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Mother of Towns

   In a history of Oswego county, Mexico may be appropriately termed “the mother of towns”. It is the oldest civil division in this county, and has the unique distinction of having been twice formed by legislative enactment. The act originally creating it from Whitestown, Herkimer county, was passed April 10, 1792, and provided as follows: 

And be it further enacted that all that part of Whitestown, aforesaid, bounded on the east by the east boundaries of the Military Tract (so called), and a line drawn north from the mouth of Canaseraga Creek across Oneida Lake to Lake Ontario ;1 south by Tioga county; west by the west bounds of the townships Homer, Tully, Marcellus, Camillus, Lysander, and Hannibal, of the said Military Tract, and north by Lake Ontario, be erected into a separate town by the name of Mexico. 

   The first town meeting “shall be held at the house of Benjamin Morehouse.” Apparently this provision was not carried out.

The first Mexico, as thus constituted, comprised the present counties of Onondaga and Cortland, and all of Oswego lying west of the before-mentioned line, which would strike a point near the northwest corner of Williamstown. March 5, 1794, Onondaga county was formed from Herkimer, and the same day Lysander, including that part of the county of Oswego lying west of Oswego River, was erected into a township. At this time nearly all of the settlers were located in Onondaga county, leaving but three or four families in this town, and consequently the erection and organization of the original Mexico was abandoned for a time. The second legislative act was passed February 26, 1796, and reads as follows: 

   Be it enacted by the people of the State of New York represented in Senate and Assembly, and it is herby enacted by the authority of the same that so much of the county of Herkimer as is contained within the limits and bounds following, to wit: Beginning at the northwest corner of a tract of land commonly called Fonda’s Forty-thousand Acre Paten, thence down and along the west side of Canada Creek to its junction with Wood Creek, thence down and along the waters of Wood Creek to the Oneida Lake, thence through the middle of said lake to the west end thereof, thence to the north shore of the Onondaga River, thence down and along the north side of the said river to Lake Ontario, thence easterly and northerly along the said lake to the mouth of Black River, thence up and along the said river to the northernmost corner of twenty-five thousand acres of land sold by William Constable to William Inman, thence south thirty-seven degrees and thirty minutes west along the northwesterly bounds of the said tract to the northwest corner of the tract commonly called Oothout’s Patent, thence south one degree west along the westerly line of the said tract to the place of beginning, shall be, and hereby is erected into a separate town by the name of Mexico, and that from and after the first day of April next the freeholders and inhabitants of the said town shall have and may exercise all and every power and privilege which the freeholders and inhabitants of the other towns in this State have and may exercise by law, and the first town meeting in the said town shall be held at the dwelling house of John Myer, situate at Rotterdam, within the said town of Mexico.

Secretary’s office of the State of New York, March 11, 1796.

​For more history of the Town of Mexico go to