Mayfield History

Mayfield was settled in 1760 it was locally called Philadelphia Bush as most people who settled there were from that city. Sir William Johnson called it Scotch Settlement trying to lure hard working European Settlers there. It was part of the Mayfield Patent of 1770 A land patent is evidence of right, title, and/or interest to a tract of land, usually granted by the federal, state or foreign government to an individual or private company. In this case granted to Sir William by the King of England. The town was established in 1794 from the old Town of Caughnawaga” ( Mohawk for at the rapids). The name Mayfield is an English name for “from the warriors field”. Anthonyville, Riceville, Wilkens Corners, Cranberry Creek, Vail Mills, Tolmantown, Dennies Hollow, Woods Hollow, Munsonville, Jackson Summit, Red Bunch Corners (named after red tipped hay that grew there), and Summit View were all part of the town.

Four fairly substantial creeks ran into the Mayfield. The Kennyetto, Cranberry, Mayfield, and Stony. Mostly a farming community important crops were hay, buckwheat, and potatoes. Natural resources were lumber and limestone which was later used by tanneries to remove the hair from hides. Mayfield was abundant in hemlock trees also used in the tanning process.

In 1773 Brothers Solomon and Selah Woodworth bought large tracts of land from Sir William and Solomon built what was known as “Mayfield Fort” or the “Sacandaga Blockade”. Selah left to go back to Connecticut before the Revolutionary War as he wanted to save his family from the fighting. Solomon was, however, a passionate patriot. Soon many others came together who supported him against the Tories and the Indians. The blockade suffered repeated raids by the Indians and the Tories in the winter of 1780. In March of that year a small band of Indians tried to burn the fort down. The next day they were given chase and all the Indians were killed. It prompted a group called the “9 months men” in which Solomon Woodworth was made a lieutenant and eventually became a captain at which time he formed a company of rangers in 1781.

The rangers, able bodied and well armed, would comb the area around the fort looking for Indians. An Indian was found one day in an ambush position and was fired upon. The shot in turn provided a signal. Appearing from their hiding places a large band of Indians set themselves upon the rangers. They outnumbered the rangers 2 to 1. Of the rangers fifteen escaped, forty-one were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner and Woodworth was killed.

In the late 1700’s to late 1800’s was a time of growth for the town of Mayfield especially in the hamlet of Riceville. Two tanneries, two taverns, four stores, a grist mill, sawmill, iron foundry, distillery, skin mill, school house, and a fulling mill. A fulling mill was place which involves the cleansing of wool to get rid of oils, dirt, and other impurities, and thickening it. Riceville was named after Oliver Rice who was a revolutionary war soldier and businessman. He built a clothiers mill in 1795 and ran the business until 1830. In the early 1800’s he built the Rice Homestead which still stands today.

In 1785 The Methodist Episcopal Church was built. Encountering some problems due to drunkenness, unchristian like conduct and the like some members were banned from the church. In 1823 the Presbyterian Church was built. Before 1840 there was a Quaker place of worship. The “Friends Meeting House” still stands today and is used as a private residence. Many churches formed and then disbanded throughout the years.

. The late 18th century Greek Revival was the home of a Civil War Captain by the name of Robert Shaw. Another true patriot He was also an abolitionist and community activist. He raised many companies of men whom he turned over for the civil war. He served with the 115th NY volunteers in 1862. He was injured in North Carolina spent five weeks in the hospital then returned to his regiment. He spent time as a prisoner of war. In 1865 he returned home . One of the slaves he aided in the underground stayed in the area and gained employment as a hotel porter. In the years that followed Shaw worked as a clerk, served as a supervisor, was active in Methodist church, co-editor, newspaper correspondent, and editor. His life was cut short by Brights disease in 1891. After his death the area he lived in became known as Shawville.

By 1878 there were nine stores in town. Mayfield incorporated in 1896 had 17 schools.
Unknown dates of history follows: At the end of Summit View road there was a tuberculosis sanitarium where patients could be treated and isolated. The mountain air was touted as a remedy for tuberculosis patients and many came to spend time there. And in Jackson Summit there was also reported to be a gold mine.

By Lorraine Frasier