village in the town (township) of Pomfret, Chautauqua county, western New York, U.S. It lies on Canadaway Creek, near Lake Erie, immediately south of Dunkirk. Settled in 1804, its pseudo-Latin name-coined about 1800 by physician and politician Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchill and meaning "place of freedom"-was originally proposed as the name of the nation. It was the site of the first natural-gas well in the U.S. to be harnessed for illumination (1825). The first local unit of the Grange (a fraternal organization of farmers) was established there in 1868, as was the first branch of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (1873). There is some agriculture and food processing, but Fredonia's economy depends primarily on the State University of New York College at Fredonia, which originated in 1826 as Fredonia Academy. Inc. 1829. Pop. (1990) 10,436; (2000) 10,706.
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