Cleveland Origins Timeline

1788 – New York State purchases lands from the Indian nation that encompasses the Village of Cleveland as it’s defined today.

1791 – On August 5, 1791, John and Nicholas Roosevelt purchase/contract with the Land Commission of New York State for a tract of land containing Oswego and Oneida counties as they’re known today.

1792 – On April 7, 1792, the Roosevelt brothers sold their interest to George Scriba, a German native who migrated to the United States, and whom was a successful businessman of wealth, operating out of New York City.

According to New York Genealogy:

George Scriba, who at one time owned nearly the whole of the Oswego county was a New York merchant possessed of a fortune estimated at a million and a half dollars. He had a house on Wall street and a store on Nassau street. He sank practically his entire fortune into his lands and in the attempt to build up his two proposed cities of New Rotterdam and Vera Cruz.

The Great Land Patents, New York Genealogy

1793 – The Scriba settlement begins. Francis Adrian Van der Kemp purchases 1,000 acres of land, “four or five miles east of Rotterdam” from George Scriba. He estabished himself on this estate on which he called Kempwyck.

1794 – On December 12th, George Scriba received title and the Township #11, Rotterdam, of Scriba’s Patent was official.

The following account is pulled from The Coming of the Pioneers:

At Rotterdam, now Constantia, he would find quite a flourishing frontier settlement. True most of the few houses were of logs but there was Mr. Scriba’s fine, large store, containing a $10,000 stock of goods and drawing trade from a radius of forty miles around. Here the new settler could buy brandy at four shillings a quart and flour at six pence a pound. If he desired to tarry for a time he could secure board at the tavern for “fourteen shillings per week without liquor,” to quote the words of one who visited Rotterdam about this time. Of if he desired work, it is likely that Mr. Scriba or his agent, John Meyer, could give him employment at the prevailing rate of four shillings a day and board.

New settlers were no strange sight to the few residents of Rotterdam. They were constantly passing through the village on their way to the wilder lands to the northward. If they wished to buy land anywhere from Oneida Lake to Lake Ontario they could buy it here of Mr. Meyer at three dollars an acre. Only eighteen months before it had sold for a dollar an acre. There was plenty to interest one here too in the little village on the edge of the woods, with blanketed Oneida Indians bartering away their furs at Mr. Scriba’s store and the five-story grist mill, the highest in all the North Country, which Mr. Scriba had just erected. They might even see the landowner, himself, because now he was living at Rotterdam although much of his time was taken up traveling over his forest domain. Here was the last chance for mail from home, because here at Rotterdam was the only post office in the entire North Country. Of course John Meyer, the land agent, was postmaster, as he was supervisor of the town of Mexico and a justice of the peace of Oneida county. A landed proprietor invariably always saw to it that his agent got all the offices, town and otherwise.

The Coming of the Pioneers, New York Genealogy

1808 – The Town of Constantia was created from part of the Town of Mexico.

1813-1814 – Village of Rotterdam / Village of Constantia post office is established.

On January 23, 1813 David S. Bates wrote to Scriba of the establishment of a permanent post office in the village: ‘We are unexpectedly favored with a post office n the Village of Rotterdam. This day for the first a mail was opened here. Mr. Dundas is Postmaster … By 1814 the name of Rotterdam postoffice had been changed to Constantia as had been done in the case of the town of Rotterdam No. 11 when it, the numbers 12 and 13, had been separated from the political town of Mexico in 1808. The name Constantia is said to have been chosen by George Scriba himself.”

Mexico, Mother of Towns, Elizabeth M. Simpson

1821 – In February of 1821, Christopher Martin settles within, what will be known in the future as the Cleveland village limits.

1825 – The Town of Constantia divides again to form the Town of Hastings.

1826 – James Cleveland and Samuel H. Stevens arrive. Stevens builds the first local hotel and opens a store. Cleveland arrives with Peter Smith from Peterboro, Connecticut.

1827 – Cleveland’s first post office is opened. Samuel Stevens wanted it named Stevensville, as James Cleveland preferred it take his surname. Decided by compromise and validated by popular vote, both the post office and town received their names.

1839 – The Town of Constantia divides to create the formation of West Monroe.

1857 – The Village of Cleveland is officially incorporated.


Additional Info: Scriba Patent
Gallery: Scriba Mansion
Profile: George Scriba

Simpson, Elizabeth, (1949), Mexico, Mother of Towns J.W. Clement Company (Buffalo, New York)
Viewed at

New York Genealogy, (n.d.), The Coming of the Pioneers,
Viewed at NY
Great Land Patents,
Viewed at NY

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