Redding CT:Local Farmers, The
Edwin Gilbert Farm, Warrups Farm,
Old Farmlands you can explore, David
Starr Farm (New Pond Farm), Grandview
Soil and produce,
Fertilizers, Crop Rotation,
Tobacco, New Husbandry,
The Hessian Fly, Tools.
taken from from a historical sketch of the St. Patrick's Church
by Margaret Wixted, John V. Horgan, Paul C. Ringgold.
In 1875, Patrick
MacDonald, who was a successful farmer and whose home just
south of the church was also the site of early Eucharist celebrations.
Thomas Ryan was
the most successful farmer, owning at his death in 1903, over
250 acres of land on Church Hill and over into Hopewell. On
most of this he grew onions, a crop successfully marketed
in Southport by many local farmers.
Several farm families
in the early days sold butter, eggs, chickens, and vegetables
in Bethel, driving in by horse and wagon, once each week.
were a number of Catholic families in Redding by 1850, few
were property owners and most rented small houses, generally
from the farmer for whom they worked. It took years of saving
to buy some land. Often the young men and women were apprenticed
to work on nearby farms, for their "board and keep."
Wages, if any, were miniscule, but most managed to buy some
property eventually, something which would have been impossible
in the landlord-tenant system of Ireland.
(Let me note here that this is a sketch of Connecticut as
a whole and meant to give the reader an idea of the crops
that were harvested locally in that time period. I have found
little information with regard to the farming in Redding and
would greatly appreciate any information on the subject if
you would be so kind to forward it.)
General History of Connecticut' by S.J. McCormick
The following description is taken:
"The soil is various in different parts of the province
in some black, in others brown, and elsewhere red, but all
rich. Some plains are sandy and of a whitish colour, and they
produce rye, beans, and Indian corn. The meadows and lowlands
are excellent pasturage, and yield great crops of hay. The
hills and uplands have a rich, deep soil, but are subject
to droughts in July and August, which in many places are relieved
by water drawn from rivers, ponds, and brooks, in troughs
The crop of European
grain are always good, when the snow, which in general is
the only manure, covers the earth from December to March.
One acre generally yields from twenty to thirty bushels of
wheat; of Indian corn, from forty to sixty bushels on even
land, and from thirty to forty on hilly land; but it is to
be observed, that one bushel of it raised on hilly land weighs
thirteen pounds more than a bushel raised on river land. All
European grains flourish here, and the grass is as thick,
and much longer than in England. Maize, or Indian corn, is
planted in hillocks three feet apart, five kernels and two
pumpkin seeds in a hillock; so that, if the season prove favorable,
the beans and the pumpkins are worth as much as the corn.
If from an acre the crop of corn be twenty bushels, add beans
and pumpkins, and it will be equal to sixty bushels; so, if
there be sixty bushels of corn, a proportionate growth of
beans and pumpkins will render the product equal to one hundred
and eighty bushels. One man plants an acre in a day; in three
he hoes the same three times; and six days more suffice for
plowing and gathering the crop. For these ten days' work the
price is thirty shillings; and allowing thirty shillings for
the use of the land, the whole expense is two pounds, and
no more, while the corn is worth two shillings a bushel. The
gain is seldom less the 300, and often 600 per cent. It is
thus that the poor man becomes rich in a few years, if prudent
The face of the country resembles Devonshire, Gloucestershire,
Surrey, and Kent. The farmers divide their lands into four,
five, and ten acres, with stone walls or post and rails. The
roads from north to south are generally level and good; from
east to west hilly, and bad for carriages.
The various fruits are in greater perfection than in England.
The peach and apple are more luscious, beautiful, and large;
1000 peaches are produced from one tree; five or six barrels
of cider from one apple tree. Cider is the common drink at
table. The inhabitants have a method of purifying cider by
frost and separating the watery part from the spirit, which,
being secured in proper vessels, and colored by Indian corn,
becomes in three months so much like Madeira wine, that Europeans
drink it without perceiving the difference. They make peachy
and perry, grape, cherry, and current wines, and good beer
of pumpkin, molasses, bran of wheat, spruce, and malt. The
spruce is the leaves and limbs of the fir tree; their malt
is made of maize, barley, oats, rye, chets, and wheat. The
pumpkin, or pompion, is one of the greatest blessings, and
held very sacred in New England. It is a native of America.
