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Batavia is a city in and the county seat of Genesee County, New York, United States. It is near the center of the county, surrounded by the Town of Batavia, which is a separate municipality. Its population as of the 2010 census was 15,465. The name Batavia is Latin for the Betuwe region of the Netherlands, and honors early Dutch land developers.
The village of Batavia was founded in 1802 by Joseph Ellicott, agent of the Holland Land Company. Batavia, New York, was named for the short-lived Batavian Republic (1795-1806) in honor of the Holland Land Company. The Batavian Republic was named for the Batavi, an ancient Germanic tribe, which lived in the Rhine-Maas delta in the central Netherlands. During the Renaissance in the Low Countries (1500s) and Dutch Golden Age (1600), Dutch nationalists formed the "Batavian myth" and argued that the ancient Batavians were the ancestors of the Dutch. This region is now known as Betuwe, a Dutch word derived from "Batavia."
One of the provisions of the sale was that Morris needed 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. 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 was captured in a raid and married her Seneca captor, was an able negotiator for the tribe and helped win more favorable terms. 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 and the biggest land survey ever attempted to that time.
Ellicott, as agent for the company, established a land office in Batavia in 1802. 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 is a museum today, designated a National Historic Landmark. 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), as well as a minor street (Ellicott Avenue), and a large monument in the heart of the city. Batavia was incorporated as a village in 1823.
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.
Masonic Lodge scandal
A scandal erupted in Batavia in 1826, when William Morgan 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 lodge's secrets. 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 then 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. Anti-Masonry was a factor in politics for many years afterward, leading to the creation of the Anti-Masonic Party, 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 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 20th century, receiving an influx of Polish and Italian immigrants. The City of Batavia was incorporated in 1915.
Oatka Milk plant still processes milk from area dairy farms which are fewer but larger in recent times.
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.
The construction of the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility, a federal immigration detention center next to the airport has provided more jobs in the area, as well as expansion of the airport, including lengthening the runway to accommodate larger aircraft in 2005. Inmates at the detention center have included terrorism suspects, such as Nabil Ahmed Farag Soliman, who embarked on a hunger strike in 1999 after two and a half years in federal detention.
In August 2012, Muller Quaker Dairy broke ground on what was to be one of the largest yogurt manufacturing plants in the United States, and employed 170 people in December 2015. Muller Quaker Dairy is a joint venture between PepsiCo and the Theo Muller Group. On December 10, 2015, the closure of the yogurt plant was announced with the additional news that the facility would be sold to the Dairy Farmers of America cooperative.
Geography and climate
Old mill dam at the Big Bend of the Tonawanda, downtown Batavia, New York. The choice of this site for Ellicot's headquarters was probably influenced by a good mill site.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 5.2 square miles (13.6 km²), of which, 5.2 square miles (13.4 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (1.14%) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 15,465 people, 6,644 households, and 3,710 families residing in the city. The city's racial demographic changed slightly from 2000 to 2010.[quantify]
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,256 people, 6,457 households, and 3,867 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,133.9 people per square mile (1,209.3/km²). There were 6,924 housing units at an average density of 1,334.8 per square mile (515.1/km²). The city's racial makeup was 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. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.45% of the population.
There were 6,457 households, of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was at least 65 years old. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 3.01.
23.4% of the city's population were under the age of 18, 8.7% were from age 18 to 24, 29.0% were from age 25 to 44, 20.2% were from age 45 to 64, and 18.6% were age 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.2 males.
The city's median household income was $33,484, and the median family income was $42,460. Males had a median income of $32,091 versus $23,289 for females. The city's per capita income was $17,737. About 10.2% of families and 12.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.
^"Bust of Anderson Finds New Home at Batavia High". The Buffalo News. April 9, 1993. Archived from the original on December 23, 2014. Retrieved 2014. A bust of former hostage Terry Anderson, consigned to a cluttered storeroom a few months ago after standing in the Genesee Country Mall during much of his captivity, is headed for a place of honor in Batavia High School. Anderson's classmate Stephen M. Hawley, to whom he had entrusted the bust, chose to donate it to the school from which they both graduated in 1965.