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Yates County Towns in 1790

Yates County did not actually exist in 1790. There were however already white settlers on the land, and had been since the summer of 1788. When Ontario County was organized in 1789, it was set off into districts, and three of these encompassed the whole territory of what would someday be Yates County. These are shown in red on the map; the boundaries are of course only approximations. The modern town boundaries and names are shown in black.

The Pre-emption Line, shown in blue, was surveyed in 1788 and intended to be the county's eastern boundary. It was known almost immediately to have been drawn incorrectly, but the Ontario County censustaker acted in 1790 as though it was in fact the county line, and enumerated only those families west of it, thereby missing about 60 families in the Friends Settlement at City Hill in what is now Torrey. The Montgomery County censustaker to the east listed no one west of Seneca Lake; so in effect a very large percentage of the inhabitants of Ontario County were never counted. This would include not only the Universal Friends in Torrey, but everyone living in Geneva and at the head of Seneca Lake, about 500 persons or more in all.