John Lincklaen's greatest vision for the 120,000 acre Holland Land Company Purchase in Central New York was a planned community on the shore of Cazenovia Lake. In 1792 Lincklaen had investigated the region and found the land at the foot of the lake to be "superb." Upon this favorable report he and the Company proprietors immediately began making plans for a City in the Wilderness. Before the still-forested land could be sold to settlers it needed to be surveyed into lots, the arrangement of which fit Lincklaen's vision for the new city. In laying out the land in this place he took into consideration the contours of the land and place the Public Square on the high, level ground at the center, and he made larger lots along the creek so mills and mechanics could use the water power afforded by the waterns debauching from the lake and Chittenango Creek. Lincklaen had hoped that the village would grow northward along the shore of the beautiful lake, so he created several singularly large lots which he reserved for his own use, and soon built a large residence. Since the planned village site lay at the very northern border of the Holland Land Company purchase it was necessary for Lincklaen to acquired a piece of the adjoining New Petersburg Tract from Peter Smith so the village would not be artifically restricted to the small area within the Company domain.
The task of surveying what was eventually to become the core of the Village of Cazenovia was taken by Benjamin Wright, one of New York's premier surveyors of the time. Wright began the survey sometime in 1794 but he was soon called to other more pressing survey jobs and the project was left for Calvin Guiteau to complete (Gurdon Evans, "General View ... of Madison County, 1852:675). Guiteau's survey was put on paper by French cartographer Alexandre Autrechy who often worked for the Holland Land Company in Western New York. This map is presented below. Note the signature in the lower right corner "Autrechy Fecit", which shows that "Autrechy made this."
It appears that Guiteau completed his survey in the early summer of 1795 and the first sale of record for this tract was made on June 25 of that year. For reasons unknown the next recorded sale of land within the village area was for a single lot a year later, and it was not until the summer of 1798 that any appreciable sales were recorded. It is not clear why there were few sales, but one reason was that people may have been hesitant to invest in land that might not grow as the proprietors wished. A number of people did lease lots from the Company in the early years. Perhaps in response to the slow sales the Company made a gift of a number of lots to several individuals in the summer of 1799. These people had been valued members of the community for several years and included the keeper of the Company Store keeper, a shoemaker, blacksmith, and a carpenter. Two other lots were given to Theophile Cazenove, a Company Agent.
The record of Village lot sales appears to be quite incomplete as other lots are known to have been sold in these very early years, such as the Johnson House Tavern property which Elijah Risley attempted to acquire from the Company in 1794. Risley's actions should have been found in the records which have herein been transcribed. There is no record of sale in the Land Records for nearly half (31 of 64) of the Village Lots, so other scattered records will need to be consulted to determine the property history of the whole village area. Deeds from Chenango and Madison County record the sale of at least 7 other Village lots in 1797, 1799, and 1803; and there are at least five transactions which pre-date what is recorded in the Land Records. Additional evidence for sales is sure to be found in other County and HLCo. records.
Most of the lots in the Village contain less than an acre but several that include low wet ground along the creek contain over an acre. Besides the small village lots in which lay north of the loop made by water, there were the Ten Acre Out Lots which, in but a few cases, contained just 10 acres. These lots were supposed to have been reserved for the settlers who had also purchased Village Lots but, contrary to the initial design, all but a few of the "Ten Acre Lots" were sold to one man, Elijah Risley. Risley had acquired 20 of the Ten Acre Out Lots in 1799, but, perhaps because of over extension of his resources (he owned several Village Lots also) the land was Repurchased by the Company in 1802. Unfortunately, unlike many of the other Repurchased Lands, the resale of these lots did not get recorded in the Land Records.
The property lines of today's modern Village (if one would dare call it "modern"!) are very much reflective of the original lines of 1794. The Public Square has remained the focal point of the village with streets radiating north, east, and west from its center (Albany and Sullivan Streets). At the western end the north-south street (Forman Street) is still opened as in the original plan. Two minor streets of the original plan were apparently never opened or were closed shortly after the village started to develop. The long street running though the lower tier of lot was perhaps open for a short while as a lane, and the north-south street at the eastern end of the Village was replaced by two streets (Lincklaen and Mill) which are locate about 300 feet west of original location shown on this map.
most of the lot lines of the Village proper can still be easily traced
today through property lines and hedges, the same cannot be said for the
property lines of the Ten Acre Out Lots. Since they were purchased
in one large unit (excluding 12, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, & 28) it is likely
that no permanent property lines were established between the original
lots as surveyed. And, it is clear that the area was treated as a
large single unit - without regard to the original survey - in the period
when it was developed and subdivided to fit the needs and desires of the
purchasers. Today it is nearly impossible to determine the lot lines
Ten Acre Out Lots as there are no fences, hedges, or property bounds which
still follow the original lines.