Scipio, New York

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Scipio is a town in Cayuga County, New York, United States. The population was 1,537 at the 2000 census. The town name was provided by a clerk with an interest in the classics.

The Town of Scipio is centrally located in the county and is south of Auburn, New York. It is the setting of the Kurt Vonnegut novel Hocus Pocus. Many details about the town are fictionalized for the novel.



Scipio was part of the Central New York Military Tract; land reserved for veterans. The first settler arrived around 1790. The town of Scipio was formed in 1798 when Cayuga County was formed. In 1823, part of Scipio was used to form the Towns of Springport and Venice.

Notable people from Scipio

Scipio was the birthplace of James Strang, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite), a faction of the Latter Day Saint movement. In addition to serving as president of his church, Strang also served as the self-proclaimed king of a now-defunct ecclesiastical monarchy he established on Beaver Island, Michigan, and also served 1 1/2 terms in the Michigan House of Representatives prior to his murder in 1856 at the hands of two disgruntled followers. His Ancient and Modern Michimilimackinac was published by the Smithsonian Institute, and remained the definitive work of Beaver Island flora and fauna for nearly a century. Strang also served at various times as a postmaster, schoolteacher, temperance lecturer, newspaper correspondant, and lawyer.

Strang did not spend much of his life in Scipio, having left the town with his parents by the time he was three.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 39.3 square miles (101.9 km²), of which, 36.7 square miles (95.0 km²) of it is land and 2.7 square miles (6.9 km²) of it (6.76%) is water.

The east town line is marked by Owasco Lake, one of the Finger Lakes.

New York State Route 34, New York State Route 34B, and New York State Route 38 are north-south highways in Scipio.

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