Transcibed by Kristy Lawrie Gravlin - hannah@teleport.com


The Town of Oakfield,

Genesee County, New York

as taken from The Gazetteer and Business Directory of Genesee County, N.Y. for 1869-70; Compiled and published by Hamilton Child, Syracuse, NY, 1869.

Oakfield was formed from Elba, April 11, 1842. It received its name from the fact that the lands of the town were chiefly "Oak Openings". It lies on the north border of the County, west of the center. The surface is level or gently undulating. Oak Orchard Creek, the principal stream, flows westerly through the north part of the town. A marsh, forming a part of the Tonawanda Swamp, extends along its course. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam, underlaid by clay. Salt springs, from which salt was formerly manufactured, are found near the center of the town. In the west part of the town is a large plaster bed, one of the finest in the State. It extends from the west border of the town, east, about two miles, and is half a mile in width.

Cary, (Oakfield p. o.) named in honor of Col. Alfred Cary, was incorporated in July, 1858. It lies a little south of the center and six miles north-west of Batavia, and contains four churches, viz., Presbyterian, Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal and Free Methodist; Cary Collegiate Institute, a hotel, five stores, a foundry, a wheel rake manufactory, a grist and plaster mill, several mechanic shops and about 600 inhabitants.

Cary Collegiate Institute was founded in 1840, chiefly through the liberality of Col. Alfred Cary, a resident of the town. The buildings are of stone. The apparatus is ample for illustrating the principles of the natural sciences. There is also a fine library to which the students have access. Col. Cary endowed the Institution with about $20,000. In 1856, by act of the Trustees, the Institution was placed under the control of the Protestant Episcopal Church. The number of students of both sexes in attendance during the last year was 175.

North Oakfield (p. o.) is in the north part of the town.

Mechanicsville, in the east part, contains a saw mill, a wagon shop, a blacksmith shop, two cooper shops, a school house and fifteen dwellings.

Oakfield, in the west part, is a hamlet.

Most of the town was an Indian Reservation, and not sold until after 1832. The settlement was commenced in 1801 by Erastus WOLCOTT, Gideon DUNHAM and Christopher KENYON. Mr. Dunham was from Livingston County, and located on Section 5 of the Holland Purchase. Peter LEWIS, from Vermont, settled on the same Section about the same time. Elijah BLODGETT, formerly from Vermont, removed from Ontario County to Oakfield in 1807, and settled at Mechanicsville. George W., John and Jeremiah H. GARDNER settled in the town in 1811. Wm. McCRELLIS, from Madison County, settled on lot 10, Section 5, in 1810; Aaron WHITE on Section 6, in 1806. Calvin NOBLES, John ORR and ______TERRILL were among the other early settlers. George DRIGGS, from Connecticut, was one of the first settlers on the north line of the Reservation, in 1811. Mr. Driggs cut the Lewiston road through from Alabama to Walsworth's tavern. Othniel BROWN, from Rhode Island, settled on Section 6 of the Holland Purchase, in 1816, and Laurens ARMSTRONG and Harvey HUBBELL, from Connecticut, were also early settlers.

The first birth in the town was that of Calvin NOBLES, son of Russell NOBLES, in 1806. Gideon DUNHAM and _____ DAVIS were early hotel keepers. The first mills were erected by Christopher KENYON in 1811. The first store was kept by Col. CARY, at Caryville, in 1833. Othniel BROWN commenced wool carding and cloth dressing in 1829, and, about 1835, erected a woolen factory which continued in operation until 1848.

About a mile west of Cary are the remains of an old fortification, known as the Old Fort, consisting of a ditch and breastworks, including about ten acres of ground. The ditch is now of such a depth that a person standing in it would be unobserved a short distance off. The west side of the Fort is formed by a ravine through which flows "Dry Creek," a stream that disappears during the dry season. Trees have grown upon the breastworks apparently 200 or 300 years old. On the west side, leading down to the creek, there was a passage for ingress and egress, with the sides built up with stones.

The population of the town in 1865 was 1,5114, and its area 15,379 acres.

There are eight school districts, employing eight teachers. The number of the school population is 573; the number attending school, 384; the average attendance, 186, and the amount expended for school purposes during the year ending September 30, 1868, was $2,126.69.



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