HISTORY of OAKFIELD, NY
FROM OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
A DESCRIPTIVE AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF
GENESEE COUNTY
NEW YORK
EDITED BY SAFFORF E. NORTH
THE BOSTON HISTORY COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 1899



Oakfield is one of the northern tier of the towns in Genesee county. It is-bounded on the north by Barre, Orleans county, on the east by Elba, on the south by Batavia, and on the west by Alabama. The name was given it on account of the large surface of oak timber and oak openings covering the territory. The surface of the town is gently undulating in some places, but for the most part level, sloping to the north and west. The soil is a deep, sandy loam, with a subsoil of clay, and exceedingly fertile. Oak Orchard creek flows westerly through the northern part of the town. One of its tributaries, rising near the south line of the town and flowing north, affords ample power for mills and manufacturing. The Tonawanda Swamp extends across the northern portion, along Oak Orchard creek, and abounds with timber. In the western part of the town is one of the finest plaster beds in the State, extending from the west bounds two miles eastward, and half a mile in width. Salt springs, from which large quantities of salt were manufactured at an early day, are found near the centre of the town.

Indian mounds and earthworks that have gone into history as the most remarkable and best preserved of any in the State are found in Oakfield. The work in. the best state of preservation is about half a mile west of Oakfield village. It consists of breastworks and a ditch, covers about ten acres, and is known as "the old fort." The height of the embankment above the bottom of the ditch is about six feet, and both show abundant evidence of artificial grading and engineering skill. Ancient lodges and broken pottery have been found in a part of these works. A ravine through which Dry creek flows forms the west side of the fort. Trees which bear evidences of being upwards of three hundred years old have grown upon the works, showing their antiquity. Passages with sides built up of stone are found on the west side. A mile to the northeast is the remnant of "bone fort," marked only by scattered fragments of bones.

The Rev. Samuel Kirtland, the missionary sent out by Sir William Johnson to visit the Senecas in 1788, visited this spot. In the journal of his life among the Indians, he says the Senecas called these forts Te-gat-ai neaa-ghgue, or "doubled fortified town," i.e., a town with a fort at each end. Northeast of this fort, and about a mile therefrom, stood another fort, though of smaller dimensions.

The first settlements in Oakfield were made in 1801 by Erastus Wolcott and Aaron White. Soon after, in the same year, Gideon Dunham settled in the oak openings and gave the name to Dunham's Grove. Peter Rice and Christopher Kenyon came in the latter part of the same year. Among those who came in 1802 were Peter Lewis, Daniel Ayer ann Job Babcock. Gideon Dunham opened the first tavern. The first grist and saw mills were erected in 1811 by Christopher Kenyon, and the first wool-carding and cloth dressing mill was put in operation in 1829 by Othniel Brown. The first store at Oakfield, then Caryville, was opened in 1833 by Col. Alfred Cary, after whom the village was named. The earliest religious services were held by the Freewill Baptists. The first regular church organization was effected in 1832 by the Methodists, under the Rev. Hiram May.

Oakfield was erected from Elba April 11, 1842. The first officers chosen at the first town meeting were:

Supervisor, Moses True; town clerk, George Burden; assessors, William Wolcott, John C. Gardner, John G. Satterlee: justice of the peace, John G. Satterlee; commissioners of highways. John G. Gardner, Perez Howland and George B. Martin.

Following is a complete list of the supervisors of Oakfield:
1842-1843, Moses True; 1844, James Gibson; 1845, Moses True; 1846-1852, William Wolcott; 1853-1854, John C. Gardner; 1855-1857, Clitus Wolcott; 1858-1859. William C. McCrilles; 1860-1861, Addison Armstrong; 1862, William Wolcott; 1863-1865. Parley V. Ingalsbe; 1866-1867, Homer D. Waldo; 1868-1869, Charles H. Chamberlin; 1870-1873, Asa A. Woodruff; 1874-1875, William Wolcott; 1876-1877, Darius King; 1878-1879, Norman Drake; 1880, Julius Reed; 1881-1882, Irvin J. Stedman; 1883- 1884, Arthur B. Rathbone; 1885-1389, Charles H. Chamberlin; 1890-1891, Henry Caple; 1892-1897, Charles B. Avery; 1898, Lawrence D. Callan.

