This old map is an excerpt from the military tract survey of the Township of Ulysses made by Moses DeWitt1 in September and October of 1790. (See the full map.)
In the center of the image is a lot of 1,400 acres that belonged to Martinus Zielie. These acres were not part of the military tract allotments. Who was Martius Zielie? This is a mystery. His name does not appear in Abt's history of Ithaca, nor in The Landmarks of Tompkins County,, nor in the History of Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins, & Schuyler Counties. No other military tract has a set-aside like this.2
If you move the slider to the right, you can see DeWitt's map fade to a modern map of Ithaca. The area of the City of Ithaca west of Tioga Street and north of Wood Street was originally contained within Martinus Zielie's location, and thus was not a part of the military tract allotments. (The red line shows the boundaries of the city.)
The region south of Clinton Street was a swamp in 1790, fed by Six Mile Creek, which enters Zielie's location on the south east side, before splitting. This is the area that was drained by Charles Titus, thus making the south side of Ithaca available for develpement.
The map marks two trails, marked by dotted lines, used by Native Americans. One enters Zielie's at the south west corner, before turning east along what is now Seneca Street. The other begins near the label for Lot 94, currently where Cascadilla Creek crosses Lynn Street, and proceeds south east, before striking a path that became the “Road leading from Cayuga Lake to the Owego Settlement”, which we know as Route 79, or Slaterville Road. The trail crosses Six Mile Creek six miles from its start at Cascadilla Creek.
The creek that enters Zielie's from the south, now replaced by the inlet, is called Negauena Creek. The creeks that enter Zielie's from the east are named (from the top) Nauqueu, or Fall Creek, Himepaugh's Mill Creek (now Cascadilla), and Teegastoeas Creek (now Six Mile Creek).
- Moses was the brother of Simeon DeWitt, the Surveyor General of New York, who was in charge of the mapping of all the military tracts.
- Peter Marks, pers. comm.