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Batavia (city), New York

From Academic Kids

Batavia is a city located in Genesee County, New York, USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 16,256. The name Batavia is the Latin name for Holland. The city is situated within the Town of Batavia.

Contents

History

The Holland Land Company

The current City of Batavia was an early settlement in what is today called Genesee Country, the farthest western region of New York State, comprising the Genesee Valley and westward to the Niagara River, Lake Erie, and the Pennsylvania line. The area was purchased in 1792 by the Holland Land Company, a consortium of Dutch bankers. The 3.5 million acre (14,000 km²) territory, purchased from Robert Morris, a prominent Revolutionary banker, was known as "The Holland Purchase."

Apparently the Dutch were impressed with the richness of the lands around Batavia, for the name they gave the city was an alternative name for Holland, that means arable land.

One of the provisions of the sale was that Morris had to settle the Indian title to the land, so he arranged for his son Thomas Morris to negotiate with the Iroquois at Geneseo, New York in 1797. About 3,000 Iroquois, mostly Senecas, arrived for the negotiation. Seneca chief and orator Red Jacket was adamantly against the sale, but his influence was thwarted by freely distributed liquor and trinkets given to the women. In the end he acquiesced and signed the Treaty of Big Tree, in which the tribe sold their rights to the land except for a small portion for $100,000. Mary Jemison, known as The White Woman of the Genesee, who had been captured in a raid and married her Seneca captor, proved to be an able negotiator for the tribe, and helped win more favorable terms for them.

In the negotiations Horatio Jones was the translator and William Wadsworth provided his unfinished home. The land was then surveyed under the supervision of Joseph Ellicott, a monumental task of the biggest land survey ever attempted to that time.

In 1801 Ellicott, as agent for the company, established a land office in Batavia and the entire purchase was named Genesee County in 1802, with Batavia as the county seat. The company sold off the purchase until 1846, when the company was dissolved. The phrase "doing a land office business," which denotes prosperity, dates from this era. The office still exists and is a museum today, designated a National Historic Landmark.

Joseph Ellicott lived in Batavia for many years although he thought Buffalo would grow to be larger. Batavia has a major street named after him (Ellicott Street, and a smaller street, Ellicott Avenue), as well as a large monument in the heart of the city.

The present counties of western New York were all laid out from the original Genesee County, and the modern Genesee County is but one of many. But the entire area as a region is still referred to as Genesee Country. Thus, Batavia was the core from which the rest of western New York was opened for settlement and development.

The Masonic Scandal

A scandal erupted in Batavia in 1826, when William Morgan, a local n'er do well was offended by the local Masonic Lodge (Western Star Chapter R. A. M. No. 33 of Le Roy, New York), and threatened to expose the secrets of the lodge. He was arrested on a minor charge, then released when his charge was paid, into the company of several men, with whom he went, apparently unwillingly. It was developed later that the men were Masons, and they carried him to Fort Niagara, where he was held captive, and from whence he disappeared. Although the Masons claimed he was only bribed to cease publication and leave the area forever, public sentiment was that he was murdered. No conviction was ever obtained. His captors were only charged and convicted with his abduction.

The event roused tremendous public furor and anti-Mason sentiment ran high. Anti-Masonry was a factor in politics for many years later, as well as religion. Many Methodist Episcopal clergy had joined the Masons, and this was one of the reasons the Free Methodist Church separated.

The Advent of the Erie Canal

The Erie Canal in 1825 bypassed Batavia, going well to the north at Albion and Medina, enabling Buffalo and Rochester to grow much faster. With the sale of the western part of the state completed, Batavia became a small industrial city in the heart of an agricultural area. It became known for the manufacture of tractors, agricultural implements, sprayers and shoes. It also was a tool and die making center for industries in other areas.

The largest manufacturer, Johnston Harvester Company came into being in 1868. In 1910, the business, was acquired by Massey-Harris Co. Ltd, and became a subsidiary of that Canadian company, founded by Daniel Massey in 1847.

Batavia grew rapidly in the early Twentieth Century, receiving an influx of Polish and Italian immigrants. The City of Batavia was incorporated in 1915 (It had been previously incorporated as a village in 1821).

Recent History

In recent years much of the heavier industry left for other areas of the US, or abroad, and Batavia became part of what has become known as The Rust Belt

From 1985 to 1991 Batavian and journalist Terry Anderson was held captive in Lebanon by Hezbollah partisans, and his sister, Batavian Peggy Say, became an ardent campaigner for his release.

Author John Gardner, a Batavia native, set his novel "The Sunlight Dialogues" in 1960s Batavia.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.6 km² (5.2 mi²). 13.4 km² (5.2 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.14% water.

Demographics

As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 16,256 people, 6,457 households, and 3,867 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,209.3/km² (3,133.9/mi²). There are 6,924 housing units at an average density of 515.1/km² (1,334.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 90.23% White, 5.43% Black or African American, 0.48% Native American, 0.87% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.06% from other races, and 1.90% from two or more races. 2.45% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 6,457 households out of which 29.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% are married couples living together, 13.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% are non-families. 33.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 16.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.34 and the average family size is 3.01.

In the city the population is spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $33,484, and the median income for a family is $42,460. Males have a median income of $32,091 versus $23,289 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,737. 12.3% of the population and 10.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 16.5% of those under the age of 18 and 6.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

See also: Batavia (town), New York

External links

Batavia New York website (http://www.batavianewyork.com/about_batavia.html) Template:Mapit-US-cityscale

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