Steuben County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 98,990. Its county seat is Bath. Its name is in honor of Baron von Steuben, a German general who fought on the American side in the American Revolutionary War, though it is not pronounced the same.
When counties were established in New York State in 1683, the present Steuben County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766 by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770, by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.
On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately five miles west of the present city of Schenectady, and the county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York.
In the years prior to 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled to Canada. In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, the name of Tryon County was changed to Montgomery County in honor of the general, Richard Montgomery, who had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebec, replacing the name of the hated British governor.
Ontario County was split off from Montgomery County in 1789 to form an area much larger than the present Ontario County. Steuben County, much larger than today, was split off from Ontario County in 1796. In 1823 a portion of Steuben County was combined with a portion of Ontario County to form Yates County. Steuben County was further reduced in size in 1854 when a portion was combined with portions of Chemung and Tompkins counties to form Schuyler County.