In 1796 Jeremiah Smith, along with his four sons and two daughters, was among the first settlers of Winfield Township. Mostly Irish immigrants and Revolutionary War veterans followed in settling the Township. Some of these settlers were the Cruikshanks, Cyphers, Jones, Fairs, Johnstons, Hazletts and the Kennedys. In 1806 a sawmill was built along Rough Run, a gristmill was built in 1809, and a flour mill was constructed in 1817.
From these beginning years, Winfield Township has been an industrialized area. Industries, such as grain milling, coal and limestone mining, carbon black manufacturing, quarrying sandstone, an old powder mill, and an iron furnace to smelt ore, sprang up throughout the Township. The mining of limestone became the most common business in the area. F.W. McKee, who owned the largest limestone mine of kits kind in the world, established one of the only company town in the area, which was West Winfield.
The company town of West Winfield became a booming town. There was a community brass band. The F.W. McKee Company had a general company store, which set up on payday and allowed the employees to deduct their purchased from their paycheck. Other stores also operated. There was the Hutzler and McCarren store. Donaldson’s operated a general store and Jacob Schwartz operated a clothing store. The town was divided into two sections, separated by the railroad tracks. Above the tracks lived those of European ancestry, while the recent immigrants lived below the tracks. These types of company towns later diminished with the development of modern travel.
Another small town is that of Cabot. Cabot was founded in 1806 near the Bear Creek. The town was first founded by Frederick Doerr. The settlement was originally called Carbon Black, due to the carbon black manufacturing. The post office was later changed from Carbon Black to Cabot in 1907. Dr. Godfrey Lowell Cabot, who the town was later named for, founded the Cabot Academy, which was the first in the area. He also purchased the Lamp Black Works and when the natural gas supply dwindled so that he could no longer operate profitably, he later left. Cabot is still operating today.
The first school to appear in the Township was probably on the Robert Smith farm around 1815. The first teacher in this school was Isaac Lefevre. The second established school was on the Cypher farm. Other schools that were functioning in the Township at one point or another were Denny’s Mill, Hesselgesser (Sells), Cabot I, Cabot II, McLaughlin (Keasey Road), Center, Gravatt (Star Grill), Freehling (Bicker Road), West Winfield I, and West Winfield II. In 1923 a high school was opened in Cabot, In 1925, two years after it opened, the school became known as the Winfield Township High School. Later after completion of Knoch High School, Winfield High School was converted to an elementary school as part of the South Butler County School District.
Winfield Township, with all its growing demands, desires to meet the needs of the future. For over two hundred year, since its inception in 1796, this Township has been a part of the rich history of Southern Butler County. We will continue to grow was new businesses and families move into the area. The members of the community hope that Winfield Township will continue and prosper for another two hundred years.