From one seed often grow forty pumpkins, each weighing from
forty to sixty pounds, and, when ripe, of the colour of a
marigold. Each pumpkin contains about 500 seeds, which, being
boiled to a jelly, is the Indian infallible cure for the strangury.
Of its meat are made beer, bread, custards, sauce, molasses,
vinegar, and, on thanksgiving days, pies, as a substitute
for what the Blue Laws brand as anti-Christian minced pies.
Its skin, or shell, serves as a cap to cut hair by, and very
the Land (Methods, Tools, and Hessian Flies)
*The following was taken from www.mountvernon.org/pioneer/lite/farms
a web site dedicated to George Washington's accomplishments
in farming. The information listed below, describes in great
detail the methods and processes used by George Washington
and the farmers of his day. Unfortunately, there are little
to no records available on the exact methods used by Redding
farmers, however, it is my belief that the methods used by
George Washington were similar those used by the farmers here.
Two hundred years
ago, Washington and other farmers of his day knew nothing
about soil chemistry or the biochemistry of plant nutrition.
Jethro Tull, a leading agriculturalist of his day, believed
that plants had tiny mouths on their roots which ate the foods
in the soil. Tull and others observed that plants grew better
in loose soil, rather than heavy, compacted soil. Tull's "tiny
mouth" theory was a pioneering attempt to explain why
this was so. He thought that perhaps loose soil fit better
in the plants "mouths." If his theory was correct,
then loose soil was the key to better crops.
The soil could be loosened through two major methods: 1.The
use of farm implements, or tools, such as plows and harrows;
and 2.The use of manure or other fertilizers.
Through constant experimentation, Washington concluded that
cultivation and soil "amendments" were both essential
to better harvests. What kinds of fertilizers
did Washington use?
The organic content
of animal manure improves the soil, and its nutrients make
it a natural fertilizer. Washington built one of the earliest
stercoraries, or dung repositories in America. Manure fermented
there until it was ready to spread on the fields. Washington
also began the process of using fencing to pasture animals
on grass fields to provide manure in the fields and to fatten
It is believed
that Washington was using the dark mud from creeks, which
is high in organic content, and which would have benefits
similar to manure.
nutrients and organic material as they decomposed in the soil.
encyclopedias of Washington's time describe marl as chalky
clay. Chalk is calcium carbonate, or lime. Today, lime is
applied to soil to lower acidity, creating a more favorable
soil environment for many crops.
Plaster of Paris
is still chiefly made of calcium sulfate, which is also known
as gypsum. Gypsum is still used today as a soil amendment
that loosens heavy, clay like soil, without changing the pH
balance. Gypsum also adds calcium and sulfur, important elements
for plant growth.
and peas were plowed under by Washington to replenish the
soil. Today, we know that these crops helped add nitrogen
to the soil. Washington understood through experimentation,
that plowing under "green manures" helped improve
the productivity of his soil.
At a time when
most plantation owners were depleting their soil by overplanting,
George Washington devised a method of crop rotation designed
to improve the long-term productivity of his land. By rotating
crops, Washington and other farmers of his day believed that
fields would not become "exhausted" or the soil
depleted of nourishment. Washington coupled his crop rotation
with the use of fertilizers and new planting methods. Washington
was not the first farmer to use a crop rotation plan, but
he was one of the earliest to develop and apply extended plans,
some involving seven-year rotations of several crops, which
emphasized restoring the soil as much as production. This
is an example of one of General Washington's crop rotation
plans. The first year, he planted wheat. The second year he
planted buckwheat for green manure, plowing it under. The
third year he again planted wheat, followed by three successive
plantings of grass and clover. While the land restored itself,
he used the pasture to fatten livestock . The final crop was
usually corn and potatoes before the schedule was repeated.
No crop, except for grasses, was planted in the same field
two years in a row. As you can see, four years of each schedule
was planned to rest or restore the fields.
