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West Winfield Bridge

East Street Bridge, West Winfield, N.Y.
Original early postcard East Street Bridge, Pub. by Irving A. Crandall, West Winfield N.Y. Postmarked in 1934.

The Town of Winfield was settled about 1790, primarily by immigrants from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Part of it developed out of the Town of Litchfield. A browse through our 1869-70 directory listings shows that Litchfield had very few residents of German or Dutch descent, characteristic of other Herkimer County towns. We're sure there is documentation somewhere about exactly where in these New England states many of the settlers came from, and why they came to Winfield specifically. Maybe you can fill us in with some background about your own Winfield ancestors by registering your folks in the Winfield Ancestor Registry.


The Town of Winfield
Minutes of Litchfield Town Meetings 1796-1816
West Winfield Society for the Promotion of Temperance - 1820's
An Unusual 1845 Court Hearing
Early Winfield and Litchfield Student Lists
West Winfield Graduates 1948 - graphics intensive
Newsy Tidbits from Old Newspapers

Jim Murphy's West Winfield Postcard Collection, Part 1
Jim Murphy's West Winfield Postcard Collection, Part 2
Two Old Photos of Winfield
Old Photos of West Winfield Businesses


Do you have ancestors who lived in the Town of Winfield but near Cedarville -- in the 1880s? Perhaps they were mentioned in the diary of Lena Louisa Kibby (born 1871)! Check out the list on the Village of Cedarville Page.

Winfield Star Death Index 1860-1952
Winfield Star Marriage & Anniversary Index 1860-1940
Winfield Star Birth Index 1888-1920
Winfield Births 1847 - 1849
Winfield Marriages 1847 - 1849
Winfield Deaths 1847 - 1849

Winfield Family Sketches
Benjamin Goldthwaite of West Winfield: Finding Local Ancestors in Unexpected Places
The Historic Home of Colonel Matthew Keith
Rider / Morgan Family Bible
Profile of Isaac Pray
"Memerys" of Emeline Tyler Roper
The Mystery of Aurilla Toms Winfield Grange Roll Book

Officers and Students of West Winfield Academy, 1854-1855
West Winfield High School Register of Alumni 1915-1916
West Winfield High School Graduates 1934

Abandoned Cemetery Near Babcock Hill: on same page as above cemetery
Abandoned Cemetery on Wall St. on same page as Old Baptist Cemetery
Day Cemetery: now known as Tennessee Road Cemetery
East Winfield Cemetery
Kellogg Family Cemetery
Meetinghouse Green Cemetery
Old Baptist Cemetery
St. Joseph Cemetery
Stiles Cemetery - Old Reading
Stiles Cemetery - New Reading
West Winfield Cemetery
Wood Family Cemetery

Winfield Civil War Soldiers in the 101st NY Volunteer Infantry
Winfield Civil War Soldiers Monument

Greater Winfield Area Historical Society

Entering West Winfield

Entering West Winfield, N.Y.
Image ©1997 Chris Devoe

from the Gazetteer and Business Directory of Herkimer County, N.Y. 1869-70

WINFIELD, named in honor of General Winfield Scott, was formed from Litchfield, Richfield and Plainfield, Otsego Co., April 17, 1816. It is the south-west corner town of the County. The surface is moderately hilly and forms the dividing upland between the Mohawk, and Unadilla valleys, the general elevation being about 500 feet above the Mohawk. In the south-east is a range of hills rising about 700 feet. The east branch of the Unadilla flows south through a deep valley in the west part. Brown's Hollow Creek, a branch of the Mohawk, rises on the north border. Near East Winfield is a sulphur spring; several limestone quarries are found in different parts of the town.

East Winfield, (Winfield p.o.) located in the east part of the town, is a hamlet.

West Winfield (p. v.) contains two churches, the West Winfield Academy, a bank, a grist mill, a saw mill, a tannery, a cheese box factory, a newspaper office and about 400 inhabitants.

