Before the First Settlers
Origin of Mexico, Mother of Towns
George Scriba was born in Germany on April 25, 1752. He was the son of a Lutheran minister. After mercantile experience as a young man in Amsterdam and the West Indies, he immigrated to the United States in 1783 and settled in New York., becoming a naturalized citizen in May 1784. He became a very successful New York City banker said to be worth 1.5 million dollars at the time he became interested in acquiring real estate.
There were claims of ruins of villages, houses, fireplaces, wells, forts, and entrenchments being plowed up, as late as 1820 or 1830, near the eastern and southern shores of Lake Ontario. No agreement has been reached as to whether these were the work of Indians or if eighth and ninth century colonies of Finns, Danes and Welsh who had gradually moved south
Town of Mexico
Mother of Towns
In 1792 he purchased a 500,000 acre tract of land between Lake Ontario and Lake Oneida which was known as Scriba's Patent.
George Scriba died on April 14, 1836 and is buried in Trinity Church Cemetery in Constantia, NY.
George Ludwig Christian Scriba
Map of the Scriba Patent
The state of New York acquired title to substantial land holdings from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Indians in 1788.
Seeing potential for profit, well-to-do investor George Ludwig Christian Scriba sought to purchase land from the state. He offered a sum of $800,000 payable over 2 years for greater than 2 million but less than 4 million acres of the tract.
While Scriba's application was pending, brothers named John and Nicholas Roosevelt purchased 538,966 acres at "3 shillings and 1 penny" per acre. Payment was to be made over time, but in less than 6 months, the Roosevelts sold their holding to Scriba to settle outstanding debts.
The state reduced Scriba's tract to 499,135 acres In May of 1784, and further specified that NY held gold and silver rights, that 5 out of every 100 acres would be allocated to highways, and that the agreement would "cease, determine, and become void" unless 1 family became settled in each tract of 640 acres within 7 years.
Scriba hoped to develop his purchase into viable communities. He planned a canal from Vera Cruz (Mexico Point) to a village and harbor he planned at Rotterdam on Oneida lake (present day Constantia) to facilitate trade from Albany and New York to the Great Lakes and Canada. The canal would propel Vera Cruz into an important Lake Ontario port. Although the canal would extend just 26 miles, a survey convinced Scriba that the project was untenable. Failure to realize his canal, political pressures, and long harsh winters that tended to discouraged speculators and settlers doomed Scriba's expectations for his dream empire.
from Iceland and Greenland only to be wiped out by fierce Tartars coming in from Asia and northwestern America.
"The facts are dimmed because of their great age and the scarcity of written records which alone
guard faithfully the memory of the past." Livy
from Mexico Mother of Towns
The presence of both Algonquin’s and Iroquois occupying this land can be seen in their characteristic arrow points , spear heads, axes and other artifacts found on properties in Mexico. It is believed that they used this area primarily as summer camps for fishing and hunting. The first white man to set foot on the land of today’s Mexico and its Indian trails was Samuel de Champlain. In 1615 he is said to have lead a band of French and Huron against the Iroquois. It is believed that Champlain landed four leagues east of Salmon Creek, marched along the shore of Lake Ontario to the mouth of the creek, crossed it near the hamlet of Texas, followed the creek to the site of Mexico village toward Colosse, and then the main trail south toward the Iroquois settlement. He retreated along the same route, wounded and carried in a wicker basket on a Huron’s back..