Open main menu

Town Line is a hamlet and census-designated place (CDP) in Erie County, New York, United States. The population was 2,367 at the 2010 census.[1] It is part of the BuffaloNiagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area. The community is located on the boundary between the towns of Lancaster and Alden.[2] Town Line is notable for having held a nonbinding vote to secede from the United States in 1861, and for having held a ceremonial vote to rejoin the United States in 1946.

Town Line, New York
Townline-the last confederacy.jpg
Location in Erie County and the state of New York
Location in Erie County and the state of New York
Coordinates: 42°53′6″N 78°33′30″W / 42.88500°N 78.55833°W / 42.88500; -78.55833Coordinates: 42°53′6″N 78°33′30″W / 42.88500°N 78.55833°W / 42.88500; -78.55833
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
TownsAlden, Lancaster
 • Total4.6 sq mi (12.0 km2)
 • Land4.6 sq mi (12.0 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
751 ft (229 m)
 • Total2,367
 • Density510/sq mi (200/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
14086, 14004, Formerly 14165
Area code(s)716
FIPS code36-75121
GNIS feature ID0967704


According to Town Line oral lore, in 1861, 125 men gathered in an informal meeting at a local schoolhouse and passed (85 to 40) a resolution to secede from the United States.[3] Because Town Line was never an incorporated municipal entity in the first place and had no well-defined boundaries, the resolution had no legal effect; neither the Confederacy nor the Union ever formally recognized the action.[4] Alden Historical Society archivist Karen Muchow has stated that there are no written records of the action.[5] According to Muchow, several members of the German-American community fled to Canada and twenty residents fought for the Union Army.[6] While the reason behind the vote is unknown, author Daren Wang and others have opined that Town Line residents—some of whom had emigrated from the area now known as Germany to avoid conscription—were motivated by opposition to a potential military draft being necessitated by the Civil War.[6][3]

Town Line held a ceremony on January 24, 1946 to "rejoin" the Union. Hollywood celebrity Cesar Romero participated in the festivities. On that day, residents voted, 90 to 23, to rescind the 19th-century secession vote.[6]


Town Line is located at 42°53′6″N 78°33′30″W / 42.88500°N 78.55833°W / 42.88500; -78.55833 (42.884974, -78.558428).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 4.6 square miles (12 km2), all land.


As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 2,521 people, 906 households, and 759 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 543.5 per square mile (209.8/km²). There were 925 housing units at an average density of 199.4/sq mi (77.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 99.29% White, 0.20% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, and 0.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.44% of the population.

There were 906 households out of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.4% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.2% were non-families. 13.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the CDP, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 31.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.4 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $51,548, and the median income for a family was $57,054. Males had a median income of $36,589 versus $30,000 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $21,957. About 3.6% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.9% of those under age 18 and 2.7% of those age 65 or over.

See alsoEdit

  • Dade County, Georgia - voted to secede (unrecognized) from the state of Georgia, and from the United States, rejoined in 1945.


  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Town Line CDP, New York". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  2. ^ "Secessionist hamlet takes stroll down memory lane - City & Region - The Buffalo News". Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2011-09-08. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ a b Klein, Christopher. "This New York Town Seceded from the Union...for 85 Years". HISTORY.
  4. ^ Federal Writers' Project, New York: A Guide to the Empire State (1940) p 436
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c Kwiatkowski, Jane (September 7, 2011). "Secessionist hamlet takes stroll down memory lane; Hamlet of Town Line marks its unique role in the Confederacy". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.