Smithville Historical Society

Founded: From part of the town of Greene in 1808

Hamlets within the town: Adams Corners, Buckley Hollow, Corbin Center, Dibble Corner, East Smithville, Lakeview, Lakeville, Long Pond, Smithville Center, Smithville Flats, Tyner and Wilcox Center.

Current population: 1,347 (2010 U.S. Census)

Notable people: The Tarbell family owned the largest number of Guernsey cows in the Northeast.

Interesting Fact: Tarbell Farms was once the largest producer of Guernsey milk in the Northeast. The Tarbell Estate – which covered more than 3,300 acres – was composed of five distinct farms. In 1961, the Tarbells were raising more than 500 purebred Guernsey cattle in addition to horses, swine, sheep and chickens. Prior to its sale in 1962, the Tarbells’ rich, creamy milk was shipped by rail to a number of high-scale restaurants in New York City. In 1967, the farms were torn down, although some relics remain as historical evidence of its existence.

Industry past: Hansmann’s Mills was originally a feed and flour mill. The original mill was built in 1809 by Nicholas Powell. After the flood of 1890 demolished a major section, it was rebuilt by Capt. Uriah Rorapaugh, a veteran of the Civil War. At that time, it was called the Genegantslet Roller Mills and sold feed, grain and flour. Much of the grain was ground into feed and flour using the waterwheel which was powered by the dam on the Genegantslet Creek. In 1912 it was purchased by Frederick Hansmann of New York City and in the 1920’s he developed a pancake mix which required only the addition of water, the first of its kind. It proved to be very popular and the business was continued by the family after Frederick’s death in 1940. It was finally sold in 1970 and the business was moved to Bainbridge.

Industry present: Agriculture continues to influence the economy of Smithville.

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