Essay Sample on Rochester and Western New York History

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1432 Words
Date:  2022-12-11


The history of Western New York starts in the 10,000 B.C after the first people settled in the region. Several cultural groups lived and put a mark on Western New York. Following the glacial retreat, the earliest inhabitants around 10,000 BC were believed to be the Clovis people and the Lamokas in 3500 BC, who were hunters and scavenged through the rural areas. The Hopewell Indians succeeded the Lamokas who were mound builders and flourished in the country around 300 AD. Hopewell Indians are believed to be the first group to carry out large scale farming in the region, taming large corn fields in the fertile Genesee River floodplain, they produced and smoked tobacco, and excelled in stone carvings and copper work. Several years later, the area was tightly inhabited by the Iroquoians, surviving on plenty of cultivated food, game, and fish.

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With the growth of the native population, disputes drove a group into different tribes. Western New York turned into the Seneca domain. Conflicts became rampant until Hiawatha, an Onondaga, and Deganawidah, a Mohawk, joined Jikohnaseh, the Peace Mother of the Neutral tribe around Lake Erie, and together they established the Great Law of Peace (McKelvey, 1945). The law provided power to mothers in the clan, who nominated the chiefs and created the longhouse as a sign of universal harmony and peace under one roof (Hewith, 2001).

Political Development

The state of New York acquired its constitution in 1777, generating a strict and robust executive power division. A decade later, it actively influenced federal law. The groups referred to as Antifederalists - up starters that opposed big national institutions - and Federalists - down starters supporting a vibrant central government, were formed in 1787 following debates over the federal constitution (Sternberg, 1991). New York became the national capital from 1785 up until 1790; in 1789, George Washington got inaugurated as U.S first president before the Federal Hall. Drafting of the U.S bill of rights was also carried out there. From statehood to 1797, the legislature often shifted the state capital between New York city, Kingstone, and Albany. Henceforth, Albany reserved the role.


The French raided and destroyed Ganondagan - the site of a dynamic seventeenth-century Seneca settlement - in 1678. Ganondagan fell into a three-hundred-year decline after the war. Currently, the Ganondagan State Historic Site is a crucial link to early Native American culture and history. Its two hundred and seventy-seven acres include three walking trails: The Granary Trail, the Trail of Peace, and Our Mother Trail which tell of the oral tradition, medicine and Seneca history (Hewith, 2001).

The Revolutionary War

The Iroquois Confederacy took part in vibrant and often warlike diplomacy with tribes in the whole of the eastern U.S. The Iroquois teamed up with the British in the Radical War and were quite upsetting to the American team until John Sullivan's excursion broke their power in 1779. Sullivan's army merged with Pennsylvania and New England soldiers and progressed into Western New York from the south. They fought a pivotal war at Newtown near Elmira in Chemung County in 1779 where the British allies and Indians suffered a bloody conquest (Sternberg, 1991). Sullivan was then able to go deep into the Genesee Valley with slight confrontation.

The regions fertile soil fit for farming and its beauty struck the defense forces serving with the excursion. Majority of them returned after the war, building towns and settlements, and dividing up the native lands. Through some pacts between the new federal government and the Indians at Canandaigua in 1974, and at Big Tree in 1979, the western nations were finally inhabited, and European progression would start in solemn. The British held their stronghold in Niagara until the war ended in 1812 (McKelvey, 1949).

Growth of Rochester

Following the 1812 war that removed the British military threat from Western New York, settlers swiftly started filling up the region. The primitive forest fell on the inhabitant's ax, and cities and villages developed in the wilderness. The onset of the Erie Canal in 1852 led to Rochester America's first boomtown (McKelvey, 1945). Most of the immigrants originated from other nations, settlers who had initiated the force of the back-breaking canal development as well as others through searching for their affluence in the newly available lands, moved farther west. But then, most of them remained to manage the factories and farms of the progressing industrial age. The city of Rochester grew near the Genesee River's High Falls, whose water motorized early mills. Rochester was then referred to as the Flour City, with the rich farmland's abundance floating down the stream for processing for the market (McKelvey, 1945). For once, the Genesee Country worked as the developing nation's granary. Vegetables and fruits flourished as well in the moderate climates close to the Great Lakes. Most seed houses and nurseries boomed, filling the gardens and farm needs nationally. Soon the Flour City became the Flower City (McKelvey 1949). Today, the area is still a top agricultural region.