For many years,
tobacco was George Washington's main cash crop. Like other
farmers of his day, he grew large quantities of tobacco for
sale in England and Europe. By the late 1760's, however, Washington
had became frustrated by the system of selling and exporting
tobacco which entailed extra fees imposed by England. The
market price for tobacco fluctuated greatly, and American
planters also found themselves dependent upon factors, or
agents, in London to handle their business. The crop was also
very labor intensive to produce and quickly depleted the soil.
The trend by many farmers was to use the land until it could
produce no more and then to move on to western lands. Washington
was opposed to the practice of using land until the soil was
unproductive and then clearing more fields. By the mid-1760's,
Washington decided to make wheat his main cash crop. England
was still a primary market, but the crop could also be sold
in the West Indies as well as home in Virginia and Maryland.
If prices were bad, the grain could always be used to feed
his family, slaves, and livestock. Wheat was less labor intensive
to produce and allowed the slaves to be employed elsewhere
on the plantation. Coupled with his careful crop rotation
plan, Washington hoped to ensure that the Mount Vernon lands
would remain productive for years to come.
By using many of
the principles and practices of the "new husbandry,"
George Washington re-made his farming operation at Mount Vernon.
He began to grow wheat as his main cash crop, experimented
with the use of fertilizers, grew corn and potatoes for his
family and slaves to eat, and grew buckwheat to plow under
to improve his fields. He also developed a sophisticated 7-year
crop rotation plan, and changed his plowing to reduce erosion.
Through his experiments and new farming practices, Washington
was trying to farm in a way that would restore the productivity
of the land and provide a steady, reliable source of income.
Method New Husbandry
the top few inches of soil.
of 8-10 inches to mix topsoil and subsoil and frequent harrowing
to keep soil loose.
Use of fertilizers
to improve the texture and make-up of the soil.
by scattering it on tilled soil.
or "drilling" seed in holes or furrows laid out
in regularly spaced rows for better weeding and for inter-cropping
with other crops to make fields more productive.
to control weeds.
drawn by animals between rows to remove weeds.
by letting it lie fallow, or unused every few years.
land by planting grasses and clover on fallow fields on which
animals grazed helped fertilize soils.
In the late 18th
century, the Hessian fly was perceived as a major threat to
wheat crops across the northern eastern seaboard of the United
States. The larvae of the fly sucked the juices from green
wheat and ate the leaves, ruining the plant. The fly first
appeared on Long Island and was given its name because many
people thought that it had been brought to this country by
Hessian soldiers who fought in the American Revolution. Due
to the problems caused by the fly, many American farmers stopped
growing wheat altogether, which George Washington thought
was a mistake. In December, 1789, he wrote to Samuel Powell
advising that farmers grow yellow-bearded wheat which was
more resistant to the ravages of this, otherwise, all conquering
life, George Washington searched for ways to improve his field
preparation and crop processing. He continually experimented
with the latest technology in farming. When he was unable
to find tools to suit his needs, he took the initiative to
adapt machines already in existence or to invent his own machine.
He invented a plow, adapted a barrel seeder, and designed
a machine to sow turnips. Perhaps his biggest and most innovative
design was the 16-sided treading barn that he designed and
had built at his Dogue Run Farm. As a proponent of the new
husbandry, Washington believed in the methodical cultivation
of soil before planting. New husbandry encouraged extensive
cultivation, which led to the use of more sophisticated tools
and implements. Cultivating basically means preparing the
soil for planting and caring for the growing plants. Tools
used in the process were designed to turn and loosen the soil,
break up clods, and create level fields for planting, as well
as spread fertilizer, and weed. What tools did George Washington
A cultivator was
a broad, shovel-shaped plow pulled by a horse or mule between
rows of growing plants to loosen the earth and destroy surface
A harrow was a
wooden frame with projecting spikes. As it was pulled over
a field, it broke up clumps of dirt left after plowing. It
was also used to drag dirt over newly sown seeds.
Have you ever used
a hoe in your garden? Hoes were used by Washington and other
farmers to cut up weeds and prepare soil for planting. Hoeing
breaks or divides the soil while plants are growing. Hoeing
before and after planting produces a better crop because weeds
are destroyed and the soil continues to be replenished.
