County Courthouse in Albion
Location within the U.S. state of New York
New York's location within the U.S.
|Named for||House of Orléans|
|o Total||817 sq mi (2,120 km2)|
|o Land||391 sq mi (1,010 km2)|
|o Water||426 sq mi (1,100 km2) 52%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||110/sq mi (40/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
Orleans County is a county in the western part of the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 42,883. The county seat is Albion. The county received its name at the insistence of Nehemiah Ingersoll though historians are unsure how the name was selected. The two competing theories are that it was named to honor the French Royal House of Orleans or that it was to honor Andrew Jackson's victory in New Orleans.
When counties were established by the British authorities in the province of New York in 1683, the present Orleans County was part of the territory of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of present-day New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766 by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770 by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.
On March 12, 1772, the remaining Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. Tryon County contained the large western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately five miles west of the present city of Schenectady, and the county included the Mohawk River valley, the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York. This western area was occupied largely by the Onondaga, Oneida and other western nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. The westernmost European settlements were in the area of Little Falls and present-day Herkimer.
During the unrest prior to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, feelings ran high in the Mohawk Valley, and there were local attacks by rebels against known Loyalists. Most of Tryon County's Loyalists fled to Canada before 1776, where they were later granted land by the Crown to develop what is now Ontario.
In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, Tryon County's name was changed to Montgomery County to honor the general, Richard Montgomery. He had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebec. It replaced the name of the now hated colonial British governor. In 1789, Ontario County split off from Montgomery. During this period, thousands of migrants settled in the western part of the state from New England and eastern New York resulting in the creation of more counties.
In 1802, Genesee County was created by splitting Ontario County. Genesee County was then divided into Allegany County in 1806, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Niagara Counties in 1808, Ontario, Livingston, and Monroe Counties in 1821, and finally Orleans County in 1824.
When Orleans County was formed in 1824, a dispute arose about naming it after President Andrew Jackson or President John Adams. During and following the Napoleonic era in France, numerous French refugees came to New York, some settling in the upstate areas.
The high proportion of water is due to the extension of Orleans County north into Lake Ontario to the Canada-US border (a line of latitude running through the middle of the lake). The distance from the Orleans shore north to the international border is greater than the distance from the shore south to the Genesee County line, meaning the area of Orleans under water is greater than that above water.
The Erie Canal passes (east-west) through the middle of the county. When its construction was completed in 1824, it attracted new settlers to the largely rural county. Trade and passenger traffic stimulated the development of local businesses.
Starting in 1824, the county government was run by a board of supervisors, consisting of elected supervisors from each township in Orleans County. This geographic representation meant that the residents of more urbanized areas were underrepresented on the board.
In 1980, the state and county established a seven-member elected legislature to replace the board of supervisors. Representatives are elected from single-member districts roughly equal in population. It is headed by a chairman.
Orleans County is heavily Republican. It has voted Republican in every presidential election since the party's founding in 1856, except for one, 1964. It also voted Whig in every election from 1828 until 1852. In 2019, Orleans county residents have begun registering as Libertarian. The Libertarian Party of New York has attracted many local second amendment supporters, as well as local supporters of marijuana decriminalization. Orleans County's first Libertarian candidate for Orleans County Legislature At-Large is Chase Tkach.
|Office||District||Area of the county||Officeholder||Party||Residence|
|County Legislator||District 1||Barre, Clarendon, Shelby||William H. Eick||Republican||Medina|
|County Legislator - Chairwoman||District 2||Ridgeway, Yates||Lynne M. Johnson||Republican||Lyndonville|
|County Legislator - Minority Leader||District 3||Albion, Gaines||Fred Miller||Democratic||Albion|
|County Legislator||District 4||Carlton, Kendall, Murray||Kenneth DeRoller||Republican||Kendall|
|County Legislator||At Large||All||Merle L. "Skip" Draper||Republican||Shelby|
|County Legislator - Vice Chairman||At Large||All||Don Allport||Republican||Albion|
|County Legislator||At Large||All||E. John DeFilipps||Republican||Holley|
|County Judge||Sanford A. Church||Republican|
|District Attorney||Joseph V. Cardone||Republican|
|County Clerk||Karen A. Lake-Maynard||Republican|
|County Treasurer||Kimberly C. L. DeFrank||Republican|
|Chief Coroner||Scott M. Schmidt||Republican|
|Coroner||Rocco L. Sidari||Republican|
|Coroner||Charles M. Smith||Republican|
|Office||District||Officeholder||Party||First took office||Residence|
|Congressman||New York's 27th congressional district||Chris Jacobs||Republican||2020||Buffalo, Erie County|
|State Senator||62nd State Senate District||Rob Ortt||Republican||2015||North Tonawanda, Niagara County|
|State Assemblyman||139th State Assembly District||Stephen M. Hawley||Republican||2006||Batavia, Genesee County|
Orleans County is part of:
As of the census of 2010, there were 42,883 people, 16,119 households, and 10,872 families residing in the county. The population density was 113 people per square mile (44/km2). There were 17,347 housing units at an average density of 44 per square mile (17/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 89.8% White, 5.9% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 4.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. According to Census 2000, 20.3% were of German, 18.3% English, 10.8% Italian, 10.3% Irish, 9.4% American and 7.3% Polish ancestry and 96.0% spoke English and 3.0% Spanish as their first language.
Census 2010 showed there were 16,119 households, out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.5 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 19.8% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 29.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $48,731. Males had a median income of $32,450 versus $22,605 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,457. About 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line.
The county has five school districts, although the actual district boundaries can extend into neighboring counties, and the same is true for neighboring counties' districts. The five districts, from west to east, are:
Each of these school districts participates in Orleans/Niagara BOCES or Monroe #2-Orleans BOCES.
There is currently one non-denominational K-12 school in the county.
One college maintains satellite campuses in Orleans County.
Orleans County has 4 public libraries serving its population.
Orleans County has 3 museums that are open to the public.
There are two State Parks and many municipal parks spread throughout the county.