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Flexible Tradition: The History of the Courts in Genesee County, New York, 1802 to the Present

This article originally appeared on the Historical Society of the New York Courts website.
This article was written by Michael Eula, Genesee County Historian

Genesee County was established in 1802 as a result of an act of the New York State Legislature.2 As a consequence of the county’s establishment, four towns were created in the initial organization of Genesee County. These towns were Batavia, Northampton, Southampton, and Leicester. The 1802 Act was largely the consequence of one person’s efforts—Joseph Ellicott.3 In 1797, the Holland Land Company hired Ellicott as a land agent. Ellicott was ultimately responsible for the organization of the Holland Land Company’s possessions throughout western New York.

Before the completion of the American Revolution and the formal establishment of Genesee County, this area was part of what was known as the “Six Nations Indian Country.”4 Prior to the arrival of the Holland Land Company, this area of about three million acres featured forests and numerous Native American villages. Despite the density of the forests, Native Americans already explored the rich soil typical of this region. Accordingly, areas had already been developed so as to plant and harvest beans, squash, pumpkins, and corn. Read more...