The shovel plow
was used between rows to create furrows between the growing
crops, and to destroy weeds.
were wooden rollers with spikes of iron. The machine had a
seat placed on top from which a "driver" directed
a team of strong oxen. Oxen were needed to pull the machine
because it weighed almost a ton! One of the main purposes
of this tool was to further break up clumpy soil to make it
finer for planting. This tool worked better and was less labor
intensive than hand hoeing.
a barrel seeder to allow for planting seeds in regular rows.
The machine was actually a combination plow and seeder. The
seed was placed in a revolving cylinder, perforated with holes,
which was pulled along behind the plow. As the barrel revolved,
the seeds were shaken out through the holes. Through experimenting
with the process, Washington amended the design so that the
bore of the holes in the barrel were funnel-shaped making
it less likely for the seeds to jam. He also was very specific
in his directions that the barrel must not be too full or
the seeds would block the holes.
Dung forks looked
like long pitch forks. They were used for spreading dung,
or manure, over fields to fertilize the soil.
Used to harvest
wheat and other grains, cradles were cutting tools with rods
or "fingers" attached to a scythe. They were swung
in a back and forth motion to cut grain crops. The fingers
caught the crop as it was cut, allowing it to be gently placed
on the ground in a loose pile. In this way, not as much of
the grain was lost during cutting.
This was a hand-powered
fan that blew the chaff and other light trash out of wheat
after it had been threshed or treaded.
Flails were hand
tools used to thresh grain. They consisted of a long wooden
handle attached by leather straps to a shorter, stouter stick
that could swing freely. While holding the handle firmly,
the shorter end was swung down to beat the grain.
Rakes were used
for gathering cut grass and hay. Rakes were also used to gather
cut wheat so it could be bound.
A long curving
blade attached at an angle to a short handle. Reap hooks were
cutting tools used for harvesting wheat, rye, and other grains.
A large wooden
scoop-like shovel which was used to collect grains of wheat
from the treading area and put them in storage barrels or
bins. The shovels were made of wood rather than metal so they
would not create sparks which could start a fire.
A riddle was a
coarse sieve used to sift chaff and debris out of threshed
* Here ends the information compiled from
the George Washington site.
Connecticut Agricultural College owned a farm in Redding?
'Connecticut Agricultural College: A History' by Walter Stemmons
(1931) mentions Edwin Gilbert's donation to the college on
first important bequest to come to the institution was contained
in the will of Edwin Gilbert of Georgetown. The following,
from the New Haven Register of May 6, 1906, under a Storrs
dateline, is representative of the first reports of this gift:
Edwin Gilbert of Georgetown, this state, who
died in Crescent City, Florida, February 28, had been much
interested in the work of the Connecticut Agricultural College,
(Now UCONN) and under the terms of his will the college will
receive a bequest of $60,000.00 besides Mr. Gilbert's large
farm with its stock and buildings."
Times, March 7, 1906:
$250,000 to Institutions: Edwin Gilbert Left
$60,000 to Maintain a Model Farm (in Georgetown):
Conn. March 6- Announcement was made here tonight of public
bequests totalling over $250,000 provided for in the will
of Edwin Gilbert, President of the Gilbert & Bennett Manufacturing
Company, who died last week in Crescent City, Fla. The "model
farm" given to the Connecticut Agricultural College,
is to get $60,000; Northfield Seminary, Northfield, Mass.,
$25,000; Mount Hermon School, Mount Hermon, Mass. $25,000;
Georgetown Public Schools, $15,000; Life's Farm at Branchville,
$15,000; and Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Ala. $10,000..
above information was compiled and forwarded by Ms. Betsy
Pittman of the Thomas Dodd Research Center. The $60,000.00
was actually 1,200 shares of G&B Capital Stock worth
$60,000.00. The college could only use the dividends of these
shares... they could not sell the stock.
Full History of the Gilbert Farm. Revised by Brent M. Colley
*The information below was revised
with the help of an rare copy of The Connecticut Farmer from
1910 which was forwarded by Mr. Paul Scribner of Georgetown...I
can't thank him enough.
