Ulysses, New York once encompassed the City of Ithaca, the Village of Trumansburg, and several smaller communities. Today the township of Ulysses is made up of the smaller communities known as Halseyville, Jacksonville, Krum's Corners, Podunk, Waterburg, Willow Creek and the Village of Trumansburg.

Over the years books have been written about Ulysses and other Tompkins County areas. These books mention train, lake, and coach travel; methods of transportation whose heydays are long gone. These fascinating books outline earlier eras with abundant farming and the significant events that shaped the lives of early settlers and native people who once resided here. One particular book, "Celebrating the Bicentennial of the United States of America in the Town of Ulysses and the Village of Trumansburg", portrays much of these earlier times. The book was written by local citizens and is an excellent source of local history. Some of this valuable information will be shared on this site. The actual book, put together around 1976, is very interesting and is available at the Ulysses Historical Society in Trumansburg at the time of this writing.

A Brief History of the Town of Ulysses

Ulysses Historical Society

The History Center in Tompkins County


John Wertis, Town Historian
Hours: by appointment
Phone: 607-387-4331


Michele Mitrani, Deputy Historian
Hours by Appointment
Phone: 607-387-9466


The Town Historian is responsible to:

  • Fill out a yearly report detailing inquiries, phone calls received, and meetings attended which is submitted to the Tompkins County Historian. This report is then sent to the New York State Historian.
  • Meet with the Tompkins County Municipal Historians an average of eight times a year and contribute to any local historical projects coordinated by the group
  • Attend a yearly meeting of the New York State District of Municipal Historians to exchange information and ideas relating to New York State history
  • Hold public informational sessions about any history-related activities in which the Town of Ulysses participates
  • Lifetime member of the Ulysses Historical Society
  • Member of the Tompkins County Municipal Historian’s Group


Birth and death certificates are not recorded by the town, but rather, Tompkins County. The town does, however, have marriage certificates dating back to 1908.

In order to get a copy of a marriage certificate or a transcript, you must be one of the parties to the marriage, or

  • the license must be over 50 years old;
  • both parties to the license must be deceased;
  • or you must be a direct-line descent (i.e. child, grandchild, great grandchild, etc.).
The Town Historian does not regulary perform genealogical searches, but may be able to point you in the right direction.

By John Wertis, Town Historian

          Leaving you with a few “chuckles” from the 19th century local weekly
newspapers. These items the editor may have written himself, “lifted” from some other newspaper, are jokes from books , or are derived from  news or  talk around the town.  
                    Pithy Answer to a Short Advertisement – A shop keeper on Grand Street,
                        the other day, stuck upon his door the following laconic advertisement:
                        “A boy wanted”. On going to his shop the next morning, he beheld a
                        smiling little urchin in a basket, with the following pithy label: “Here he is”.

                                                                                    The Free Press, July 30, 1834
                                                                                    From the “New York Transcript”

-----An eastern editor says that a man got himself in trouble by marrying two wives.
A western editor replies that a good many have done the same thing by marrying one.

                                                                                    The Free Press, September  20, 1890


                        A northern editor says that a number of his acquaintances found trouble enough
                        in barely promising  to marry and never going any further. A southern editor says
                        that a friend of his was bothered enough when he was found in company with another                                    man's wife.
                                                                                    The Free Press, July 8, 1893

A Bad Boy

                        Mother---Why don't you play with that little Peterkin boy anymore?
                        Small Son---'Cause he swore.
                        “Horrors!  Did he?”
                        “Yes'm. He swore I stole his knife , and teacher made me give it back and
                        licked me besides.” --- Good News
                                                                                    The Free Press, October 1, 1892
                                                                         PERRY CITY
                        We have had the most destructive flood ever known in this section. Besides several
                        rainy days, it came down in torrents Tuesday and Wednesday nights, nearly a dozen                          bridges in Hector are partially or totally destroyed...........Chas. Ammack had a large
                        field of potatoes dug and washed ready for market  and a goodly number shipped by                              by way of Taughannock  Falls.

Last updated 2014

This website is updated periodically but not regularly and routinely each day.
If you have questions please contact Carissa Parlato or call (607) 387-5767.

Mailing address: 10 Elm St., Trumansburg, NY 14886