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History of York



York is located in the northern Genesee Valley region of Livingston

County. We are rich in small town charm, rural character - with abundant farm land - beautiful country side - a friendly sense of community and pride - it is diverse and growing - it's history is filled with fascinating people and events, dating back to the Scottish pioneer settlers, many of whom, to this day, have descendants living in the area.


York was formed from Caledonia and Leicester March 26, 1819, and a

part of Covington was annexed in 1823. The name of the town was derived from Hon. Joseph York, Member of Assembly from St. Lawrence County, who, as chairman of the committee, had favorable reported the bill for the formation of the town.


At the time of the first settlement here the territory now known as York was embraced in the town of Caledonia, and the settlers, chiefly from Scotland, located first at "Big Springs," now the village of Caledonia, in 1799 and 1800, and from thence branched out into the section of wilderness then called "South Woods", and now known as the Town of York.


The first town meeting was held on the first Tuesday in April, 1819, at the inn of Nathan Russ. This place of meeting was designated by the Special Act of Legislature for the formation of the town.


The Town of York now consists of seven hamlets, York, Fowlerville, Linwood, Greigsville, Retsof, Wadsworth, and Piffard. Originally the Town of York was made up of five villages, York Centre, Fowlerville, Piffard, and North and South Greigsville, the two former being the largest and most important places.


Villages at that time:

York Centre

The village of York Centre was situated at nearly the geographical center of the town. It contained three churches, five stores, one hotel, post-office, copper shop, wagon shop, three blacksmith shops, a furnace shop, and had a population of some 300.



The village of Fowlerville lies in the north-eastern part of the town. It contained two churches, two stores, post-office, one hotel, a harness, blacksmith and wagon shop, agricultural works, and a population of 375 or 400, including transient boarders.


Fowlerville was first permanently settled by Wells Fowler and William Taylor, in 1816. The village derived its name from Wells Fowler, and was chosen by the unanimous resolution of the inhabitants who resided there.



The hamlet of Piffard lies in the southeastern part of the town of York. It contained one church, one store, post-office, one hotel, blacksmith and wagon shop, a saw-mill, stave and barrel factory combined, and a

population of about 150.


The hamlet derived its name from David Piffard, who located here in 1824.


The growth of this hamlet was due to the opening of the Genesee Valley Canal, and to the public spirit of Mr. Piffard. It was first known as Piffardinia - later shortened to Piffard.



The two places of this name, North and South Greigsville, about a mile apart, is situated in the southern part of the town. These were small hamlets and together contained two churches, post-office, one store, two blacksmith shops, and a sawmill



This community came about as an outgrowth of the development of the salt mining industry shortly after 1881. Retsof derived its name from William Foster (Foster spelled backwards), who was influential in the incorporation of the Retsof Mining Company in 1885.



The hamlet of Linwood developed shortly before the turn of the century, mainly as a result of the D.L. & W. Railroad which was completed through York Township in 1883.



Agriculture and food production are a large part of the expanding business in York. Approximately 90% of our land area is in agriculture.


Our Water & Sewer Department has expanded our public water and sewer systems to cover a great portion of the town, our workers are certified and licensed by the New York State and we continue to update and improve our services.


The Highway Department does a fantastic job at keeping our roads in top shape and work cooperatively with our Water and Sewer Department, other towns and Livingston County to better service the Town of York.


New homes and subdivisions are constantly being constructed. The property in York has some of the most beautiful views in the country.


York Central School is a small school, with many opportunities for our youth. The School district is continually making improvements to update its curriculum, extra curricular activities, our class rooms and the safety of our students.

Sources: Livingston County Leader

Wednesday, September 10, 1969;

Thanks to Steve Gates, Historian Town of York, New York


The Town of York is rich in small town charm.

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