The Seneca tribe of Native Americans lived in the area in and around Rochester until they gave up their claim to most of this land in the Treaty of Big Tree in 1797. Settlement before the Seneca tribe is unknown.
Development of modern Rochester followed the American Revolution, and forced cession of their territory by the Iroquois after the defeat of Great Britain. Allied with the British, four major Iroquois tribes were essentially forced from New York. As a reward for their loyalty to the British Crown, they were given a large land grant on the Grand River in Canada.