Western New York was the origin of one of the universes' greatest religions after the Book of Mormon was dug up by Joseph Smith on the Palmyra hillside. Other faiths began with similar eagerness and diminished after short-term historical runs. The three Fox sisters of sleepy Hydesville in Wayne County came up with a worldwide stir in 1848, with claims of having heard 'music' from the graves. They offered public expositions of their capability of communicating with the deceased. From the meek early developments, the current role of an intermediate grew, and the new Spiritualism religion was created. In Yates, a group of Jemima Wilkinson followers inhabited the area around Lake Keuka.

Women's Rights

The new religious climate aided the women in Western New York cut their teeth on social issues like abolition and temperance, and progress to their first women's rights movement. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organized campaigns for the 1st Woman's Rights Convention in 1848 (Hewith, 2001). Rochesterians Fredrick Douglas - a former slave and abolitionist leader - and Susan Anthony were two of her closest associates in the campaign. Later, Anthony faced imprisonment for illicitly trying to cast his votes. After almost seventy years, the women's suffrage eventually became the law of the land with the implementation of the nineteenth amendment.

Industrial Revolution

The same inventiveness which yoked the river, and controlled the wilderness soon bloomed in an industrial revolution of technology. George Eastman created the business in 1880 which could drive Rochester to its role as the World's Image Center today. The new plates film process and the Kodak camera developed by George enabled photography to be a hobby for ordinary people (Sternberg, 1991). While George was playing with his film, other Western New Yorkers visualized evolutions in aviation and other means of transportation. Curtis Glenn, a Hammondsport native, was among the first innovators of modern aviation. The first pre-announced public flight just west of the village in 1908, belonged to Curtis.

In 1807, Fulton Robert introduced a Steamboat commuter to Albany from New York, and Albany became the nation's turnpike point in 1815. The Hudson and Mohawk railroad began the nation's first fruitful frequently-scheduled steam railroad service (Stenberg, 1991). Evolution in the transport sector quickly resulted in settlement of the Niagara Frontier, and Genesee and Mohawk valleys. Rochester and Buffalo became wealthy cities. By 1840, Western New York became home to 7 of the countries' thirty biggest towns (Hewith, 2001). In this era, cities developed schools.


In the 1600s, European traders, missionaries, and explorers started visiting Western New York. Contact with the military methods and the White Man's diseases was overwhelming to the Iroquois population. Settlement of the area increased swiftly after conquering the British and the Iroquois allies. The start of the Erie Canal in 1825 improved the emigration and business status of the city. Waves of religious fervor filled the first settlements in the 1800s. A social convulsion subsequently swept WYN. Support for the underground railroad and abolition sentiment ran high.

As the area in Rochester and Western New York showed significant developments, noteworthy events took place like the modern women's Movement and the famous Niagara Conference in 1905. Innovation and growth continued in Rochester and Western New York into the twentieth century. In the contemporary period, the area has turned into a high-tech industrial center. The innovations by George Eastman on the photographic business through the Kodak platelets camera influenced Rochester's current status as 'The Worlds Image Center.'


Hewitt, N. A. (2001). Women's activism and social change: Rochester, New York, 1822-1872. Lexington Books.

McKelvey, B. (1945). Rochester, the Water-power City, 1812-1854 (Vol. 1). Harvard University Press.

McKelvey, B. (1949). Rochester: The Flower City, 1855-1890(Vol. 2). Harvard University Press.

Sternberg, E. (1991). The sectoral cluster in economic development policy: lessons from Rochester and Buffalo, New York. Economic Development Quarterly, 5(4), 342-356. Doi:10.1177/089124249100500406

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