1721 Robert Rumsey of Fairfield bought of John Applegate a
large tract of land known as the Applegate long lots. In 1724
he willed it to his three sons Robert, Benjamin, and Isaac,
who built homes on the tract. Isaac built on the hill in front
of where the Aaron Osborn house stood. The location of the
Aaron Osborn house was across the street from the present
driveway of the Meadow Ridge Facility which would make the
house that Isaac built the first documented building on this
tract of land.
complete and verifiable list of property owners from 1724
to 1800 is not available but it is known that Thaddeus Perry
settled in this area and by way of marriage Elias Bennett
(he married Mary, the daughter of Thaddeus Perry), received
land on this ridge in the early 1800's thanks to the writings
of his descendant Wilbur F. Thompson. Sturges Bennett, Eli's
son, inherited the land (now known as Goodsell's Hill) and
employed Ezra Brown to work his farm there. It was originally
thought that Edwin Gilbert received the farm from Bennett
when Sturges passed away in 1876 (the reason being Bennett
was a brother-in-law and partner at G&B). However, recent
discoveries have uncovered the truth. The Gilbert Farm was
actually three farms Edwin Gilbert purchased between 1894
& 1895. In addition to the Bennett farm of 90 acres which
Gilbert purchased from Edward Schultz, two other adjoining
farms were also purchased: Hog Ridge Farm (50 acres) and John
Hohman's Farm (216 acres). The three farms along with additional
property acquired later were consolidated in 1903 to total
the 365 acres willed to the Connecticut Agricultural College
story of how Gilbert Farm came to be
the age of 80 when he had relinquished some of the active
duties of his successful business, and had more time to read
and think, he became interested in Connecticut agriculture.
He thought about the agricultural conditions of his boyhood
days, when the hills of Weston and Redding were covered with
cattle growing into beef. Connecticut had grow into a manufacturing
state, and the population to be fed had multiplied many times
over. Yet the Connecticut farmer did not prosper, instead
he purchased his beef like everyone else - from the butcher.
Beef was shipped to Connecticut thousands of miles from the
west by railroad. With western farmers complaining freight
costs were higher than what they received for their beef and
Connecticut farmers complaining about the high cost of beef.
Gilbert found this to be all wrong. "Hundreds and hundreds
of acres of good grazing land lying idle in Connecticut and
we are paying the railroad companies for the meat we eat.
Why not use these pastures, raise grass and corn on these
hills and produce the best beef at the market's door?"
corresponded with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the
experiment stations, studied their reports and decided 'I
will do it. I will show the farmers of southwestern Connecticut
how to raise beef as good as can be bought in any market.'
He bought three cheap farms on Hog Ridge, built barns that
would accommodate one hundred head of cattle, and two large
silos. He started a herd of Hereford cattle and encouraged
a force of 30 men to improve the farm. Arthur J. Pierpont
visited him in 1895 and Gilbert remarked: "Mr. Pierpont,
there's lots of money in farming, but so far, I have found
that it has been all on the left-hand side of the ledger."
Gilbert became very enthusiastic over is cattle, swine and
crops. Having learned of the Connecticut Agricultural College
he sent for the president and trustees to visit him. He realized
that he was an old man that had undertaken a grand project
and was anxious to ensure the work he had started would continue
after his death, he asked the trustees if they would accept
his farm, with stock and tools, and maintain it as a practical
farm to help the local farmers.
trustees replied that they were interested in agricultural
education and would do the best they could with whatever was
placed in their hands, but could not divide the Storrs institution
or teaching force, nor use state or government funds at Gilbert's
Farm seeing those funds were appropriated for use at Storrs.
Edwin Gilbert passed away in February 1906, The Gilbert Farm
and property was willed to the Connecticut Agricultural College
(The Connecticut Agriculture College would later become UCONN).
Under the terms of his will the college received 1,200 shares
of G&B Stock in addition to Mr. Gilbert's large 365 acre farm
with all its *stock and buildings. *There were about 70 head
of cattle, 40 pigs and five caretakers.
Gilbert Will provided that the property could not be sold
but must be maintained as a farm for instruction in practical
agriculture...The company stock was off limits too: "....
I do further give to said college 1200 shares of the capital
stock of The Gilbert and Bennett Manufacturing Co. Said stock
not to be sold and the income (stock dividends) thereof devoted
to the care of the real estate herein devised, and instruction
in the science of farming as taught by said college, and especially
the raising of and caring for livestock."
committee of trustees composed of G.S. Palmer, L.J. Storrs
and A. J. Pierpont undertook to organize the farm along the
lines contemplated by Mr. Gilbert. According to Arthur J.
