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New York Counties

There are sixty-two counties in the State of New York. The first twelve counties in New York were created immediately after the British annexation of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, although two of these counties have since been abolished. The most recent county formation in New York was in 1912, when Bronx County was created from the portions of New York City that had been annexed from Westchester County.

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Tompkins County, New York

Tompkins County Education, Geography, and HistoryTompkins County, New York Courthouse

Tompkins County is a county located in the state of New York. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 101,564. The county seat is Ithaca. The name is in honor of Daniel D. Tompkins, who served as Governor of New York and Vice President of the United States.

Tompkins County comprises the Ithaca, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Tompkins County Name

Named in honor of Daniel D. Tompkins, a vice president of the United States and governor of New York


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Tompkins County History

Tompkins County, named in honor of the Hon. Daniel D. Tompkins, formerly Vice-president of the United States, was taken from Cayuga and Seneca counties in 1817; limits since changed. Greatest length E. and W. 34, greatest breadth N. and S. 8 miles; centrally distant from New York 212, and from Albany 163 miles.

This county forms part of the high land in the southwestern portion of the state. Its summit generally is eleyated from 1,200 to 1,400 feet, but the singular and deep basins in which lie the Cayuga and Seneca lakes, have given a peculiar formation to its surface, and to the course and character of its streams. The Cayuga lake indents it on the N. about 18 miles; the Seneca lake extends southerly on its western border 12 miles. The greater portion of the country declines from all sides towards the Cayuga lake. The ascent from the shores of the lake is gradual and ~mriooth to the eye, yet it is rapid, and attains within 2 miles the height of at least 500 feet. This gives to the streams a precipitous character. The towns of Newfield, Danby, and Caroline, were purchased from the state by Messrs. Watkins and Flint. The towns north of these, excepting a small portion in the northeastern part of Dryden, belong to the military tract. That portion was in the cession to Massachusetts. The county is chiefly settled by New England emigrants. The New York and Erie railroad passes through the county. Tompkins county is divided into 10 towns. (Historical Collections of the State of New York, Past and Present, John Barber, Clark Albien & Co., 1851)

Tompkins County has been shaped by its land and the people who came here to live on it. It is an area of great natural beauty with Cayuga Lake at its center and gorges, creeks and hills all around. Its geography and climate have challenged those who lived and worked here, but they have also presented opportunities and spurred creative solutions. Full History at NYSAC

Geography: Land and Water

Tompkins County is in the west central part of New York State, south of Syracuse and northwest of Binghamton. It is usually geographically grouped with the Central New York region, but locals often consider themselves to be part of the Southern Tier.

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 492 square miles (1,273 km2), of which, 476 square miles (1,233 km2) of it is land and 16 square miles (40 km2) of it (3.17%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Cayuga County, New York - north
  • Cortland County, New York - northeast
  • Tioga County, New York - southeast
  • Chemung County, New York - southwest
  • Schuyler County, New York - west
  • Seneca County, New York - northwest


It is home to Cornell University, Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College.

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