The Town of Ovid

Previously County Seat, Ovid Now & Then

Ovid is a town in Seneca County, New York. The population was 2,311 at the 2010 census. The town is named after the Roman poet Ovid, a name assigned by a clerk interested in the classics. Greek & Roman classics were popular at the time and you will find that many Upstate NY towns in the area were named after them. The Town of Ovid contains a village also called Ovid, one of the county seats of Seneca County.

The town is in the southern part of Seneca county, extending between Seneca Lake to the west and Cayuga Lake.  Ovid Village is situated at the northern extremity of the ridge which divides the waters of Seneca and Cayuga Lakes and about equidistant from the outlets to the head of those beautiful lakes.  It is like an 8 mile wide peninsula draped in farms and vineyards.

The Town of Ovid was the native land of the Iroquois. The Sullivan Expedition passed through this area in 1779. The region was part of the Central New York Military Tract used to pay soldiers of the American Revolution. Andrew Dunlap, the first settler in the town, is believed to be also the first settler in the county.

The town was formed in 1794, while still part of Onondaga County. Part of Ovid was taken in 1802 to form the Town of Hector (now in Schuyler County). Seneca County’s and the Town of Ovid’s boundaries were officially formed out of Onondaga and Cayuga counties in 1804.

The first meeting of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors in Annual Session was held in the Town of Ovid, on October 2, 1804. The Supervisors were Lewis Birdsall (Junius), Israel Catlin (Fayette), John Sayre (Romulus), Silas Halsey (Ovid), John Livingston (Hector, now part of Schuyler County), and Archer Green (Ulysses, now part of Tompkins County). The towns of Covert, Lodi, Seneca Falls, Tyre, Waterloo, and Varick were added to the county at later dates.

Although the County Seat is now located in Waterloo, the Board of Supervisors meets in session once a year in the old Court House (Papa Bear) in the Village of Ovid to recognize the County Seat’s beginning in Ovid. In 1817, part of the Town of Ovid was used to form the Town of Covert.

Today, the Town of Ovid personifies small town America.  All  you could want is located in the downtown area where the Court House complex sites in its park like setting. On Main Street you can watch the Amish buggies clatter by with their high stepping horses.  You can enjoy the June Strawberry Festival, Commemorate 9/11 with a parade of Fire Fighting apparatus and enjoy Homecoming.