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 betweeri. 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
East Winfield, (Winfleld 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 Winfleld 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 Priticipal, 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 stories 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 the immediate 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 Winrield.
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 ard 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
froth 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, 1829, 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.