Pierpont this was not a decision made overnight:
was great consternation among the trustees. Can we legally
accept the gift? Just what did Mr. Gilbert intend us to do?
Are we to run an agricultural school here under the direction
of the agricultural college at Storrs? Are we able to carry
out Mr. Gilbert's desire? Will we not make a failure of it
and be severely criticized for having accepted it? Situated
diagonally across the state from the college how can it be
under the same management? In traveling from one place to
the other, one must pass through six counties, out of the
eight in the state. The trustees held meeting after meeting
debating what to do, but some stuck to the fact that it was
given to us in good faith and the only thing that we could
do was to accept it and do our best to carry out Mr. Gilbert's
will as we understood it. Therefore the gift was formally
accepted April 23, 1906 to be maintained as a farm and department
of the Connecticut Agricultural College."
Pierpont explains the difficulties they experienced early
on, the progress made and the plans for the future of the
farm in a Connecticut Dairymen's Association field meeting
speech at the farm on September 2, 1910:
were about 70 head of cattle, 40 pigs and five caretakers,
without a bit of hay or grain, not any income from the farm
and not a dollar did the college have that could be used here.
That was the first proposition we had to face. Here was a
state farm, that the papers had portrayed as a model farm,
neighbors expecting to see an agricultural school loom up,
watching our teams, cattle and crops, criticizing every movement
as "the way the agricultural college does things."
College authorities were supposed to be superhuman, infallible,
running a state farm for demonstration purposes yet as poverty
stricken as any young farmer ever started in business."
began selling off pigs, steers, oxen, cows, a few at a time
so as to pay the men, and feed the remaining animals, and
as the income thus received was used up, we had to let the
men go one at a time until only the foreman remained...then
he resigned." Whenever we bought , the price was held
high because the state was rich. Whenever we had to sell the
price offered was low, because it was the state and could
afford to sell cheap."
disposing of everything but the registered Herefords and the
cows that looked like good milkers, we borrowed a separator
and began selling cream to Mr. Hawxhurst in Norwalk, thinking
of all of the improvements we could make from the profits
on the cream. It reached him sour a few times and he decided
he did not like College Cream, and when he hears of the Connecticut
Agricultural College today, I presume it suggests to him sour
were living in anticipation of the August dividend we were
to receive. It came. The administrators took part to reimburse
them for the expense of maintaining the farm from Mr. Gilbert's
death until accepted by the trustees, and the state treasurer
took most of the rest as an inheritance tax. Of the 20 prize
steers, which Mr. Gilbert had purchased the fall before, at
$50.00 a piece, fed and cared for all winter, we sold for
$50.00 a piece in the Spring, eight were found badly affected
with tuberculosis, so we had our whole herd tested and 15
more responded. We have tested twice a year since and now
have a clean herd that we are proud of. After the test we
had cows enough to produce about 20 quarts of milk daily."
was reported that the people of Georgetown were bothered to
get enough milk, so Mr. A.B. Clark, a graduate of the college
who lived here by himself one winter, and was farm superintendent,
dairyman, herdsman, cook, and all the other titles, and I,
started out and canvassed the town, asking every housekeeper
if she was getting milk enough. Some gave us the cold shoulder,
some said they would want an extra quart on Thanksgiving Day,
and a few families that other milkmen for reasons other than
their own did not furnish were glad of a chance to trade with
us. The following morning Mr. Clark started out with a mule
and an antique sidebar wagon and sold twelve quarts. We were
very careful the first day not to ask anyone to trade with
us if they were being supplied elsewhere, and from that day
to this we have never solicited a customer, and have not lost
four dollars in milk bills in four years. With the rapid growth
in the population of Georgetown, they now demand of us nearly
200 quarts a day. The rest is shipped to a nearby city where
it finds a market at 12 cents a quart."
petition was sent to legislature by jealous milkmen and their
friends, to prohibit us from selling milk, but the consumers
in Georgetown, having children depending on pure milk, sent
in such a strong counter petition that the original petition
was never presented."
