Information

Historical Boundaries

The Town of Wayne of Steuben County, New York, was once a part of the territory of the Seneca Indians.  The entire region was likely considered hunting grounds of the Six Nations, especially Indians of the area known as Genesee who migrated to the area for better hunting.  This once British Occupied territory was thereafter in possession of and later given (by King James I) to the Massachusetts Bay Company which then became part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  By all reports of conflicting and overlapping descriptions written into former royal grants, confusions were finally reconciled by the Hartford Convention of 1786.

In April 1788 Nathaniel Gorham and Oliver Phelps contracted with Massachusetts to buy about 6 million acres of the aforementioned Massachusetts property.  In the same year, they then purchased 2,600,000 of Western NY territory acreage from the Seneca Indians.  Massachusetts conveyed title to Phelps and Gorham in November 1788 and and by November 1790 they had sold fifty of the six-mile-square townships.  Phelps and Gorham had contracted to survey the entire land purchase area and divided the property into seven ranges, six miles each in width.  Each of these ranges were then divided into 6 townships, six miles square and sold as such.  A survey was performed for Phelps and Gorham by a Frederick Saxton, who was headquartered out of an outpost in Painted Post, later of Steuben County.  Painted Post was the first habituated establishment when Steuben County was established in 1796.  It was also the first trading post where gunpowder, knives, etc. could be purchased.  NY Census records of 1790 show the Town of Fredericktown (the original name of Wayne) listed as part of Painted Post.  During this period, Revolutionary War soldiers commanding boats that were attached to General Sullivan's Army in the invasion of Genesee in 1779 were documented in McMaster's book as having gone up the river out of curiosity to see the lands available.  Phelps and Gorham were financially unable to complete their contract with Massachusetts and the remaining acreage was sold (all but two townships) by Phelps and Gorham to Robert Morris (a Revolutionary War soldier) of Philadelphia.  A sales office was established in Canandaigua as General Sullivan's Revolutionary War Soldieries were seeking new land/homes.  Before 1790 at least 50 townships were sold to established towns wishing to expand and to individuals and farmers.  In 1792 Morris sold the remaining acreage to Charles Williamson of the Pultney Estate.  In 1805 Pultney died leaving the estate to his wife who was residing in Bath.  Mrs. Pultney died in 1808 and remaining acreage was bequesthed to Earnest Augustus, John L. Johnston, Charles Pierrpoint, Masterton Ure, and David Calhart by way of a trust to sell ASAP to resolve Pultney indebtedness to Scotland and England.  The  major liaison and trustee of this Pultney arrangement was Charles Williamson, the closest available agent of the Pultney Estate.  Charles died in 1811.

In March, 1796, Steuben County was formally formed from the southeastern part of Ontario County.  The first six towns of the new county were established by the New York Legislature in April 1801.  They were:  Bath, Canisteo, Dansville, Middletown, Painted Post and Fredericktown.  Fredericks/Fredericktown was known to have been named for Frederick Bartles, a Revolutionary War Veteran from Prussia who had lumbering operations at Bradford.  In early maps Frederickstown is included in the area of present Wayne Township.  Revolutionary Soldiers rapidly settled throughout Steuben County in the late 1700s and early 19th century.

In 1808 the state legislature honored the Revolutionary War hero General "Mad" Anthony Wayne by renaming Fredericktown to Wayne.  In February 1813, another new town, Jersey, was formed from the southern part of Wayne, and in 1809 the Bluff Point area of Wayne and Pultney was returned to Ontario County from Steuben County.  From 1810 to 1820 the census showed an increase in the population of Wayne from 1025 to 3607 even though the town lost a third of its area to Jersey and to Ontario.  In 1822 Wayne was reduced to only one third its remaining size when the towns of Barrington and Tyrone were formed.  Urbana town had been formed in 1822 from the northern part of Bath.  Jersey was divided into the towns of Bradford and Orange in 1836.  Then in 1854 the New York Legislature formed Schuyler County.  This new county included the whole towns of Tyrone, Orange and Reading and pieces of Wayne and Barrington to straighten boundary lines.  Since 1854, boundaries of Wayne town have remained the same.

Central New York Military Tract

Revolutionary War Bounty Land

Changing Boundaries in the Area of the Present Town of Wayne


The Pre-Emption Line, Part I

The Pre-Emption Line, Part II


The Pre-Emption Line, Part III

Steuben County Origins