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The History...the breakdown

by Ron Holdraker
October 5, 2019

I attended a luncheon this past week and it was mentioned that probably 90% of Wayne County residents, especially of the millennium age, know ‘Jack Squat’ about Wayne County.

For instance, Wayne County is named for American Revolutionary War hero and American statesman., General Anthony Wayne (AKA Mad Anthony)

Wayne died in 1796 while on active duty. Various places and things have been named after him, including the cities of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Wayne, New Jersey; Waynesburg, Pennsylvania; Waynesboro, Virginia; Waynesboro, Georgia; Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan; Wayne County, New York; and the unincorporated community of Wayne, Pennsylvania near his birthplace.

Yes, Mad Anthony got around. A tree fell on Wayne’s tent on August 3, 1794 and hit him in the head while at his newly built Fort Adams in northern Mercer County. He survived but was knocked unconscious. By the next day, he had recovered sufficiently to resume the march to the newly built Fort Defiance, probably not in a straight line.

Wayne died of complications from gout on December 15, 1796, during a return trip to Pennsylvania from a military post in Detroit. He was buried at Fort Presque Isle where the modern Wayne Blockhouse stands. His son Isaac Wayne disinterred the body in 1809, placed his bones into two saddlebags, and relocated them to the family plot in the graveyard of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Wayne, Pennsylvania. A legend says that many bones were lost along the roadway which encompasses much of U.S. Route 322, and that his ghost wanders the highway on January 1 (Wayne’s birthday) searching for his lost bones.

Yeah, enough about Tony.

Wayne County is less than 50 miles west of, and is in the same Congressional District as Syracuse. Wayne County has been considered to be part of the Rochester Metropolitan Statistical Area and lies on the south shore of Lake Ontario, forming part of the northern border of the United States with Canada.

As of the 2010 Census, the population was 93,772, 36,585 households, and 25,304 families residing in the county. The population density was 155 people per square mile. Of our households, 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were non-families. 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 2.99. Don’t ask me how they came up with the 2.53 household and 2.99 family size.

The median income for a household in the county was $52,601, and the median income for a family was $62,677. Males had a median income of $47,056 versus $35,684 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,327. About 7.8% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.4% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.

As of the 2013 American Community Survey, the racial makeup of the county was 93.3% White alone, 3.6% African American alone, 0.3% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.8% of the population, while white alone, not Hispanic or Latino, constituted 94.6% of the population. We also have a lot of Pit Bulls.

Two world religions, Spiritualism and the Mormons sprung from within its borders, and its inhabitants played important roles in abolitionism in the years leading up to the American Civil War. Nineteenth century War of 1812 skirmishes, Great Lakes sailing ship commerce and Erie Canal barge traffic have yielded to contemporary recognition as one of the world’s most productive fruit growing regions. Wayne County ranks as New York’s top apple producing county. We do okay in the tart cherry business too.

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the land Wayne County encompasses was originally part of the Iroquois Confederacy, which had existed from around August 31, 1142. On April 11, 1823, Wayne County was formed by combining portions of Seneca and Ontario counties.

The first permanent settlement was started by John Swift and Col. John Jenkins in March 1789, about two miles from Palmyra. In May of that year a small colony made up of the Stansell and Featherly families located at the junction of Ganargwa and the Canandaigua Outlet, calling the place Lyons, from a “fancied likeness of that city’s location on the Rhone”.

Yes, many of the old names of bygone years are still about today.

Through a bunch of failures, setbacks and land transfers, Wayne County developed. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,383 square miles, of which 604 square miles is land and 779 square miles (56%) is water. Yeah, we have a lot of water.

While we boast of 28.6%, just off the national average of 29.13% of women-owned businesses, we have only 1.0% of Black-owned firms, according to 2007 statistics.

Actually, these historic and mostly useless facts and figures have nothing to do with the millennial and after population.

The chief reason pointed out was that most people in Macedon, Walworth and the Gananda development have no idea where they actually live, or in what town, or school district they are located. Why does a Macedon mailing address exists close to the Town of Ontario?

So, do people from Alton call themselves Altonians, or Soduses? Who actually knows if they live in Newark, or Arcadia? And somehow those people in Pulntneyville use Pulntneyvilleanials, rather than Williamsonites!

Motts in Williamson makes all the Motts applesauce in the U.S. But wait, it really is not called Motts, but rather Keurig Dr. Pepper? Who cares as long as they keep the supply of Clamato,  a commercial drink made of reconstituted tomato juice concentrate and sugar, which is flavored with spices, dried clam broth and MSG coming! 

We have 54,347 registered voters. Oh, shock of shock, Wayne County has a majority of registered Republicans at 22,303, NOP’s... (No-Party)  people have 13,758, followed closely by registered Democrats at 13,514, with Conservatives at 1,494, a Freedom Party loner of 1 and 158 Green Party folks. Then there are 2,879 Independence Party; Libertarians at 157, Liberals 163, Marijuana Reform Party at 1; and there are Other--31 assorted voters with 31 very confused objectives; Rent To High Party--1; Right To Life 101; Serve America--1; Women’s Equality--18; Working Family 259.

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