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Richford is a town in Tioga Countymarker, New Yorkmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 1,170 at the 2000 census. The town is named after Ezekial Rich, an early settler and benefactor of the town.

The Town of Richford is the most northerly town of the county and is southeast of Ithacamarker, New Yorkmarker.


Settlement began around 1808 when Evan Harris brought his family here. Samuel Smith was the first to settle within the present village site in 1813. The first tavern was built in the village in 1817 at the site of the Richford Hotel (now the Richford Quickway) by Beriah Wells. Ezekial Rich moved to the town in 1821 when he purchased the tavern from Beriah Wells. He established a glove and mitten factory, and later opened a general store. The town was first formed from the Town of Berkshiremarker as the "Town of Arlington" in 1831. In 1832 it changed its name to the Town of Richford.

Local oral history links several properties in Richford with the Underground Railroad.

In 1816, the Catskill Turnpike was brought through the village on its route to Ithaca bringing considerable traffic to the village.This was the dominant route into or out of the village until 1869, when the Southern Central rail line was completed between Auburnmarker and Owegomarker.

Notable Residents

John D. Rockefeller

Oil titan and founder of the Standard Oil company John D. Rockefeller was born in this town and returned to visit during the summer. The foundation of his childhood home is located adjacent to Rockefeller Road on land that is now part of Griggs Gulf State Forest, and is marked by a sign which designates the historical site.

Gurdon Wattles

Gurdon Wattles, known for bankrolling much of early Hollywoodmarker, was born in Richford in 1855. He moved to Glidden, Iowamarker following the Civil War.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 38.2 square miles (98.9 km²), of which, 38.2 square miles (98.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.05%) is water.

The West Branch of the Owego Creek forms the western border of the town while the East Branch runs along the eastern edge of the village itself at the base of Geer Hill. Several spring-fed ponds exist on the hilltops, especially at Clarks.

A large portion of the town is hills with many of the highest elevations (+1,400 ft) in the county. The highest elevation (1,994 ft) in Tioga County is within the town, an unnamed hill just to the north of the intersection of Creamery Rd and Robinson Hollow Rd in Robinson Hollow State Forest.

Richford lies on the southern edge of the snowbeltmarker, averaging . It receives of rain, and has, on average, 154 sunny days per year.

The western border is with Tompkins Countymarker. The north border is Cortland Countymarker, and the east border is Broome Countymarker. Berkshiremarker lies to the south.

New York State Route 38 (north-south) intersects New York State Route 79 (east-west) at Richford village.


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,170 people, 440 households, and 315 families residing in the town. The population density was 30.7 people per square mile (11.8/km²). There were 502 housing units at an average density of 13.2/sq mi (5.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.89% White, 0.17% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.09% Pacific Islander, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.77% of the population.

There were 440 households out of which 34.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.2% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the town the population was spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $34,130, and the median income for a family was $38,750. Males had a median income of $28,661 versus $23,667 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,331. About 12.4% of families and 13.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.5% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.


Annual Potato Festival

Named in honor of the Clarks Seed Farm, this festival is held every year on the third Saturday of September to celebrate the significance of potato farming in Richford's history. Arts and crafts vendors are available as are games and races. The event is known for its potato themed dishes including potato ice-cream, made by smothering french-fries in chocolate syrup and vanilla ice-cream.

Broome-Tioga Motocross

An AMA sanctioned dirt track located on the border with Broome County. The track host several events including moto- and sno-cross races, pulls, and demolition derbies, as well as classic car shows. The track is host to the 2008 Track Championship Points Series as well as one of the five stops on the 2008 Northeast classic.

State Lands

Richford has over of state lands, more than all other towns in Tioga County combined, mostly contained in six large state forests.
State Forests in Richford
  • Michigan Hill State Forest: Located east of the village and north of RT 79. Encompasses of wilderness area. There are no maintained trails. In several areas along Rockefeller Rd, the ruins of old settlements and farms can be found, usually consisting of old foundations and orchards, but the occasional uncovered well exists.
  • Griggs Gulf State Forest: Located adjacent to Michigan Hill State Forest, the forest encompasses shared between Tioga and Cortland Counties with more than of ungroomed trails. John D Rockefeller's birthplace is within Griggs Gulf on Rockefeller Rd. An unkempt nature trail built by a local 4-H group begins here and passes several old structures including a mill and other foundations.
  • Turkey Hill State Forest: Shared with the town of Berkshire, this forest is located East and south of Richford. Consists of of primitive woodlands with only of public access road. Extensive damage in the 2003 ice storms created large areas of early successional habitats that foster a wide variety of birds and other woodland creatures.
  • Robinson Hollow State Forest: just west of Richford. Many recreational facilities exist including of marked trails maintained by local associations, and a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail runs through the forest. The Kimmee lean-to maintained by the Finger Lakes Trail Conference is located here. A trout pond exists and there are extensive fishing areas along the West Branch Owego Creek. Many of the highest elevations in the county are within the forest, including the highest.
  • Beaver Dam State Forest: east of Richford on the border of Tioga and Broome Counties. Contains of maintained trails and a public access road.
  • Anderson Hill State Forest: just south of the village proper, west of Rt 38. The forest consists of managed woodlands that maintain a mix of early, mid, and late successional forests. A short (.5 mile) maintained trail exists that connects to a larger trail network in adjacent lands, and a forest access road is available. An access point to the West Branch Owego Creek is maintained within the forest.
The large number of state-owned lands provide for excellent hiking and motorized sports activities. Many 4-wheeler and snowmobile tracks criss-cross the woodlands on both state and private land.

Many great fishing sites are available in Richford. Native and stock trout thrive in the cold waters of both branches of the Owego Creek with some of the best areas in and around Richford. The NYSDEC annually releases over 10000 brown trout into both branches in Richford. Additionally, 200 rainbow trout are released into the Tri-County Pond.

Hunting is also popular within the town. All state lands are open to hunting and provide excellent habitats to large populations of deer, turkey, and other game animals.

Communities and locations in Richford

  • Dunhamville – A former location, south of Richford village.
  • East Richford – A location on NY-79 (Catskill Turnpike), east of Richford village.
  • Hubby Creek – A small stream flowing out from the south part of the town.
  • Richford – A hamlet at the junction of NY- 38 and NY-79 in the southwest part of the town. The East Branch of Owego Creek flows past the village.


  5. Griggs Gulf State Forest - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

External links

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