Merrifield Family
Submitted by Colleen Helmstetter
Huron Co. First Family Member #226

JOSEPH MERRIFIELD - 1817 - Pioneer

            JOSEPH MERRIFIELD was born on December 6, 1767 at Holliston, Middlesex, Massachusetts, to Joseph and Katherine Jillson Merrifield. He was residing in Leicester, Addison County, Vermont when he met and married his wife Hannah Esty (born July 15, 1769, daughter of Aaron and Molly Hooper Esty) in 1788. After their children were born, they moved to Brighton, Madison County, New York. After deciding to move to Ohio, JOSEPH'S son William and JOSEPH'S son-in-law Ezekial Sampson (husband of daughter Mary) came first, arriving in December 1816. JOSEPH and his son-in-law, Nathan Hoyt (husband of daughter Betsey) came in July 1817 and erected a log cabin.  The rest of the family arrived in December of that year. JOSEPH and Hannah's children are Mary (Polly), Betsey, William, Lydia (wife of Peter Kinsley), James, Joseph Seymour and Lewis.

From 1817 until 1822, the town was called Merrifield Settlement, due no doubt to the large Merrifield family. JOSEPH was a builder, making wooden plows, spinning wheels, sleighs, bedsteads, stands and pioneer cabinet ware. He taught singing on school nights. He was among the first members of the Baptist Church.

            Joseph died in New London on February 27, 1852 and may be buried at Grove Street Cemetery next to his wife. She died August 16, 1851 and is buried there. Her gravesite is marked with a stone.

LYDIA MERRIFIELD - 1817- Pioneer

            LYDIA was born in Leicester, Addison County, Vermont in 1797, the daughter of Joseph and Hannah Esty Merrifleld. Her father moved the family to Brighton, New York before settling in New London in 1817. She met her future husband Peter Kinsley while she was attending the school where he taught. They were married on March 12, 1820.

            Like most pioneer women, LYDIA concerned herself with her church and family. She and her husband were early members of the Baptist Church. LYDIA had lots of family in the area since she was one of seven children, all of whom moved to Ohio with their parents. Several of her brothers married, raised families and lived their lives in the New London area.

            In 1833, the family lived in a log house at the western end of town. It is said that an elm tree LYDIA had planted near the door became a landmark in the area.

            When her husband died in 1837, LYDIA was left alone to raise her children - Francis, James Hilarian, Edward B., Mary Lovisa, Betsey Ann and Seymour Charles. Times were very hard for the family; there was very little money left after paying the debts. She never remarried. She died at the home of her daughter , Mary Lovisa Belding on November 20, 1869 of old age - she was almost 73 years old. She is buried in Grove Street Cemetery in New London.