Tioga County, New York

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Tioga County administrative offices are located at 56 Main Street, Owego NY 13827; phone: 607‑687‑8200.


Beginnings [1]

The county was legally organized under its present name by an act of the legislature passed February 16, 1791. It was carved out of territory previously embraced within the limits of Montgomery county, which had been called before and during the revolutionary war, down to the year 1784, Tryon county, in honor of one of the late colonial governors, who, unfortunately, proved himself throughout the national struggle an uncompromising enemy to the American cause. By reason of this his name had become so unpalatable to the people of the state that it was no longer applied to the county; and by legislative enactment in that year (1784) the name of Montgomery was substituted, in honor of the Irish soldier, General Montgomery, who fell during his gallant attack on Quebec at an early period of the war. At the date of its organization, Tioga county embraced not only its present limits, but also the counties of Chemung, Broome and Chenango. Its boundaries were Otsego county on the east; the Military Tract and Herkimer county on the north; Ontario on the west — out of which Steuben was erected in 1796; and the Pennsylvania line on the south. Its towns, commencing at its westerly limit, were Newtown, Chemung, Owego, none of whose territory was then where it now is, but all of it lay west of the Owego creek, and then embraced what are now Tioga, Candor, Spencer, Barton and Nichols, in Tioga county, and Caroline, Danby and Newfield, in Tompkins county; next easterly to Owego creek was Union, which included within its limits what are now Owego, Newark, Berkshire and Richford, in Tioga county, Union, Vestal, Lisle, etc., in Broome county, artd the westerly portion of what is now Chenango county; next easterly was Chenango; and next easterly and northerly was Jericho, which covered territory then lying in the easterly part of what is now Chenango county. Thus it is seen that the six old towns, Newtown, Chemung, Owego, Union, Chenango and Jericho, then covered territory which the fifty-two towns of Chemung, Tioga, Broome and Chenango counties, and three towns, Caroline, Danby and Newfield, in Tompkins county now cover, fifty-five in all.

The first loss sustained by Tioga in the organization of other counties was in 1798, when the northeasterly corner of her ancient domain, and a strip from the westerly part of Herkimer, were taken to make up the then county of Chenango, which, in its turn was found large enough, in 1806, to admit of the erection of Madison county out of its northern half. Next in the order of time, 1806, was the organization of Broome county, taken from Tioga, and named in honor of the then Lieutenant Governor. It embraced, originally, the old towns of Chenango, etc., and territory forming Owego, Newark, Berkshire and Richford. The next change was in 1822, when the territory now included within the towns of Owego, Newark, Berkshire and Richford was taken from Broome and re-annexed to Tioga, and the towns of Caroline, Danby and Newfield were taken from Tioga and added to Tompkins. By the same legislature Tioga county was divided into two jury districts, Owego and Elmira becoming half-shire towns. This latter act proved to be but a preliminary step to the subsequent establishment of Chemung county, resulting, in 1836, in a complete severance of the connection and mutuality of interests.

This leaves the county of which we write as it is to-day, with an area of about 542 square miles, bounded north by Tompkins and Cortland counties, east by Broome county, south by the Pennsylvania line, and west by Chemung county. It is divided into nine towns, as follows: Barton, Berkshire, Candor, Newark Valley, Nichols, Owego, Richford, Spencer and Tioga.

  1. Gay, W.B., ed., Historical Gazetteer of Tioga County, New York, 1785-1888, W. B. Gay & Co., Syracuse, 1887

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