Town of Plainfield
The earliest record we can find of white settlers in the town of Plainfield, is found in the "Old New York Frontier" published by Schreiber's. It places a "Squire Brown" at the forks of the Unadilla as early as 1724. The Indians drove him out the following year. Following the Revolutionary War, westward migration settled parts of the Lispenard and Schyler patents which made up the town of Plainfield. We have records of settlers along the Skaneateles Turnpike in 1793. Spooner's Corners and Lloydsville were among the first settlements along the turnpike. Plainfield Center was the largest of these settlements, it had it's own post office, schools, 2 hotels, a charcoal kiln, and several cheese factories as well as other shops. Edward Spicer was among the early settlers in 1796 in Unadilla Forks and when his young son died that same year, he started what we now know as the Unadilla Forks Cemetery. The town of Plainfield was established March 25th, 1799. The first gristmill was built by Caleb Brown in 1805. He also built an oil mill and a cloth factory on the east branch of the Unadilla River.
The influx of Welsh immigrants to the town of Plainfield began with Edward L. Morris in 1853. The area south of Plainfield Center became known as Welsh Hill. Many of the Welsh settlers found the land too harsh for dairy farming and grew hops. In 1869 the Welsh built a Congregational Church in Plainfield Center. A Calvinistic Methodist Church was built the same year on Welsh Hill. Services at both churches were in the Welsh language.
The town of Plainfield had 13 school districts, all of which were one- room school houses until the Unadilla Forks Academy was built in 1902. This academy, which included a high school by 1914, replaced the one-room schoolhouse in the Forks. By the year 1931 this school also became part of the West Winfield School system. The building is now on the New York State Historic Registry and was refurbished in 2011. The building is presently being used as a Court House and public meeting hall.
The buisness directory of the "Hamilton Child Gazetteer" in the year 1872-73 gives a listing of the dairy farms in the town of Plainfield at that time. These farmers sold their milk to cheese factories nearby of which there were many. This changed in 1895 when the Unadilla Valley Railroad was completed. This provided a market for fluid milk. Farmers transported the milk to stations at Leonardsville and River Forks in horse drawn wagons.
Waterpower made it possible for the hamlet of Unadilla Forks to flourish. The main dam provided the source of power for a saw mill, feed mill, grist mill, and carding mill. Unadilla Forks was home to a furniture factory and a cabinet factory which also produced rough boxes for burial as well as baseball bats. The saw mill provided electricity to the homes in the Forks before electricity was widely available. The 1868 map of Unadilla Forks shows a separate dam on the west branch of the river called Willow Glen. A factory was founded in 1850 and first manufactured cotton wicking and then steel hoes, rakes, and forks. This factory also made the handles for these tools.
The Unadilla Forks Fire Department was organized in 1913. The first fire house was at the end of Main Street near the monument. The present day firehouse was dedicated in 1955. The church bell served as the fire alarm until 1940 when the siren was purchased.
The present day town of Plainfield is primarily a residential area. The railroad stopped service in 1958. The Unadilla Forks Post Office, which was the last in the town of Plainfield, closed in 1967. The Forks Store is now an apartment house and the river is used only for recreational purposes. The Unadilla Forks Baptist Church stands at the center of the hamlet and is the last of the churches in the town of Plainfield.