enjoyed a political stronghold in Genesee County and the rest of the "burned-over district."

The Antimasonic Party found strong support within Genesee County from 1827 to 1833. The party averaged 69 percent of the vote and won every county office.[9] After continuous domination of Masonic politicians, citizens saw Antimasonry as a solution and an opportunity to restore justice and republicanism. The Baptist and Presbyterian churches favored Antimasonry and encouraged their members to renounce any ties with the fraternity. The party was originally associated with populist rhetoric, however, strong Antimasonic sentiment throughout the county correlated with positive economic developments and high population densities. Larger towns, such as Batavia, the county seat and Le Roy, harbored the strongest support for the party.[10] The timing of the creation of the Antimasonic Party coincided with a time in New York politics that encouraged the expansion of political participation. The party leaders made the Antimasonic Party, and later the Whig Party, a great success in Genesee County and other neighboring counties.

New York State

It was not until the Holland Purchase of 1793 that Western New York was officially enforced as the territory of New York State. Land in the region was sold through the Holland Land Company's office in Batavia, starting in 1801. All of the land in Western New York was in the newly created Genesee County, and all of that was in the single town of Batavia.

Genesee County was created by a partition of 7,100 square miles (18,000 km2) of land from Ontario County. The County was not fully organized so it remained under the supervision of Ontario County until it achieved full organization and separation during March 1803.[11]

On April 7, 1806, Genesee’s area was reduced to 5,550 square miles (14,400 km2) due to a partition that created Allegany County.[12] On March 8, 1808, Genesee’s area was again reduced, this time to 1,650 square miles (4,300 km2) due to a partition that created Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Niagara Counties.[13] On February 23, 1821, Genesee’s area was again reduced, this time to 1,450 square miles (3,800 km2) due a complex partition that produced Livingston[14] and Monroe Counties.[15] On April 15, 1825, another partition reduced Genesee’s area to 1,030 square miles (2,700 km2) in the creation of Orleans County.[16][17] On May 1, 1826, the Orleans partition was again surveyed, with 10 square miles (26 km2) of land along the western half of the Orleans/Genesee border returned to Genesee.[18] On March 19, 1841, Genesee’s area was again reduced, this time to the 500 square miles (1,300 km2) it remains to this day due to the partitioning to create Wyoming County.[19]

In 2009, the City and Town of Batavia began exploring ways to merge or consolidate governmental systems.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 495 square miles (1,280 km2), of which 493 square miles (1,280 km2) is land and 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2) (0.5%) is water.[20] Genesee County is east of Buffalo and southwest of Rochester in the western portion of New York State.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

Genesee County watersheds[21]

National protected area

State protected areas

County parks


Government and politics

Genesee County is governed by a 12–member legislature headed by a chairman.

Representation at other levels of government

Office District Area of the county Officeholder Party First took office Residence
Congressman New York's 27th congressional district All[23] Christopher C. Collins Republican 2013 Clarence, Erie County
State Senator 61st State Senate District All[24] Michael H. Ranzenhofer Republican 2009 Amherst, Erie County
State Assemblyman 139th State Assembly District All [25] Stephen M. Hawley Republican 2006 Batavia, Genesee County

Orleans County is part of:


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201558,937[26]−1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[27]
1790-1960[28] 1900-1990[29]
1990-2000[30] 2010-2013[1]

As of the 2000 census,[31] there were 60,370 people, 22,770 households, and 15,825 families residing in the county. The population density was 122 people per square mile (47/km²). There were 24,190 housing units with an average density of 49 per square mile (19/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.69% White, 2.13% Black or African American, 0.78% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.71% from other races, and 1.18% from two or more races. 1.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 25.0% were of German, 15.2% Italian, 13.5% English, 13.1% Irish, 8.9% Polish and 5.6% American ancestry according to Census 2000.[32] 96.5% spoke English and 1.5% Spanish as their first language.

There were 22,770 households, out of which 33.30% had children under the age of 18. 55.4% were married couples living together, 9.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.50% were non-families. 24.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.10% under the age of 18, 7.50% from 18 to 24, 29.50% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 96.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.00 males.

The U.S. Census in 2000 showed the county had a 63.7% employment rate and 2.9% were unemployed. The median income for a household in the county was $40,542, and the median income for a family was $47,771. Males had a median income of $34,430 versus $23,788 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,498. About 5.60% of families and 7.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.00% of those under age 18 and 6.80% of those age 65 or over.[33]


The county has 8 public school districts:

Several private schools at the primary and secondary levels are also maintained:

Genesee Community College has its main campus in the Town of Batavia.






Indian reservations

See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. "New York: Individual County Chronologies". New York Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  5. Geology The Buffalo Museum of Science, Retrieved on 2007-12-05
  6. "Excavation pit at the Byron Dig", The Buffalo Museum of Science, Retrieved on 2007-12-05
  7. William Preston Vaughn, The Antimasonic Party in the United States, 1826-1843 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1983), 21.
  8. Ronald P. Formisano and Kathleen Smith Kutolowski, "Antimasonry and Masonry: The Genesis of Protest, 1826-1827," American Quarterly 29 (1977): 145.
  9. 1 2 Kathleen Smith Kutolowski (1984). "Antimasonry reexamined: social bases of the grass-roots party". Journal of American History. 71 (2): 269–293. JSTOR 1901756.
  10. Darcy G. Richardson, Others: Third-Party Politics From the Nation's Founding to the Rise and Fall of the Greenback-Labor Party (New York: iUniverse, Inc., 2004), 51.
  11. New York. Laws of New York.:1802, 25th Session, Chapter 64, Page 97.
  12. New York. Laws of New York.:1806, 29th Session, Chapter 162, Section 1, Page 604.
  13. New York. Laws of New York.:1808, 31st Session, Chapter 15, Page 254.
  14. New York. Laws of New York.:1820, 44th Session, Chapter 58, Section 1, Page 50.
  15. New York. Laws of New York.:1820, 44th Session, Chapter 57, Section 1, Page 46.
  16. New York. Laws of New York.:1824, 47th Session, Chapter 266, Section 1, Page 326.
  17. New York. Laws of New York.:1825, 48th Session, Chapter 181, Sections 1 & 2, Page 273.
  18. New York. Laws of New York.:1826, 49th Session, Chapter 269, Page 302.
  19. New York. Laws of New York.:1841, 64th Session, Chapter 196, Section 1, Page 169.
  20. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  21. Genesee County All Hazard Multi-Jurisdictional Mitigation Plan, Chapter 4 Maps (1st Draft, May 2007)(See Watersheds-Genesee County, NY, Map 5), Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council
  22. Genesee County Park and Forest
  23. W, Eric (2012-04-02). "Congressional District 27" (PDF). View 2012 Congressional Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  24. W, Eric (2012-03-02). "Senate District 61" (PDF). View 2012 Senate District Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  25. W, Eric (2012-01-25). "Assembly District 139" (PDF). View Proposed 2012 Assembly District Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  26. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  27. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  28. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  29. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  30. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  31. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  32. American FactFinder. Retrieved on 2013-08-02.
  33. U.S. Census Bureau, Selected Economic Characteristics: 2000, Genesee County, New York
  34. Jamestown, LeRoy schools to close. Retrieved on 2013-08-02.

Coordinates: 43°00′N 78°11′W / 43.00°N 78.19°W / 43.00; -78.19

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