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Trip Planner USA  /  New York State  /  Finger Lakes  /  Geneseo
Geneseo is a town in Livingston County in the Finger Lakes region of New York, USA, outside of Rochester. The population was 9,654 at the 2000 census. The town and surrounding area is quite rural. The English name "Geneseo" is an anglicization of the Iroquois name for the earlier Iroquois town there, Gen-nis-he-yo (which means "beautiful valley"). A village of the same name lies within the town's western portion.HistoryPre-revolutionNear Geneseo was the largest Seneca village, Chenussio, and a center of power for the Iroquois Indian tribe. It was also the "bread basket" of the tribe, with orchards, vineyards, and fields of maize and vegetables.During the American Revolution, the Seneca joined the British and the Tories against the colonists who were fighting for independence. Raids by this alliance from the west was a major threat to the American cause, and General Washington sent the Sullivan Expedition to neutralize the Iroquois Indians. As Sullivan's army approached Geneseo, with their "scorched earth" policy the Senecas repeatedly fell back. However, they did exact some damage, as a large Seneca party was successful in ambushing one of Sullivan's scouting parties, carrying them as prisoners to Geneseo and torturing them to death. When Sullivan's troops arrived and found the savagely mutilated bodies, they were enraged, and became very thorough in their destruction of anything that could support the Iroquois. No longer able to raid from Geneseo and environs, about 5,000 Seneca Indians fled to British-held Fort Niagara, where they spent one of the coldest winters of record, with much loss of life, in camps outside the fort with only the small amount of supplies that the British could spare.
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