North Winfield is a post office in the north-east corner.

Chepatchet is a hamlet in the north-east part of the town, so called from a place in Rhode Island from which the early settlers came. Mr. Anthony Williams, a descendant of Roger Williams, settled near this place in 1800, and still resides there.

West Winfield Academy was erected in 1850, at a cost of $4,000. The funds were raised by subscription. The school was opened Dec. 11, 1850, under the direction of LeRoy Bliss, Principal. A boarding house has since been added at a cost of $3,000. Mr. D. P. Blackstone is the present Principal, under whose administration the school is flourishing.

There are several mills and manufactories in different parts of the town. The Red Mill, owned by Davis & Jones, is situated on Stul's Creek, in the north-east part of the town, contains three runs of stones and is a custom mill. A lime kiln, which produces from 80 to 100 bushels per day, is in the immediate vicinity and is owned by the same parties. A cheese box factory, a saw mill and cider mill, owned by John A. Cole, is in th late vicinity. The cheese factory of Wm. Joslyn is in this part of the town and uses the milk of 150 cows. Zenas Eldred's cheese factory, located about a mile north of East Winfield, uses the milk of 250 cows. Emery Bartlett's cheese factory, located a short distance west of East Winfield, uses the milk of 400 cows. Smith Brothers' mills and machine shop are located on East Branch of Unadilla Creek, about three miles from the head waters. G.S. Weeks's sash and blind factory is about half a mile south of West Winfield. Chester D. Reed's saw mill is on Middle Branch of Unadilla Creek, about a mile and a half from West Winfield. J.A. Lackey's cheese factory uses the milk of 300 cows. Wood's cheese factory, at Wood's Corners, uses the milk of 85 cows. Wilcox's cheese factory, at North Winfield, uses the milk of 700 cows and makes about 300,000 pounds of cheese annually. J. M. Jennings' mills and cheese factory are located in the north-west part of Winfield.

The first settlement of this town was commenced, according to some authorities, in 1789, while others give it at a date a few years later. Among the early settlers who came in previous to 1800 were Joseph and Timothy Walker, Benjamin Cole, Nathan Brown, Oliver Guild, Jeremiah Holmes, Abel Brace, Oliver Powers, Nathan Bangs, Aaron Peabody, Jonathan Palmer, Larkin Smith, Jacob Leach, John Wilcox, David Wood, Jotham Chapin, Heman Barber, Festus Williams, and men by the name of Toole, Pray, Thayer, Lawton and others.

Larkin Smith, in company with Thayer and Lawton, came from Barre, Mass, in 1793, and settled on lots 80 and 81 of Schuyler's patent. There was no road further than Mohawk and they came through by the aid of blazed trees. The three worked in partnership and raised a crop of corn and wheat in 1794, and in the spring of 1795 removed their families. There were no mills in the vicinity and their corn was pounded in a mortar made from a large maple tree.

The pioneers of this town endured many hardships, as the winters were long and cold and the ground covered with snow. Brush was cut for the cattle and the cabins were a poor protection against the wintry blasts. Mr. Alonzo Wood relates that his father constructed a chimney for his cabin in such a way that the snow during a storm always put the fire out. As it snowed most of the time during the winter of 1793, it was with difficulty that they kept from freezing, while to cook required all the skill and patience of an experienced pioneer.

The first church (Bap.) was organized at West Winfield in 1798 and their house of worship was erected in 1803. Elder Vining was the first preacher. The first members were Oliver Guild, Nathan Bangs, Oliver Powers, Jeremiah Holmes, Aaron Peabody, Benjamin Cole and Jonathan Palmer.

