General History

Contact Information

Kay Thomas

Kay Thomas
607-292-3450


General History

The region of the Town of Wayne, New York, was first settled around 1791 by Abraham Hendricks; and it was organized as the Town of Frederickstown on 18 May 1796, when the County of Steuben County, New York, was formed from a part of the larger Ontario County, New York. Early settlers include Ephriam Sanford, Anthony Swarthout, Jabez Hopkins, and Joseph Bailey.

The town changed its name to "Wayne" on April 6, 1808 in honor of the Revolutionary War hero General Anthony Wayne (see below) and included what is now the smaller hamlet of Wayne, NY. Afterwards, the town was substantially reduced in size by the formation of other towns, including Reading (1806), Orange (1813) and Barrington (1826), and Tyrone (1822). In 1854 the size of the township was again reduced by moving a parcel of land to the Town of Tyrone, which included a large portion of the hamlet of Wayne. Also, a former hamlet in the township, further south, was known as "Wayne Four Corners".

In the era that began shortly after the Civil War and lasted through the first decade of this century, when vacationing at resort hotels was fashionable, people came from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington to stay at the Grove Springs Hotel on Lake Keuka.

The advertising brochures distributed by the hotel listed travel connections not only from the large eastern cities but from Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Louisville, Nashville, and Memphis. The train schedules showed times of departure from these cities and arrival at Grove Springs.

Town of Wayne 1801 - 1852

Wayne - Historical Gazetteer

Brigadier General Anthony Wayne was born in Pennsylvania in 1745.  His training was as a surveyor and in 1765 he was sent to Nova Scotia by Benjamin Franklin to survey land and natural resources.  After a year he returned to Pennsylvania to work in his father's tannery.

When the Revolutionary War broke out, he raised a militia unit and in 1776 he became colonel of the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment.  The highlight of Wayne's service in the Revolutionary War was probably his victory at Stony Point on the Hudson River.  Congress awarded him a medal for this victory.  In 1777 he was promoted to Brigadier General Anthony Wayne.

After the war he returned to Pennsylvania and served in the state legislature for a year in 1784.  He then settled in Georgia on land that was granted him by that state for his military service.  It was during this time that he was a delegate to the Georgia state convention, which ratified the United States Constitution in 1788.  He served a year in the Second United States Congress as a U.S. Representative of Georgia where he lost his seat during a debate over his residency qualifications.  He continued to serve his country until his death in 1796.

His military exploits and his fiery personality earned him the nickname "Mad Anthony."

Historic Valley Forge

Was General "Mad" Anthony Wayne Really Mad

American Revolution

Lamoka Indians.  According to the National Historic Landmark Program, the Lamoka Site (named a National Historic Landmark in 1961) provides us with the "first clear evidence of an archaic hunting and gathering culture in the Northeastern U.S. (c. 3500 BC)."  The site is approximately one acre in size and is situated between Lamoka and Waneta Lakes which were once in Steuben County.

Professional excavations at the site were conducted between 1925 and 1928 by the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences (now the Rochester Museum and Science Center).  Additional excavations at the Lamoka Lake Site were conducted between 1958 and 2000 by several other museums and universities.  These excavations were accompanied by increased publicity and investigations had to be halted because of the careless serachings of amateur archaeologists and artifact plundering.  However, it was through the excavations of the Rochester Museum and William Ritchie, archeologist, in 1925 that the Lamoka culture became so well known.  Mr. Ritchie's book The Archaeology of New York State published in 1965 and revised in 1980 is a remarkable resource.

Part of the archaeological site is protected in the Waneta-Lamoka Wildlife Management Area and the remaining portion of the site was purchased for preservation by The Archaeological Conservancy in 2006.

William A. Ritchie

Lamoka Site

Lamoka Artifacts


Visits to and information from the Wayne History Group are available by appointment only.

Donations Accepted.