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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.

Wayne County, New York

Wayne County Education, Geography, and HistoryWayne County, New York Courthouse

Wayne County is a county located in the state of New York. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 93,772. The county seat is Lyons. The name honors General Anthony Wayne, an American Revolutionary War hero and American statesman.

Wayne County is part of the Rochester, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area and lies on the south shore of Lake Ontario, forming part of the northern border of the United States with Canada.

Etymology - Origin of Wayne County Name

Named in honor of General Anthony Wayne, whose victory over the confederated Indian tribes made possible the 1794 treaty that assured Western New York to the United States


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

WayneCounty History

This county (Named in honor of Gen. Anthony Wayne) was formed from Ontario and Seneca, April 11, 1823. It lies upon Lake Ontario, w. of the center of the State; is centrally distant 171 mi. from Albany, and contains 624 sq. mi. ... Agriculture forms the leading pursuit. The branches, in the order of importance, are grain raising, stock growing, dairying, and wool growing. Fruit is extensively cultivated, and is rapidly becoming one of the most important agricultural products. ... The county seat is located at the village of Lyons, near the center of the co. ... The Erie Canal extends through the S. tier of towns; and along its course are the most populous and thriving villages of the co. The direct branch of the N. Y. Central R. R. between Syracuse and Rochester extends, along the course of the canal, through Savannah, Galen, Lyons, Arcadia, Palmyra, and Macedon. A ship canal route and a R. R. route have been surveyed, connecting the Erie Canal and Central R. R. with Lake Ontario. ... The earliest white inhabitants were hunters and trappers. The first permanent settlements were made in 1789, at Palmyra, under the auspices of General John Swift, agent of a company of settlers from Con.; and at Lyons, under Charles Williamson, agent for the Pulteney Estate. From 1790 to 1794, colonies came in from R. I., Long Island, and Maryland. The settlements did not progress with great rapidity for several years, owing to the diseases which prevailed. The fear of Indian hostilities and of British invasion during the War of 1812 greatly retarded settlement. On the return of peace, settlers began to arrive in considerable numbers, principally from New England and Eastern N. Y. The completion of the Erie Canal gave a new impulse to immigration; and in a few years the flourishing villages of Lyons, Clyde, Palmyra, and Newark were built up along its course. The N. Y. Central R. R. built through the co. in 1852-53, greatly benefited the co. and enhanced the value of the lands. The most notable of the later incidents of the co. have been the rise of Mormonism in Palmyra, and the commencement of spiritual rappings in Arcadia. (Excerpts from the "Gazetteer of the State of New York," by J. H. French, 1860)

The earliest inhabitants of the land now called Wayne County were members of the Algonkian Indian group. Artifacts found throughout the county, and especially in the town of Savannah, indicate that Indians at one time did have permanent or seasonal camps in the area. In fact as far back as 10,000 years ago, hunters following the retreating glacier moved into the area to hunt such animals as mastodon and moose elk. Once agriculture was introduced into the societies, permanent settlement moved to the south of Wayne County, into the area around the Finger Lakes.

Geography: Land and Water

Wayne County is in the western part of New York State, east of Rochester and northwest of Syracuse, on the south shore of Lake Ontario. Sodus Bay is located on the north shoreline of the county. Wayne is bounded by five other New York counties: the northern boundary is Lake Ontario with Canada on the opposite shore; the western boundary is Monroe County; and the eastern boundary is Cayuga County; the south boundary is shared with Ontario and Seneca Counties.

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,384 square miles (3,585 km2), of which, 604 square miles (1,565 km2) of it is land and 780 square miles (2,020 km2) of it (56.35%) is water.

The Clinton Formation, a band of red hematite across the county, led to a thriving iron industry during the 19th century. Furnaces were located in the Towns of Ontario and Wolcott.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Lake Ontario and Canada - north
  • Cayuga County, New York - east
  • Seneca County, New York - southeast
  • Ontario County, New York - southwest
  • Monroe County, New York - west


Wayne County does not have a single unified school district to deliver K-12 education, but multiple central school districts. Each district is governed by a locally-elected board of education, run by a hired superintendent, and funded largely through property taxes, as well as state and federal aid. These districts include:

Palmyra-Macedon Central School District
Wayne Central School District
Gananda Central School District
Newark Central School District
Marion Central School District
Williamson Central School District
Lyons Central School District
North Rose-Wolcott Central School District
Red Creek Central School District
Sodus Central School District
Clyde-Savannah Central School District

As with all educational activities in New York State, Wayne County's school systems are ultimately answerable to the New York State Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department, as well as their local communities. These districts also participate in the Wayne Finger Lakes Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), a state-established organization which shares common educational resources and has its own elected board and superintendent.

Wayne County also has several private, parochial/religiously-based schools, including:

East Palmyra Christian School
Heritage Baptist Christian School, Palmyra

Wayne County is not home to any regionally-accredited institutions of higher learning, but has a satellite campus of Finger Lakes Community College in Newark to serve the associate degree-level learner and has access to many excellent public and private colleges and universities in immediately adjacent counties (such as SUNY Brockport, SUNY Oswego, University of Rochester, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, to name just a few).

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