The Congregational Church was organized August 23d,1799, as the Congregational church of Litchfield, with the society name of Sumner, which was changed to Harmony Society, Nov. 16, 1820. The church edifice was erected on "Meeting House Square" in 1801 and removed to East Winfield in 1816. The members of the church at its organization were Samuel Crocker, Abel Brace, Samuel Sutliff, Mason Hatfield, Joshua Nye, Kezia Brace, Hannah Brace, Ruth Sutliff, Sarah Crocker, Charity Nye, Mrs. Allen, Lydia Hodges, Jerusha Harwood, Jerusha Bartholomew and Elizabeth Castor. The Church was organized by Rev. Mr. Steele, of Paris; Abel Brace was the first deacon. Rev. Mr. Lardel supplied the pulpit during the summer of 1802. Rev. Jesse Churchill became the first settled minister in May, 1808. The Sabbath School was organized in 1820.

The M.E. Church, of West Winfield, was organized previous to 1828, when their house of worship was erected at a cost of $1,200. It was dedicated in January, 18289, Rev. B. Hall preaching the dedicatory sermon. It was made a station in 1833, and Wm. S. Bowdich was appointed the first preacher. Under the ministry of Rev. Wm. Loomis, in 1844, a parsonage was built. Their house of worship was repaired in 1855 and burned July 5, 1863. It was soon after rebuilt upon the same site.

The population of the town in 1865 was 1,517; its area is 14,735 acres.

from the Gazetteer of the State of New York. Albany: D. B. Packard, 1824.
Written by Horatio Gates Spafford.

WINFIELD, a Post-Township in the SW. corner of Herkimer county, 15 miles, SW. of Herkimer, and 75 WNW. of Albany; bounded N. by Litchfield, E. by Columbia, and Otsego County, S. by Otsego County, W. by Oneida county. Its area is equal to 5 miles square, and it has the great western turnpike from Albany. It was erected in 1816, from the towns of Richfield and Plainfield, of Otsego County, and Litchfield, of Herkimer County. The public buildings are 3 meeting-houses - 1 for Presbyterians, and 2 for Baptists; and 10 schoolhouses. The principal stream is the Unadilla, flowing southerly through the centre, but there are other streams also, on which are valuable mills, one of which issues from a durable spring in the N. part, and drives the machinery of 6 mills, within 100 rods from where it rises from the ground. Near the centre is a valuable Medicinal Spring, which contains sulphate of Soda. The general face of the lands is level, the soil a coarse sand, or gravel, very productive, and the geological character and position require a passing notice, this town being near the SE. extremity, in a long and narrow projection from the great secondary region of the west. The lands are owned by the cultivators. Staple productions, clover seed, beef, pork, butter and cheese, and most kinds of grain. The inhabitants are Yankees, or immigrants from New-England, of good morals, and very industrious. - Population, 1752; taxable property, $240,752; 323 electors, 6131 acres improved land, 1585 cattle, 434 horses, 4267 sheep; 18209 yards cloth; 4 grist mills, 13 saw mills, 5 fulling mills, 3 carding machines, 1 trip hammer, 5 distilleries, and 7 asheries. - The farmers, including buildings, fences and husbandry, in this town, are entitled to particular notice and commendation. Such farmers are the proper persons to furnish clean clover seed, quite a business in this and some of the adjoining townships in the S. of this County.

The 1869 profile of Winfield was typed by volunteer Debbie Smith Zorach, who is researching area Yankee families. Debbie is experiencing the problem of Winfield's shifting political boundaries in researching her Smiths and is focusing on the area of Winfield that was a part of Plainfield before the 1816 township changes. "My Willard Morse Smith was born in Plainfield, while his son William Henry was born in Winfield. That tells me they might have lived in what had been Plainfield in Otsego Co. prior to 1816. Willard and William Henry are buried in Sheds (Madison Co.), so I'm looking for David (or Daniel), Willard's father. David Smith's wife was Lodema (Lovina?) Morse. Willard's wife Lucinda Harrington was born in Canterbury, CT. According to her Madison Co. cemetary record, her father was Keeler Harrington (also b. Canterbury). I wonder if his name might have been Ezekiel. Lucinda's mother was Hannah (or Heannah) Whitford or Whifford."

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