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CHAPTER X. GROOP VI: Counties-Boundaries-Topography, Prof. Hall's Description-Counties Deg.
cribed-Cayuga, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Yates-Area-Population-Capital in Agriculture-Value of Real and Personal Estate - Aggregate Valuation Personal and Real-Distribution of Land-Grass-TillageVegetable Products and Value-Animals-Products-Value-Agriculture-Grain GrowingAppendix- Agricultural Statistics-Assessed Value-Financial.
Counties. Cayuga, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Yates-11.
BOUNDARIES, &C. This group is bounded on the north by Lake Ontario, west by Niagara river, south by the north line of the counties of Erie, Wyoming, Steuben, Schuyler, Tompkins and Cortland, east by parts of the counties of Madison and Oswego. That part of the counties of Wyoming and Erie, which lies north of a line drawn from the southwest angle of Livingston county northwesterly to the city of Buffalo, properly belongs to this group; but as counties cannot be divided, it is returned in the other groups.
TOPOGRAPHY. In its general appearance it is level or gently undulating, rising into hills only on its southern boundary, where it approaches the higher members of the New York system rocks, in the adjoining group. It lies wholly within the Lake Ontario basin, as its drainage is entirely into that lake.
It occupies nearly the whole of the limestone stratas below the Hamilton group of the New York system.
Its soil is therefore highly calcareous, of unsurpassed fertility, and may be ranked as a first class soil. Its general elevation is two hundred to five hundred feet above tide. Its climate and soil are favorable to a high condition of agriculture, while its canals, lakes and railroads ensure a cheap transit of its produce to ready markets, and induce a state of prosperity highly advantageous to the employment of an immense manufacturing capital, and a rapid increase of its population and wealth.
It is a grain and fruit producing region. The apple, peach and pear flourish well here, and along the margins of the several inland lakes for a breadth of from half a mile to a mile there is some of the finest lands for the cultivation of the vine of any in the Union, and already vineyards have assumed a prominence in the agriculture of the group.
The same cause which so modified the condition of the surface of the last group, which lies mostly to the south of this, was still more powerfully felt here. More than a thousand feet of rock which lay above the highest strata of limestone in this group has been worn away, and a level country when looked at from the north, presenting a gradual southern elevation, reached by terraces of varying height.
Prof. Hall* thus describes the topographical features of this group, and
• Natural History of New York.
as it is affected by its geology; his remarks are reproduced entire, so far as they are pertinent; he says: “Bordering Lake Ontario on the south is a low plateau, gradually rising to the south for a distance of from four to eight miles, when we abruptly ascend a terrace which at its western extremity attains a height of two hundred feet, but which slopes gently down almost to the general level further east. From the top of this terrace we pass over a broad plateau of nearly level country, slightly depressed towards the centre, but rising gently again to the south, till we come to the base of a second terrace, having a general height of sixty feet or more above the country on the north. These two terraces correspond with the out crop of the two great limestone formations, the southern one extending throughout the State, forming a prominent feature from the Hudson to the Niagara river. Beyond the terrace last mentioned, the country is level and generally even for several miles, when we commence a gradual ascent to higher ground. Here, however, there is no definite line bounding the southern extension, as in the case of the two. terraces, but the outline is irregular, projecting in one part and receding in another. We find ourselves upon the margin of a country composed of hills and valleys, having no general direction other than that given by the water courses." This hilly country generally forms the southern boundary of the group, though it may occupy a portion of its southern limits, with its less fertile hills and valleys.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF COUNTIES WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR PRESENT AND
CAYUGA COUNTY. The county of Cayuga is bounded on the north by Lake Ontario, on the east by parts of the courties of Oswego, Onondaga and Cortland, on the south by Tompkins, on the west by the county of Wayne, part of the county of Seneca and Cayuga lake.
It extends entirely across the wheat lands of the wheat region, and embraces portions of the second class lands on its south-eastern bounds. Its surface is generally undulating, and in a large portion the soil fertile, and well adapted to the growth of winter wheat, or to the successful cultivation of spring grains and ta grazing.
It has extensive hydraulic power, which to a considerable extent is profitably improved, and is creating an extensive manufacturing centre. Its great advantages, in regard to the canals and numerous railroads, and developing the hydraulic power and its manufacturing capacities, is rapidly increasing its population and wealth, making one of the important inland counties whose valuations will require annual adjustment. The presence of one of the State prisons in the county adds sensibly to its increasing wealth.
It should be remarked in connection with the farming lands of this county, that the marshes occupy a considerable tract which, until drained, are productive of no income to the owners and cannot be made available for public revenue. When properly drained, however, the aggregate value of the farm lands of the county will be materially enhanced.
GENESEE County. The county of Genesee is bounded west by Erie county, north by Orleans, east by Livingston and Monroe, south by Wyoming. It is situated on the southern limits of the wheat region, nearly one-third of its territory bounding upon Wyoming, being properly included in the second class lands. The surface is gently undulating, except on its extreme southern border, where it is more hilly. It has some valuable hydraulic power, but it is not sufficient to warrant any important manufacturing town. Its public improvements consist in railroads, which traverse it in various directions, and help, by the facilities thus furnished its farmers for marketing their produce, to make it a thriving county. Its population, however, will increase but slowly, and its increase in wealth will not be rapid. Two-thirds of the county, embracing the middle and north portions, may be classed as first quality, where the soil is admirably calculated for the profitable cultivation of winter wheat. In the southern third, winter wheat can be grown to a greater or less extent; but as a general rule, the soil is better adapted to the spring grains, and to grazing. It has no important commercial or manufacturing facilities.
LIVINGSTON County. The county of Livingston is bounded north by the county of Monroe, east by the county of Ontario, south by parts of the counties of Allegany and Steuben, and west by parts of the counties of Genesee and Wyoming. The southern portion of the county is hilly, and a small part of it is within the range of second class lands. By far the largest portion of the county, however, is of the very first quality of land, its soil being well adapted to the growth of winter wheat. Few, if any counties in the State have so great a variety of first class lands, adapted to the profitable cultivation of all the grains and to the production of the grasses at the same time.
It has comparatively little capacity for profitable manufacturing; but it has, in addition to the Genesee Valley canal, which traverses it from north to south, lines of railroads through it, both east and west and north and south. Its population and wealth will continue to increase, but not as rapidly as those counties which have larger manufacturing centres. But it will increase more rapidly than the counties immediately joining it on the west or south.
MONROE COUNTY. The county of Monroe is bounded north by Lake Ontario, east by part of the counties of Wayne and Ontario, south by the county of Livingston, and west by parts of the counties of Genesee and Orleans. It lies within the wheat-land district. The surface is generally undulating, and the soil generally of great fertility. It is adapted to the cultivation of winter wheat and successful fruit growing. It is, therefore, one of the first class counties in regard to its agricultural capacities.
The Genesee river furnishes superior manufacturing advantages; and the city of Rochester is now extensively engaged in manufacturing, and will ultimately become a manufacturing center of great importance. Its