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engraving of Fairfield Academy

Our Town of Fairfield, Herkimer County, section has grown a lot since its creation in February 1997, thanks to Jane Dieffenbacher, Fairfield Town Historian, and this site's Fairfield Town Coordinator. Her essay "The Town of Fairfield", at the bottom of this page, was written for the Fairfield bicentennial celebration. The now-complete sub-section for the College of Physicans and Surgeons on this page is a unique online resource for people interested in the history of medicine or trying to trace the alma mater of that ancestral doctor in the family.

Jane offers to help answer questions from those of you with ancestors in or questions about the Town of Fairfield. Her e-mail address is

8/7/08 - Before emailing Jane: Jane receives many requests for assistance but is a very, very busy person, and a few of you are impatient! Jane will answer all requests the best way she can, as she can. Assisting you will take awhile, especially since the volume has increased. Please be sure that all requests to Jane pertain to known Fairfield residents, not residents of other towns.

In Herkimer and surrounding counties, Jane Dieffenbacher lectures widely and frequently about the history of Herkimer County and the Town of Fairfield. In addition to being a member of the board of several historical societies and the official historian of the village of Middleville, she's also the author of "This Green and Pleasant Land, Fairfield, NY": A History of the Town of Fairfield.

Originally published by the Town of Fairfield in honor of Fairfield's Bicentennial of Incorporation, this softcover book is 469 pages long, and has 203 illustrations and photographs and maps. A second printing of This Green and Pleasant Land has just been issued, containing an index of all persons named in the book. This book is priced at $20.00 plus $3.50 for shipping and handling. Checks should be made out to the "Town of Fairfield" and can be sent to Jane at P.O. Box 1, Middleville, NY 13406.

Contact: Jane Dieffenbacher
P.O. Box 1
Middleville, NY  13406

Jane is also the editor of "Middleville, New York, The Story of a Village", published by the Village of Middleville in 1990. A few copies of this sizeable and outstanding village profile are still available for $6.00 plus $2.00 postage and handling. They can be ordered from the Village of Middleville through Jane at Box 1, Middleville, NY 13406.

Profile of the Village of Middleville: including 1888-1889 Directory of Middleville

1868 Atlas Map of the Village of Fairfield: size 105k
1868 Atlas Map of the Village of Middleville: size 260k
(large format scrolling views; both maps have been optimized to lower file size; please be patient as files download)

Aurora Lodge No 52 - Free and Accepted Masons, Fairfield, NY
Horace Ford's Dedication Speech
1839 Jury List
Overseers of Highways - 1845
Various Old Newspaper Clippings

Historical Events of the Early Settlers of Fairfield, White Creek and Vicinity
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4

The memoirs of Jane Scott Raynore were privately printed in 1909. Part One begins with Jane's anecdote of her grandfather's coming to the wilderness of early Fairfield. Throughout her manuscript she talks about many early families, their marital alliances, and how they fared in the settlement of Fairfield and other nearby towns.

1800 Census of Fairfield

1825 Census of Fairfield

School District No.1
School District No. 2
School District No. 3
School District No. 4
School District No. 5
School District No. 6, 1850-1855
School District No. 6, Report of January 1, 1839
School District No. 7
Students of Fairfield School District No. 8
Students of Fairfield School District No. 9
Town of Fairfield Schoolchildren: 1798 -1799
=Catalog of Fairfield Semimary, 1858
Old Fairfield Seminary
Fairfield Alumni Directory, published in 1936
    Part 1: A - D   Part 2: E - J    Part 3: K - R    Part 4: S - Z
Fairfield Seminary Review, 1888-1889
Reunions of the Philorhetorean Society of Fairfield Seminary, 1894 - a link off site

Churches of the Town of Fairfield
new 8/7/08  Photos of the United Methodist Church, Middleville
First Members of Middleville Baptist Church, 1820
George Buell, Church Builder, 1781 - 1871
Rev. David Chassell, 1787-1870

Harris Cemetery
updated With More Surnames 8/29/08  Middleville Cemetery, Rte. 29
updated With Photo 8/7/08  Some Small Cemeteries: Davis Family Cemetery and Un-named Cemetery near Middleville
Trinity Episcopal Church Cemetery

Andrew A. Bartow, Inventor, 1773 - 1862
1830 Will of Benjamin Cahoon of Fairfield
Ella Edsall - The Lady Who Liked to Read
Charles W. Hamlin of Fairfield
Ancestry of the Farmer Family of Fairfield & Herkimer
The Diary of Miss Alvina Helmer, 1915
"My Recollections of Eatonville as it Was in 1850"  Part 1    Part 2
Obituaries of the Lynch and McLaughlin Families
1924 Lynch Family Reunion
The Mann Family
The Mather Family

starStars of Blue and Gold For Raymond stara mother's prayer for a son killed in WWI; by Frances Miller Lynch

