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History of the County

Early Inventions of Cayuga County

   The 1800s were a prosperous time for Auburn and the rest of Cayuga County. The small urban community of Auburn played a crucial role in the industrialization of America. Hardwork, crafted skills, and ingenuity created an industrial boom throughout the county.
 It was a time for entreprenuers in Cayuga County during the 1800s. John D. Rockefeller, who was raised on a farm overlooking Owasco Lake, brought to life Standard Oil. Another man, Issac Singer, kept a merchant's shop and sawmill in nearby Port Byron. After keeping the business close to home for many years, he expanded nationally and then globally, bringing the world the Singer Sewing Machine Company. More....

Historic Churchs

   The Sennett Federated Church represents the congregations of two early pioneer churches of Cayuga County.  The pioneer church served not only the spiritual needs of its members but also was an extension of law and order, a social welfare agency, a center for social activities,as well as a forum for moral and political issues of the day.  Both the Baptist and Presbyterian congregations reflected in this 1928 merger adopted anti-slavery articles of faith early in the anti-slavery movement of Central New York.  More...

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century freedom-seeking slaves in the United States to escape into free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. The term is often also applied to the abolitionists, both black and white, free and enslaved, who aided the fugitives. While the term can apply to those helping freedom seekers, many who helped, did not participate in the abolition movement outside of their aid to the freedom seekers.  An example of such a person would be Auburn's William Seward.  There is one documented case of a freedom seeking slave hiding in the Seward home in Auburn, while the community pulled together resources to help the man get to Canada.  The man safely reached Canada via railroad.  However, Seward denied being an abolitionist, and while he supported bills stopping the spread of slavery westward, he also believed in leaving it intact where it already existed.

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