Prior to European- American settlement, Cayuga Indians occupied the area for thousands of years. Revolutionary War veterans were given this land in lieu of payment for their service because the government didn’t have monetary funds at the time. In the 1790s the first grist mill was built. Two years later, a road was cleared from Oxford in Chenango County to Ithaca. The village of Ithaca grew quickly. It was energized first by the mills that lined its creeks and churned out everything from flour to lumber to whiskey, then by manufacturers like Ithaca Gun and Ithaca Calendar Clock, then by the founding of Cornell University in 1868. On June 1, 1888 Ithaca became New York’s 29th city.