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Genesee County New York

Gifford-Walker Farmhouse, ca. 1870, 7083 North Bergen Road, North Bergen, NY, National Register

Photo: Gifford-Walker Farmhouse, ca. 1870, 7083 North Bergen Road, North Bergen, NY. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Photographed by User:Daniel Case (own work), 2010, [cc-by-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed September, 2013.

The Genesee County Courthouse is located at 1 West Main Street, Batavia NY 14020; phone: 585-344-2550.

Beginnings [1]

The name Genesee is of Seneca origin, signifying "pleasant valley."

In early colonial days all of Western New York was called Tryon County, then Montgomery; after 1788, when the preemption line was agreed upon, the territory west of that was called Ontario ; after the western bounds of the Phelps and Gorham purchase were determined the portion of the State west of it was called Genesee County. The county was established in 1802 as Genesee, embracing what is now eight counties. In 1801 Joseph Ellicott erected the land office of the Holland Land Company at Batavia, and this became the center; its judicious selection on the main Indian trail, and in the direct path of emigration, with its natural advantages and surroundings, has rendered Batavia one of the wealthiest and most beautiful villages of Western New York. Counties were erected from the original Genesee as follows:

  • Allegany, in 1806, with Angelica as capital.
  • Niagara, in 1808, with Buffalo as shire town; Lockport county seat in 1821.
  • Chautauqua, in 1811, county seat at Maysville.
  • Cattaraugus, in 1817, jail and court-house at Ellicottsville.
  • Erie, in 1821, erected from Niagara with Buffalo for its shire.
  • Orleans, in 1821, county seat at Albion.
  • Wyoming, in 1841, with Warsaw for its shire.

Genesee, in its present organization, retains the original county seat, Batavia, with history and importance sufficient to almost render it classical. It has been and is the beehive of industry and facts from which those counties and colonies have swarmed.

Prior to the erection of the counties named above Genesee was divided into four townships: Northampton, Leicester, Southampton, and Batavia. Northampton embraced the northern portion of Morris Reserve, Leicester the central portion, and Southampton the southern; Batavia embraced the entire Holland Purchase.

  1. F. W. Beers, ed., Gazetteer and Biographical Record of Genesee County, N.Y., 1788-1890, J. W. Vose & Co., Publishers, Syracuse, 1890
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