Pvt. John Zaborek of Middleville


The College of Physicians and Surgeons at Fairfield
Graduates of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Fairfield: 1816 to 1818
More Students of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Fairfield
1820s Students of the College of Physicians and Surgeons
Graduates of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Fairfield: 1823 to 1829
Graduates of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Fairfield: 1830 to 1840
Tribute to Dr. James S. Power
Reminiscences of Old Fairfield Academy

The Town of Fairfield

Fairfield, NY 13406

Herkimer County

Incorporated 1796

Before the Revolutionary War, a few German families moved north of the Mohawk Valley, cleared away the forest, and settled down to farm and raise families on the land that was to become the Town of Fairfield. Sir William Johnson placed tenant farmers on the northern half of Fairfield, part of his Royal Grant, to act as a buffer between the Indians and the settlements of the Mohawk Valley.

Following the upheaval of the Revolution, New Englanders flocked to Fairfield beginning in 1785, attracted by fertile, inexpensive land. They brought their New England values and institutions with them and soon Fairfield was a thriving community with a population large enough to justify the formation of a new township. In 1796, the Town of Fairfield was set off from the Town of Norway and the first town meeting was held on April 5.

The need for an institution of higher learning for local students of the district schools was evident by 1802 and, encouraged by the Rev. Caleb Alexander, a Presbyterian missionary, the people of Fairfield contributed enough money to raise the first building of the Fairfield Academy on July 4, 1802. The Regents of the University of the State of New York granted Fairfield Academy its charter in 1803 and soon students from a wide area were attending classes in Fairfield.

In 1804, a post office was established and the Military Road was under construction, passing through the northeast corner of the township. Stores and small industries provided goods and services for the farmers, who grew wheat for the large down-state market.

Several churches were established in the early years. Trinity Episcopal Church, organized in 1807, was closely connected with Fairfield Academy, where the first attempt at theologial education for Episcopal clergy in an institutional setting in the United States was made under the sponsorship of Trinity Church, New York City. Fairfield's Trinity Church was listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places in 1993.

By 1812, the Fairfield Academy had become a center of scientific study and received a charter from the Regents establishing the College of Physicians and Surgeons for the Western District of New York, the first medical school west of the Hudson River. Famous graduates included Asa Gray, world famous botanist, and Dr. Marcus Whitman, missionary to the Indians of the Oregon Territory. Graduates of Fairfield established a medical college in Ohio, named for Dr. Westel Willoughby, and from this beginning, other medical universities in Ohio were born.

Numerous Fairfield graduates achieved fame in the fields of education, medicine, government, and science. The medical college continued until 1840 and the Fairfield Seminary and Military Academy, as it was then known, continued until 1901.

Fairfield farmers converted to dairying and the cheese industry flourished during the 1800's and early 1900's. The Village of Middleville, incorporated in 1890, had several industries, including a large tannery, that provided local employment.

As Fairfield approaches its bicentennial, numerous small family farms have been replaced by fewer dairy farms and many residents are employed in the Mohawk Valley. However, the scenic beauty of the hills and West Canada Valley remain, a great asset in today's world of urban decay and crowded, expensive suburbs. The West Canada Valley Central School and the peaceful, rural, and friendly communities of Fairfield and Middleville continue to attract people who are searching for a wholesome, refreshing lifestyle.

By: Jane Dieffenbacher
Copyright © 1996

A research tip from Steve Mabie!

The Montgomery/Herkimer County web site has been a tremendous help to me, and I thought that perhaps I can contribute a little information. Recently, I found a source that may be of interest to other researchers, and I thought that you might like to pass this along.

In searching for the marriage of my great-great grandparents in Norway, NY, (John P. Mabee and Maria Easton) I came across an LDS film that includes the handwritten records of the Trinity Church in Fairfield, the Memorial Church in Middleville and the Grace Church in Norway. All are identified as Episcopal. And yes, I did find the 1831 marriage record that I was searching for.

All three churches are in the same book, with the minister's notations indicating the site of the marriage, baptism or funeral. The years covered are roughly 1822 through 1910 (with gaps). Since the records are hand written, many names are difficult to make out, unless you know what you are looking for.

The records are item #8 on film #533508. This film can be ordered through any LDS Family History Center for only $3.50 (as of now), and you can maintain access to the film for roughly 1 month. Hopefully, this information can help some others.
Steve Mabie
September 1999

Back to Herkimer County NYGenWeb

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Last Updated: 8/29/08
Copyright© 1996 - 2008 Jane W. Dieffenbacher, Town of Fairfield Coordinator
Copyright ©1997 - 2008 M. Magill, Coordinator, Herkimer County NYGenWeb
Copyright ©2003 - 2008 Lisa K. Slaski, Asst. Coordinator, Herkimer County NYGenWeb
Copyright ©1999 - 2008 Steve Mabie
All Rights Reserved.
This page is part of Herkimer County NYGenWeb, part of NYGenWeb, and proud to be part of the USGenWeb Project.