Your Hometown: Victory and Conquest
Every town has a story behind its name. Some places are named after early settlers, others for historic figures or because of their location. In this week's edition of Your Hometown, our Andy Mattison introduces us to Victory and Conquest in Cayuga County and tells us how their identities are tied up with their founding.
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CAYUGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- As you head down State Route 38 in Cayuga County, you can't help but notice the names of two towns that are right next to each other, Victory and Conquest. They sound more like rally cries than town names, and that's just the idea.
It all started in 1821 in Cato, where residents were looking for a change and wanted to separate themselves from the town.
"They rode on horseback March 1821 to Albany. They got to Albany, it was approved so it was a conquest and likewise it was a victory,” said Joni Lincoln, Town of Conquest historian.
"They wanted their own separate government and just the emotions ran high and Victory was called Victory because of the victory they achieved,” said Beverly Sayles, Town of Victory historian.
Victory, Conquest and Ira all broke away from Cato. The towns are some of the smallest in Cayuga County, but over the years have established their own identity.
"There was a huge general store which was built on the site of James Gregory's old tavern. It was a store through many generations of the Hagar family and today it's our Victory Fire Department building,” said Sayles.
Conquest, Victory and Ira formed from breaking off from Cato, but the four towns work together and do a lot these days, including forming the CIVIC Heritage History Center, which opened in July 2010 and stores all the town's historical artifacts. Civic stands for Cato, Ira, Victory, and Conquest."
"We had a post office in Conquest for years and years and years and years and when the hotel was torn down and we lost our post office, Eleanor Cook who was our historian at the time rescued that post office boxes and we kept it and now we have a place to display it,” said Lincoln.
The two towns have separate town offices and share a fire department, and have a great appreciation for those who serve in the military.
"One of our Vietnam veterans initiated a proposal to name route 38 the full length of it from Owego to Sterling as Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway of Valor,” said Sayles.
"These are men and women supporting our country and giving up of their lives and their time to do that so if we can send them some toothpaste and tissues and homemade candy and cookies we're thrilled to do that,” said Lincoln.
They're two very unique town names, and one of them has recently become a part of pop culture through the HBO series Entourage.
"I think most of us are so use to hearing Victory we don't think anything of it anymore it's just always been hometown, our hometown of Victory,” said Sayles.
"It’s great to be a part of a small town with such a positive name. It's what we do here, we overcome difficulties,” said Lincoln.
2011 will be a big year for Conquest and Victory as the towns will celebrate their 190th anniversary. In addition to sharing an anniversary, they also share the name of the road that separates the two of them, known as the Conquest-Victory Town Line.