THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


   NEWCOMB FIELD has resided in his handsome home and on his farm of one hundred acres for the past twenty-nine years. He was born in Oneida County, March 9, 1820, the son of Lincoln Field, who was born in Massachusetts in 1784, and died at Durhamville, Oneida County, in 1834. He was the son of John Field, who was a soldier in the Revolution, and for his services received a pension. He moved to New York State from Massachusetts about the close of the eighteenth century with his wife and seven children, making the trip by ox-team and covered wagon, bringing with him the sum of twelve hundred dollars in silver, which in those days was considered a goodly fortune. He bought three hundred acres of land, including the very site on which is now the village of Durhamville. He was a man of the strictest integrity and honesty, and an interesting incident of his traits of character is told in the following story. He was associated with one James Hulbert in raising a crop of rye; and when they came to divide it, by putting it into two separate heaps, Mr. Hulbert commenced to carry a part of his share over to Field’s heap, as he maintained that the latter had done the most work in raising the crop. But Grandfather Field sturdily objected to the transfer, and between the honesty of the one and the determination of the other they nearly came to blows. History does not say how the matter was eventually settled. This old gentleman was one of twenty-two children by one mother.
   Lincoln Field, the father of our subject, was the youngest of four sons; and his wife was Miss Fannie Newcomb, of Schoharie, N.Y., daughter of Rev. Benjamin Newcomb, one of the first Baptist ministers in the section. They were married about 1819, when Mr. Field was a sub-contractor on the construction of the Erie Canal, and his young wife did the cooking for sixty men employed on that section. Our subject distinctly remembers the celebration over the completion of this great artery of commerce. His parents built a log house on the farm, where Newcomb, their first child was born. They reared three sons and two daughters, and buried two children in infancy. Those living are: Newcomb; Harriet, wife of William Vroman, of Madison, Wis., a wealthy man, and retired from business; Ellen, wife of Charles Holt, editor of the Kankakee Gazette, of Kankakee, Ill. The father of these children was drafted in the War of 1812, but served only a few months.
   The subject of this sketch received but a limited education in the log school-house of his village; but he eagerly sought the best of reading, including extensive history, which he often read by the aid of his tallow-dip until daylight. He was a great deal with his grandfather, with whom he was a favorite; and many lessons of wisdom were learned by him from the experience of the old gentleman. He was but fourteen years of age when his father died; and he became the head of the family, and proudly claims that since then he has been able to maintain his credit and meet his debts.
   Mr. Field has been twice married, his first wife being Miss Nancy Briggs, of Massachusetts, a niece of Governor Briggs, of that state. She bore him one son, Romanzo L. Field, a farmer of Canastota, and the father of two daughters. Mrs. Field died in 1851, aged thirty years; and in March, 1862, Miss Melissa A. Ransom became Mr. Field’s second wife. She was born in Steuben, Oneida County, in 1824, daughter of Dyer D. Ransom, a Baptist clergyman. He died in 1850, aged sixty-four years, leaving a widow and six children, all daughters, of whom Mrs. Field was the third in order of birth. She has three sisters living. Her mother died in 1869, at the age of seventy-five years.
   Mr. Field has been a dealer in general groceries, and has always been a farmer. In 1865 he purchased his present elegant farm, for which he paid twelve thousand dollars. He has thirteen acres devoted to hop-growing, and averages on thousand pounds to the acre. In one year that was especially productive he raised two thousand two hundred pounds to the acre. He raised small fruits, and has a fine orchard of apples, pears, and plums. His dairy consists of about eight good cows. Mr. and Mrs. Field, although uniformly prosperous, have sustained a great loss in the death of their daughter, Fanny, a talented, beautiful girl, who was being educated in the Madison (Wis.) University. She was but twenty-two years of age, and had every promise of a long and happy life, when her untimely death occurred, leaving her parents almost crushed by this sudden blow. One other child remains, Miss Florence, who was educated at Brockport, N. Y., and resides at home.
   Mr. Field is a Master Mason, and has been an Odd Fellow. Politically, he follows and upholds the Republican party. He was Auditor for his town for one year. The family are adherents of the Baptist religion, and are valued members of their church, their daily lives being true evidences of the sincerity of their profession.

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