Cattaraugus County, New York

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Cattaraugus County, New York
Image:Map of New York highlighting Cattaraugus County.png
Location in the state of New York
Formed 1808
Seat Little Valley
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

3,425 km² (1,310 mi²)
 sq mi ( km²)
32 km² (12 mi²), 1.21%
 - (2000)
 - Density


Cattaraugus County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of 2000, the population was 83,955. The county name comes from a Seneca Indian word meaning "bad smelling banks," referring to the odor of natural gas which leaked from seams in rock formations. The county seat is Little Valley.


[edit] History

When counties were established in New York State in 1683, the present Cattaraugus County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766 by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770 by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.

On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately five miles west of the present city of Schenectady, and the county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York.

In the years prior to 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled to Canada. In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, the name of Tryon County was changed to Montgomery County in honor of the general, Richard Montgomery, who had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebec, replacing the name of the hated British governor.

Ontario County was split off from Montgomery County in 1789. In turn, Genesee County was split off from Ontario County in 1802. Genesee County was made smaller in 1806, by the splitting off from it of Allegany County.

Cattaraugus County was formed in 1808, split off from Genesee County. However, at first there was no county government due to the low population. From 1812 to 1814, Cattaraugus County was incorporated in Allegany County; from 1814 to 1817, records of the county were divided between Belmont (Allegany County) and Buffalo (then in Niagara County). Finally in 1817 the county government was established for Cattaraugus County.

The first settlement in the county was in Olean and the original county seat was Ellicottville. After 1860, the county seat was moved to Little Valley.

[edit] Geography

Cattaraugus County is in the southwestern part of the state, immediately north of the Pennsylvania border. The southern part of Cattaraugus County is the only area of western New York that was not covered by the last ice age glaciation and is noticeably more rugged than neighboring areas that had peaks rounded and valleys fille by the glacier. The entire area is actually a dissected plateau of Pennsylvanian and Mississippian age, but appears mountainous to the casual observer. The plateau is an extension of the Allegany Plateau from nearby Pennsylvania. America's first oil well was drilled in 1859 by Edwin Drake in nearby Titusville, Pennsylvania. Southern Cattaraugus County is part of the same oil field, and petroleum was formerly a resource of the area. It is now played out, but natural gas continues to be extracted.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,425 km² (1,322 mi²). 3,392 km² (1,310 mi²) of it is land and 32 km² (12 mi²) of it (0.94%) is water.

The northern border of the county is formed by Cattaraugus Creek.

[edit] Adjacent Counties

[edit] Demographics

As of the census² of 2000, there were 83,955 people, 32,023 households, and 21,647 families residing in the county. The population density was 25/km² (64/mi²). There were 39,839 housing units at an average density of 12/km² (30/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.63% White, 1.06% Black or African American, 2.60% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 1.01% from two or more races. 0.94% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 32,023 households out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.30% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.40% were non-families. 26.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.20% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 26.50% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,404, and the median income for a family was $39,318. Males had a median income of $30,901 versus $22,122 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,959. About 10.00% of families and 13.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.60% of those under age 18 and 9.90% of those age 65 or over.

[edit] Cities, Towns, Villages, and other locations

  • Designation in parentheses indicates official level of government.

[edit] Indian reservations

[edit] Additional facts about Cattaraugus County

There are two separate geological formations, both called "Rock City," in the county that have the appearance of a town laid out with streets. One is in Olean and the other is in Little Valley.

Olean, New York is the largest city in the county and is the major center for business.

[edit] Famous Cattaraugus County natives

[edit] Educational institutions

A branch of Jamestown Community College, in Olean provides higher education for residents. Olean Business Institute provides specialized education and is also in Olean. St. Bonaventure University is also in this county.

[edit] External links

Municipalities and Communities of Cattaraugus County, New York
(County Seat: Little Valley)
Cities Olean | Salamanca
Towns Allegany | Ashford | Carrollton | Coldspring | Conewango | Dayton | East Otto | Ellicottville | Farmersville | Franklinville | Freedom | Great Valley | Hinsdale | Humphrey | Ischua | Leon | Little Valley | Lyndon | Machias | Mansfield | Napoli | New Albion | Olean | Otto | Perrysburg | Persia | Portville | Randolph | Red House | Salamanca | South Valley | Yorkshire
Villages Allegany | Cattaraugus | Delevan | East Randolph | Ellicottville | Franklinville | Gowanda | Limestone | Little Valley | Perrysburg | Portville | Randolph | South Dayton
CDPs Lime Lake-Machias | St. Bonaventure | Weston Mills
Reservations Allegany Reservation | Cattaraugus Reservation | Oil Springs Reservation

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Cattaraugus County, New York

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