SOME OF THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF SCIPIO
CAYUGA COUNTY NEW YORK by Austin B. Comstock
I will be posting each page of this history separately. The index, posted on June 24, 2014 in 4 parts, provides the page numbers; you can also search the blog for a particular name appearing anywhere within it. I hope you find something new!
Some of the Early History of the Town of Scipio, Cayuga County, New York
This town was one of the old townships of the Military Tract and was formed March 5th, 1794, deriving its name from that of a Roman general, as did many of the other towns in this tract.
Scipio was much larger then than now, and originally embraced Sempronius, which was taken off March 9th, 1799, a part of Marcellus in Onondaga County, set off in 1804, and the towns of Ledyard, Venice and part of Springport, which were set off January 30, 1823. The writer has had to go to the Onondaga County Clerk’s office at two different times in the past years to look up records of the Town of Scipio of the early days.
Probably about 1788 surveyors got orders to survey a reservation for the Indians, in compliance with a treaty made with them some time after the Sullivan Raid of 1799. The surveyors came with ample supplies and many servants and helpers.
At that time the Indians were numerous and partly civilized, their fathers having received instruction from the Catholic “Fathers” who visited them during the preceding century. Many of them were Christians and knew something of the English language. They had many miles of land under a good state of cultivation, raising corn, beans and garden vegetables from the seed obtained from the missionaries, and also knew something of flowers and fruit as the many Indian apple orchards show.
It was a morning in October that the Jacobs staff * was set up at high water and proceeded slowly up the hill from the lake. They were to proceed four miles directly east t about where Sherwood now stands, thence north twelve miles, thence west twelve miles, thence south twelve miles, thence east eight miles to the east shore of the lake at Chanandolo (usually spelled “Chonodote” – Peachtown) at the north end of the Aurora village as we now know it; thus making the Indian reservation 12 miles square, with about 32 square miles in Cayuga County and the same in Seneca County and about the same of Cayuga Lake.
About 1789, the land adjoining the reservation was surveyed and allotted to Revolutionary soldiers. One historian states that each soldier received one square mile, but from information I have taken from the Balloting Book I feel this is a mistake. The Balloting Book shows some men were given as much as 1,200 to 1,800 acres and some high officers even more.
*Note from sg: In surveying, the Jacob's staff, contemporaneously referred to as a jacob staff, is a single straight rod or staff made of nonferrous material, pointed and metal-clad at the bottom for penetrating the ground. It also has a screw base and occasionally a ball joint on the mount, and was used for supporting a compass, transit, or other instrument.END PAGE 2