Onondaga is a town located in Onondaga County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the town had a population of 23,103. The town is named after the native Onondaga tribe, part of the Iroquois Confederacy. Onondaga is located southwest of the city of Syracuse, which it borders.
Native Americans have inhabited the region for centuries. As early as 1600, Onondaga was a village that served as the capital of the Iroquois League and the primary settlement of the Onondaga people. During the American Revolutionary War, the Onondagas sided with the British, and Onondaga was attacked by the Continental Army on April 21, 1779. After the war, the Onondagas were forced to cede their lands in New York to the new state, although some land was set aside to form the Onondaga Reservation. Most of the Onondagas left New York and were resettled in Upper Canada.
The Onondaga region was within what was designated the Central New York Military Tract, in which the new government allotted land grants to veterans as payment for their war service. In the postwar years, the area was flooded with migrants from New England and eastern New York. The Town of Onondaga was incorporated on April 2, 1798 from parts of other towns, with several subsequent boundary changes. When Onondaga County was formed in 1794, the town was established originally from parts of the Towns of Marcellus, Pompey, and Manlius.
The first court house for the County of Onondaga was built in 1805 on the public square in Onondaga Hill, which was then the county seat. The building was laid out by surveyor and engineer James Geddes (see Town of Geddes). After the county seat was moved to Syracuse in 1830, the building in Onondaga Hill was used as a school until 1846.