Cayuga was formed from Onondaga in 1799; but other counties have since been taken from it. Greatest length N. and S. 55, greatest breadth E. and W. 23 miles. From Albany, W., 156 miles, from New York, 301. Upon the S. the surface rises into ridges, along the Cayuga lake, the Owasco lake and inlet, and the Skaneateles lake. The principal streams are the Salmon and Fall creeks, tributaries of the Cayuga lake; the inlet and the outlet of the Owasco lake, and the Seneca river, which is the eventual recipient of all these waters. The river flows through a plain in which its sluggish course is scarce perceptible, and the marshes which it waters, extend to the western border of the county; in its way it passes through Cross lake, a basin 5 miles long by 2 wide, lying on the eastern boundary, in a low swampy district, whose surface is 370 feet above tide. The disposition of the waters shows an irregular surface. The Poplar ridge, E. of the Cayuga lake, rises in some places to 600 feet above, but has a gentle slope towards the lake, displaying finely-cultivated farms. The eastern declivity of this and other hills is more abrupt. On the N. of Auburn, the country is comparatively level, yet has a rolling appearance from the many large gravel hills scattered over the plain, assuming in many places the semblance of stupendous mounds formed by art. This gravel has much limestone, and produces excellent wheat. Few portions of the state possess more fertile lands, or can boast of higher cultivation. In all the fruits of the climate, this county is prolific. About two thirds of the land is under improvement. The southern portion is most thickly settled. The Cayuga lake, which forms a large part of the western boundary, is a beautiful sheet of water, 36 miles long, and from 1 to 4 broad. The county is divided into 22 towns.
(Historical Collections of the State of New York, Past and Present, John Barber, Clark Albien & Co, 1851).