The Military Tract of Central New York, also called the New Military
Tract, consisted of nearly two million acres (8,100 km2) of
bounty land set aside to compensate New York's soldiers after their
participation in the Revolutionary War.
Province of New York
Lysander Hannibal Cato Brutus Camillus Cicero Manlius Aurelius Marcellus Pompey Romulus Scipio Sempronius Tully Fabius Ovid Milton Locke Homer Solon Hector Ulysses Dryden Virgil Cincinnatus Junius Galen Sterling
The tract covered the present counties of Cayuga, Cortland, Onondaga,
and Seneca, and parts of Oswego, Tompkins, Schuyler and Wayne. Most of
these township names are reflected in current town names in these
counties, but the area of the military townships do not correspond
exactly with any of the modern towns, which only cover a fraction of
the original townships.
The names themselves have been attributed to Robert Harpur, a clerk in
the office of New York's Surveyor General, Simeon De Witt. Harpur
apparently had an interest in classical literature.
Townships were as far as geographically feasible made up of a 10x10
square of mile-square (640-acre [2.6 km2]) lots; 40 acres
(16 ha) were used for boundary roads, leaving 600 acres
(2.4 km2) to be deeded in each lot. Ninety-four lots in each
Township were to be deeded, with the other six reserved for public
purposes such as churches and schools.
The portion of the Military Tract north of Seneca Lake (i.e. townships
of Galen and Junius) was divided by the New
March 20, 1781: New York legislature authorizes a military tract as part of law to raise its quota of regiments October 19, 1781: Cornwallis surrenders, end of Revolutionary War July 25, 1782: approximate boundaries (to be surveyed) of original 25 townships established by NY legislature September 3, 1783: Treaty of Paris: Peace settlement with Great Britain September 12, 1788: Treaty of Fort Stanwix: Onondaga Indian title to the military tract was extinguished – Onondaga Indian Reservation created February 25, 1789: Treaty at Albany: Cayuga Indian title to the military tract extinguished – Cayuga Indian Reservation created 1789: Military tract surveyed July 3, 1790: Names given to the first 25 townships at a meeting of the Commissioners of the Land Office of New York, chairman Governor George Clinton 1791: Lots drawn and assigned to settlers 1791: Name given to Township 26 (Junius) by Commissioners 1792: Name given to Township 27 (Galen) by Commissioners 1795: Name given to Township 28 (Sterling) by Commissioners 1799: Deadline to settle
Names of Townships in the Military Tract History of The Military T