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Oswego County was partly in Macomb's Purchase of 1791.In 1791, Herkimer County was one of three counties split off from Montgomery (the other two being Otsego, and Tioga County).In 1816, Oswego County was created as New York State's 48th county from parts of Oneida and Onondaga counties.In 1841, businessmen in Oswego attempted to divide Oswego County into two counties.In 1789, the size of Montgomery County was reduced by the splitting off of Ontario County from Montgomery.The actual area split off from Montgomery County was much larger than the present county, also including the present Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Steuben, Wyoming, Yates, and part of Schuyler and Wayne counties.In the years prior to 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled to Canada.In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, the name of Tryon County was changed to Montgomery County to honor the general, Richard Montgomery, who had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebec, replacing the name of the hated British governor.
In 1805, Oneida County was reduced in size by the splitting off of Jefferson and Lewis counties.At various times, beginning in 1847 and as late as 1975, attempts were made to move the county seat to the Village of Mexico. On April 20, 2002, around am, many residents of Oswego County were shaken awake by a magnitude 5.2 earthquake centered near Plattsburgh, New York.Minor damage to a Fire Hall in Altmar was the only report of damage. During 1–12 February 2007, a major lake effect snowfall dumped over ten feet of snow in many places in Oswego County, resulting in several roof collapses, some communities being cut off, and some people being snowed-in in their homes.This county was larger than the current Onondaga County, including the present Cayuga, Cortland, and part of Oswego counties.
In 1798, Oneida County was created from a part of Herkimer County.Part of the Tug Hill Plateau is in the eastern part of the county and, at 1,550 feet (470 m), is the highest point.