The Sullivan Expedition of 1779 passed through the town to destroy villages of the Cayuga tribe and Seneca tribe. After the American Revolution, the area was in the Central New York Military Tract, land reserved for veterans.
The town was formed from the Town of Romulus in 1830, but the first settler had arrived by 1794.
The east town line, defined by Cayuga Lake, is the border of Cayuga County. The west town line, at Seneca Lake is the border of Ontario County on the western shore of Seneca Lake. The town is in the Finger Lakes District of New York.
New York State Route 89, New York State Route 96, New York State Route 96A, and New York State Route 414 are all north-south highways in the town. New York State Route 336 is a short east-west state highway mostly on the north town line.
There were 630 households out of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.4% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.9% were non-families. 19.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the town the 2000 population distribution was 29.2% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. Compared to the national average, the 18 to 44 demographic was about half of what was expected. For every 100 females there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $40,110, and the median income for a family was $43,917. Males had a median income of $32,566 versus $28,636 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,164. About 6.6% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.0% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.
The farmland in the eastern part of the town is now largely worked by Amish farmers, and in the northern part by Mennonite farmers. Farmland on the eastern slope to the Cayuga Lake is largely devoted to wine grapes.