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County History

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Ithaca, NY  14850
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County History

Tompkins County History

1802 Simeon Dewitt Map

Those taking up land the southern portion of what became Tompkins County—in today’s towns of Danby and Caroline and Newfield--were eastern New Yorkers, such as John Cantine who received state land in payment for services to the state. There were Southerners, too, looking for new land on which to resettle who bought tracts of land in numbered towns, such as Town #11, which became the Town of Caroline. Following the early settlers came ministers, lawyers, and merchants with goods for sale.
Hamlets grew up where an owner was willing to offer land (at Tremans, now Trumansburg) or where there were opportunities for milling (at Ludlow’s, now Ludlowville). For the land at the lake shore, Simeon Dewitt drew up a map of a village expecting it to become a commercial metropolis. His map of 1803 had placed the name Ithaca on the land, as did his 1807 sketch of streets. His land lay within Military Tract #22, the town of Ulysses. Settlement throughout the county followed these initial events. In 1810 DeWitt Clinton wrote that the “village has several houses, three taverns, and two or three stores, and mills in a ravine or hollow.”