Cazenovia lies southeast of Syracuse. It was founded in 1793 by land agent John Lincklaen, who named the village for his boss, Theophilus Cazenove. Cazenovia was a center of early abolitionism. Abolitionist minister Luther Myrick led a radical church there in the 1830s. Fellow abolitionist John Ingersoll, father of Robert Green Ingersoll, joined Myrick in 1835–1836. When John’s wife, Mary Livingston Ingersoll, died and John could not afford a grave site, Myrick donated a space in his family plot.
In the early 1840s an abolitionist newspaper was published in Cazenovia. The Madison County Abolitionist was funded by Peterboro reformer/philanthropist Gerrit Smith, cofounded by Luther Myrick and James Caleb Jackson, and edited by Jackson.
In 1851, Cazenovia hosted a significant convention to protest the Fugitive Slave Act, remarkable for its large turnout and distinguished roster of abolitionist leaders.