The town of Leicester, NY was established within a few short years of the Big Tree Treaty of 1797 with the Seneca Indians whereby they relinquished their rights to the land. It didn’t take long for pioneers to flock to this region and begin clearing the forests for settlement. In 1821 Livingston County was formed and Leicester became a smaller town in size, sandwiched between the western border of the new county and the banks of the Genesee River.
With the river traffic and the crossroads that developed in the town, settlers migrated into the area from all points of the compass. The majority of them were travelers passing through Leicester’s convenient portal to the lands and lakes of the west. Leicester remained primarily an agricultural community, even after the construction of the Genesee Valley Canal in the 1820s bisected the town.
The industrial years following the Civil War brought about the demise of the antiquated canal system as it was replaced by a significantly progressive method of transportation that was both efficient and profitable: the train. New railroad operations crisscrossed the state. Originating in Pennsylvania, the Delaware, Western & Lackawanna Railroad was incorporated in 1832 principally to haul coal from the mines to available markets and by the 1880s was supplying central New York cities.
A nostalgic look at a small, endearing community in upstate NY. To read more get the latest issue of Our USA.