Town Of Deerfield
 History 

Deerfield Bicentennial Quilt

History

Town History:

In 1773,  George J. Weaver, Captain Mark Damuth, and Christian Reall and their families settled into an area now known as Deerfield Corners. In 1776, these same families, with the forewarning of a friendly Native American "Blue Back," escaped a pending attack by the Brittish on their settlement.  Their escape brought them to Little Stone Arabia, a small fort located in the present day Town of Schuyler.  Subsequently, Captain Damuth lived in Herkimer over the next few years.  George J. Weaver was taken prisoner near Herkimer by the Brittish and Indians and was removed to Canada and then England.  He was later released and returned to the area.

 

In 1784, all three settlers and their families moved back to the area of their original settlement.  Christian Reall built a log cabin on the bank of what is now know as Reall's Creek.  Soon after the original settlers returned, they were followed by Peter, Nicholas, and Geoge Weaver, distant relatives of the original Weaver family.  George Damoth and the Harter families also settled in the area.

 

In 1798, both the Town of Deer"s"field and the County of Oneida were formed by an act of the State Legislature.  It boundaries were from the West Canada Creek in the north to the Mohawk River in the south (present day location of the railroad tracks north of Union Station), the Town of Schuyler and Herkimer County were to the east, and the area near the current State Route 12 to the west.  The land within the town consisted of two primary tracts of land known as "Gage's Patent" and "Cosby's Manor."  The former, consisting of about 18,000 acres of land, was granted by King George III of England to General Thomas Gage.  The latter was 22,000 acres of land aquired by Governor William Cosby.  The first town meeting was held at the home of Ezra Payne.

 

In 1803-1804, Dr. Alexander Coventry came to Deerfield and built a red brick house on Walker Road.  Jacob Schermerhorn built the first house on the northern end of town.  The town hosted many businesses including cheese factories and a glass factory.

 

The hamlet of Mechanicsville (Brown's Gulf) was a thriving community on the edge of the Deerfield ravine in the first half of the 19th century, but later diminished due to the growth of a new city called "Utica."  The area later served as a Boy Scout camp.  North Gage was a bustling community on the northern edge of town, and Deerfield Corners remained a center for commerce. The Town of Deerfield also was home to many churches including the North Gage Presbyterian Church (North Gage), Church of the Holy Cross (Bell Hill Road), St. Peter's Church (Deerfield Corners), Deerfield Baptist Church (First Baptist Church, Herkimer Road) and many others.  Deerfield once hosted two Post Offices located at North Gage and Deerfield Corners.

 

In 1868, Horatio Seymour, was chosen by his party to be their candidate for President of the United States.  He lost the election to the popular Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant.  Horatio Seymour and his wife resided on the western edge of town on an estate known as "Marysland" (area of the former Marty's Jungle) and were active members of the Town of Deerfield.  Horatio, who also served as Governor of New York State, was known as the "Sage of Deerfield."  The homestead was destroyed by fire in 1962.

 

In 1891 and 1916, areas of the southern end of the town were annexed to the City of Utica.  The former was to accomplish the straightening of the Mohawk River, and the latter included most of what is currently known as North Utica.  A portion of the town was also annexed to become part of the Town of Marcy.

 

In the early 1900's, the Deerfield Tollgate became history itself, and the plank and macadam roads which were used in early transportation disappeared.  Horse Trolleys and Electric Trolley Cars were introduced as a new means of transportation.  Eventually, the growth of the automobile industry paved the way for modern roads and highways.

 

The Broadacres Tuberculosis Sanitorium became a part of the Deerfield landscape in 1926, accepting its first patients in 1929.  It was later used as a nursing home and demolished in 2008.

 

In 1929, Amelia Earhart made an emergency landing with her "machine" on Trenton Road during a storm and stayed overnight at her sister's house, who taught at the Country Day School in New Hartford.  In 1939, "Drums Along the Mohawk" was released as a major motion picture, documenting the life of the early settlers of Deerfield.

 

By the mid-1900's, television gained in popularity and in 1949 and 1969, WKTV and WUTR studios were built atop Smith Hill.  Dick Clark began his television career at WKTV studios in Deerfield.

 

In the 1950's, the town saw the addition of many new houses as part of developments, and on July 4, 1959, the Lion's Club Park was dedicated (now known as the Wilderness Park).

 

Deerfield also once hosted up to 11 school districts, most of which were one-room school houses, being replaced by the Deerfield Elementary School in 1963.

 

In the later part of the 20th century, Deerfield also became home to a shopping center (currently Bank of America) and a commercial corridor on Horatio Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Town History News:

Attention Veterans and Veterans Families

 

The Town Historian is looking information on our Deerfield Veterans, who served in any war, conflict, or military operation after WWII.  Any information would be helpful, including, but not limited to: Name, Address, Rank, War/Conflict/Operation, Station, Honors Received, Date of Birth/Death, etc.  Please feel free to mail or drop off any information to the Town Municipal Building or email it to the Town Historian (see contact information).  The information will be preserved in the historical records at the Town Municipal Building and a copy of the information will be given to the Oneida County Historical Society.  Thank you for your assistance.

 

Have an interesting Deerfield historical picture?

 

Please feel free to email any historical pictures to the Town Historian along with a brief description.  A copy will be added to our historical records and may be added to the town website.  Thank you.

Contacts:
Deerfield Town Historian
Joe Malinowski
Deerfield Municipal Building
6329 Walker Road
Deerfield, NY 13502
Email:
Phone: 315-724-0413
Links:
Oneida County Historical Society
The Oneida County Historical Society website features a historical clip on the Town of Deerfield.
Images:
Deerfield's Talking Street Lamp
The Cameron Covered Bridge
Church of the Holy Cross
Marysland Homestead of Horatio Seymour
Deerfield Horse Car
Deerfield Tollgate