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The county seat of Tompkins County, New York is the city of Ithaca, home to Cornell University. It was a Cayuga Indian settlement before the Europeans arrived. In 1779, the Sullivan Expedition drove the local Indians out of the area and burned down the cornfields and other crops. In 1788, white settlers showed up and set up farms in those very fields. In the last few years of the 18th century, the first grist mill in the region was built, and in 1790, a road from Oxford to Ithaca was cleared. In 1798, the surveyor-general of New York, Simeon DeWitt, arrived and bought 2,000 acres at the southern end of Caygua Lake. In 1804, he named the new town Ithaca, in honor of the island home of the mythological Greek Ulysses. The Ithaca Paper Compay was founded in 1819, and Ithaca was incorporated as a village in 1821. Ezra Cornell founded Cornell University in 1868, and the village was incorporated as a city.

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