The following have served as town clerks:
1842-1844, George Burden; 1845, James Gibson; 1846, George Burden; 1847, James Gibson; 1848, George March; 1849-1850, James Gibson; 1851, Elbridge Jaquith; 1852, Lorenzo H. Olcott; 1853-1854, Solomon H. Parmalee; 1855-1856, Elbridge Jaquith; 1857, Samuel March; 1858, Charles H. Chamberlin; 1859-1861, Solomon H. Parmalee; 1862, Asa A. Woodruff; 1863-1866, Richard Stevens; 1867-1870, Asa A. Woodruff; 1871-1872, J. D. Stedman; 1873, F. W. Brown; 1874, Eugene T. Chamberlin; 1875-1877, Asa A. Woodruff; 1878-1882, Francis A. Griffin; 1883, Wilber H. Martin; 1884-1886, Eugene T. Chambrlin; 1887, Frederick W. Isaac; 1888-1889, C. H. Griffin; 1890, B. A. McCulloch; 1891, A. P. Heckroth; 1892-1893, Jacob B. Gaun; 1894-1895, E. A. McCulloch; 1896-1897, Henry A. Decker; 1898, H. G. Saxton.

The justices of the peace, with the years of their election, have been as follows:
1842, John C. Gardner, Perez Howland; 1843. John G. Satterlee; 1844, George F. Martin; 1845, Eden McIntyre; 1846, Milan Perry; 1847, John C. Gardner, Otis J. Freeman; 1848, Henry Howard; 1849. Eden Mcintyre; 1850, James T. Gorham; 1851, John C. Gardner; 1852, Henry Howard; 1853, Warren Pratt; 1854, Henry Howard; 1855, John C. Gardner; 1856, Henry Field. Eden McIntyre; 1857, Warren Pratt; 1853, Samuel Haxton, Parley V. Ingaisbe; 1859, Alexander Haight; 1860, Benjamin F. Hawes; 1861, John C. Gardner; 1862. Parley V. Ingaisbe: 1863, records missing; 1864, Benjamin F. Hawes; 1865, Samuel Haxton; 1866, Parley V. Ingaisbe; 1867, Norman Drake; 1868. B. F. Hawes; 1869, B. J. Chapman; 1870, Philip Caple; 1871, Norman Drake; 1872, B. F. Hawes; 1873, Samuel Haxton; 1874, Benjamin P. Carr; 1875, Seward A. Ingaisbee; 1876, B. F. Hawes; 1878, Benjamin P. Carr; 1879, Richard Stevens; 1880, B. F. Hawes; 1881, Charles H. Chamberlin 1882, Benjamin P. Carr; 1883, W. H. Griffin; 1884 B. F. Hawes; 1885 I. J. Stedman; 1886, William H Griffin; 1887, Darius J. Manchester; 1888, B. F. Hawes; 1889, I. J. Stedman; 1890, Blodgett Sparr; 1891, Willis E. Parker; 1892, B. F. Hawes; 1893, I. J. Stedman; 1894. Blodgett Sparr; 1895, Willis B. Parker; 1896, B. F. Hawes; 1897, I. J. Stedman; 1898, Blodgett Sparr.

The town clerk's office was destroyed by fire June 15. 1866, and the records were swept away, but the foregoing list, furnished by the town clerk from other records, is believed to be correct.

Oakfield, formerly known as Cary and Caryville, is the principal village. It lies south of the centre of the town, six miles northwest of Batavia, on the Lewiston road, and on the West Shore Railroad. It has a population of over one thousand. The first store in the village. was opened in 1833 by Colonel Alfred Cary. There are in the village four churches-Protestant Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian and German Lutheran; a union free school, Cary Collegiate Seminary (founded by Colonel Cary, July 4, 1840), a bank, a weekly newspaper, three hotels, a large number of stores, a foundry, a fruit evaporator, a wagon shop, a saw mill, a plow and agricultural machinery factory, a stave and heading factory, a plaster mill, a flouring mill, a cement mill, a fertilizer manufactory, an oil-can factory, a lumber yard, and other minor industries. There are also an Odd Fellows lodge, founded in 1874, and a lodge of the Empire Order of Mutual Aid, founded in 1880.

The name of Caryville was changed to Plain Brook in 1837, and soon after the village was called Oakfield. It was incorporated in 1858. At the first annual village meeting held August 7, 1885, these officers were elected:

Trustees. Andrew Thompson, Virgil C. Calkins, Asa A. Woodruff, Abner C. Dodge, Seres P. Champlin; assessors, Rice Baldwin, Samuel Fellows, Horace R. Holt; clerk, Solomon H. Parmalee; treasurer, Cyrus Pond; collector, Thomas Brown; poundmaster, Dewitt C. Colony; inspectors of election, Samuel March, Asa A. Woodruff, S. P. Charnplin.

Oakfield claims the honor of having elected the first Prohibition village president in Western New York, William W. Stevens, who was elected in March, 1890.

East Oakfield (Mechanicsville) is a hamlet located about three miles northeast of Oakfield.

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