DEERFIELD was formed from Schuyler (Herkimer Co.), March 15, 1798. Marcy was taken off in 1832. It is situated
near the center of the east border of the County. Its surface is mostly a high plateau, from 600 to 1,000 feet
above the Mohawk, forming the north continuation of the Hassenclever Mountains of Herkimer County. A broad intervale,
partly overflowed in high water, extends along the Mohawk, opposite Utica; and on the north-east the surface descends
abruptly to West Canada Creek. The Mohawk flows along the south-west border of the town. The soil upon the flats
is a deep, rich alluvial loam, and on the hills a slaty and gravelly loam.
Deerfield Corners (Deerfield p. o.) is in the south part and contains two churches, a hotel, several mechanic shops
and about one hundred houses. A thickly settled suburb of Utica extends towards the village. Several hotels, saloons
and other business places are located on this street.
North Gage, (p. o.) in the north part, is a hamlet and contains one church.
The first settlement in this town was made in 1773, by George J. Weaver, Captain Mark Damoth and Christian Reall.
They built log houses and remained until 1776, when being informed by a friendly Indian of an intended raid upon
their settlement by Tories and Indians, they secreted their furniture in the woods and fled to “Little Stone Arabia,”
a small fort in the present town of Schuyler. Mr. Damoth received a Captain’s commission in a company of rangers,
and at an attack upon Herkimer received a wound in the arm from which he never entirely recovered. Mr. Weaver was
taken prisoner, carried to Quebec where he was kept in close confinement for nine months, “seeing neither sun,
moon or stars during all that time.” From Quebec he was taken to England, and after two years was exchanged and
returned to his native valley. In the summer of 1784, after all the casualties of war, these three first settlers
returned to their farms, to cultivate the land they had cleared years before. About the same time, Peter, Nicholas
and George Weaver, George Damoth, Nicholas and Philip Harter, settled in the town. The early settlement of Deerfield
was confined to the Mohawk Valley and the adjacent hillsides. Warren Forbes and John Blue were the first settlers
at North Gage. George Sheaf, Jacob Coffin, Malcom Johnson and Alexander Walker, settled in the north part of the
town about the same time. About the year 1790, Mr. Solomon Wells settled in the south-west part of the town, on
land now owned by his son William Wells.
The first school house erected at North Gage, in 1807, was of logs; Aaron Read was the first teacher. The first
bridge across the Mohawk, between Utica and Deerfield, was erected in 1792. As the settlers were few and widely
dispersed, it was raised on Sunday to insure more help. The first religious society (Baptist) was organized in
1798; Rev. Oded Eddy was the first pastor. Doctor Francis Guiteau was the first Supervisor of the town, and Isaac
Brayton was the first Town Clerk.
Ex-Governor HORATIO SEYMOUR resides in this town. Having twice filled the Executive Chair of the Empire State,
he retired from the cares and labors of public life to enjoy the more congenial pursuits of agriculture. In July,
1868, at the National Democratic Convention, he was “caught up by the whelming tide” of party favor, and, contrary
to his repeatedly expressed wishes, was made the candidate of his party for the office of President of the United
States. On the fifth of November the American people made choice of General Ulysses S. Grant for that office, and
Mr. Seymour again retired to his delightful residence to enjoy in his rural retreat that true happiness to which,
as an office-holder, he would be a stranger.
The population of the town in 1865 was 2,071, and its area 22,523 acres.
There are eleven school districts, employing eleven teachers. The whole number of pupils is 745; the average attendance,
208; and the amount expended for school purposes for the year ending September 30th, 1868, was $2,693.89.