Petworth started out in the 1840s as a lumber town. In 1861 their lumbering rights were taken over by the Rathbun Lumber Company. By 1871 the village boasted a population of 200 and included a hotel, two grocery stores and two blacksmith shops. However, in the 1870s, a group of farmers from nearby Verona, upset about their flooded fields and ruined crops, crept down late one night and blew up Petworth's dam.
Things had quieted down somewhat by the 1880's and Petworth's population stabilized at around 100. A Methodist church and school were opened around 1882. By 1905, Petworth had suffered a complete reversal of fortunes. Sixty years of steady logging had pretty much depleted the surrounding woods and the new railway took a turn eastward bypassing the tiny village. Petworth never recovered.
Today, Petworth is not completely deserted. A few older residents continue to live there along with a handful of newer residents who enjoy rural living. The stone walls of the old Stephenson and Lott mill are still standing, along with the blacksmith shop, a barn, several original houses and the one room schoolhouse that was closed in the 1960s. Newer houses stand amidst the ruins. Other original buildings are still in use as sheds, storage buildings and the like.