The township of Newport dates back to its first permanent settler, Christopher Hawkins. In 1791 Hawkins, a native of Newport, Rhode Island, acquired land on the east side of the West Canada Creek. The land was part of a seizure by the State of New York from the heirs of Tory sympathizers. Newport Town land on the west side of the West Canada was taken from the Walton Patent and from the Hasenclever Grant.
In March 1807, the township was formed from land in parts of Fairfield, Herkimer, Norway and Schuyler. Chritopher Hawkins was elected the first Supervisor.
Families from Rhode Island (Bowen, Fenner, Green, Willoughby, Wooster) moved to the township along with Irish settlers during and after the completion of the Erie Canal.
With its natural waterways, highlands, forests and meadows, Newport grew rapidly into a thriving dairy and lumber producing community. The township became a cent for cheese making, canning and milk condensing, cotton sheeting production, toolworks, and farm supplies.
In 1807 the Herkimer County Statistics book listed the township of Newport as having 199 heads of families. By 1875 the population had increased to 368 families -- 1790 people total. As of 2010, the Township of Newport population is 2,302.
By: Barb Curran and MaryAnne Evans
Copyright ©March 2011