a year and a half of this struggling, worrying, begging, scraping
along without friends or funds, meeting one discouragement
after another, brighter days dawned. We received the second
dividend from our stock and the state finding us still existing,
returned the inheritance tax, and we were able to draw a long
breath, pay up our debts, and dream of putting the farm in
such shape that we would cease to be ridiculed by the neighbors
and to have to apologize for everything we had, and everything
we did. We could make a start towards fixing things so there
would be a little income, with a view to making the place
greatest annoyance was procuring water for the stock. We had
three sources: the bucket that hung on a rickety curb over
the well at the house, carrying in a pail from a spring below
the barn or pumping by hand from the pond. That pump would
require 24 hours running to supply the water we use at the
present. A little money and work gave us a never failing supply
of the best of spring water flowing through the house, barn,
and dairy, and the wind does all the work and we have all
the wind left that we need for other purposes."
purchased a few good dairy cows, raised a registered bull
calf from the college herd, have saved our best calves and
grown up the present herd."
L.C. Root (milk inspector from Stamford) objected to our keeping
pigs under the cows so we cleaned up the pig pens and used
them for sanitary milk rooms. You will notice in all of our
improvements the absence of show, we have endeavored to do
things right, with as little labor and expense as possible."
Gilbert Farm at Georgetown, Connecticut is a department of
The Connecticut Agricultural College of Storrs, Connecticut.
We wish to
make this farm a practical farm; a place to demonstrate the
science of agriculture as taught by the various departments
of the Connecticut Agricultural College; an exponent of new
agricultural truths, learned at the experiment stations and
taught by the agricultural colleges; a place where new up-to-date
methods advised by the stations, where trained scientists
are constantly studying to help the farmers, may be tried
out and reduced to practical working methods. I am not telling
you what the farm is, but what we hope to make it. A place
where the farmers in this corner of the state, which is a
considerable distance from the college or either of the experiment
stations, can bring milk to be tested for fat, bacteria, acid,
puss, ptomaine, etc... Learn about separators, feeding formulas,
tuberculin tests, common ailments of stock, seeding mixtures,
fertilizer mixtures, spraying methods and effects, sheep industry,
forestry treatment of pasture lands, etc..."
college at Storrs has trained experts teaching nearly every
branch of agriculture that is useful in Connecticut. We wish
to build up this farm not according to my ideas or those of
Superintendent Cook's or those of any other one or two men
but by the ideas and advise of the various professors at Storrs.
Prof. Garrigus selected and purchased the sheep; Profs. Beach
and Trueman have advised in remodeling the stable and dairy
plant; Profs. Stocking and Esten gave us the secret of producing
clean milk, which milk has brought renown to Gilbert Farm
at three milk exhibits of the Dairymen's association held
at Hartford. Last winter it was the only milk exhibited scoring
98, and the two previous years had far less bacteria than
any other exhibit. Dr. Lehnert testing the herd and showing
us how to eradicate tuberculosis. Prof. Wheeler surveyed the
farm and laid out the ice pond and road."
do not intend to enlarge the dairy plant further. We developed
that first, because the farm was nearer ready for dairying
than for any other branch of farming, and we hoped by that
means to bring about some income. This year (1910) we are
building a road to the village that will not exceed a 6 and
a half percent grade, so as to make the farm more accessible,
and a shed for wagons and tools. Then if we continue to receive
dividends from our stock we will be ready to take up beef,
pork, poultry, orcharding, forestry, etc... under the direction
of the various departments of the agricultural college."
how great value this farm becomes to the agricultural interests
of Fairfield County depends entirely on how much you demand
of it and how much you demand of it and how much you avail
yourselves of its resources. Mr. Gilbert gave liberally. The
custodians of the funds he left have caused them to bear much
fruit. The college authorities are anxious and willing to
do all in their power to help. The farm is now self-supporting,
and whatever dividend we receive will be devoted to permanent
improvements and endeavors to help the agriculture of the
state, especially this community. Making money is not the
object of this farm, but we wish to do things right. Visit
us often, criticize us freely, listen to our explanations
before condemning us. You may learn more from our failures
than our successes, and let us pull together for the promotion
of agriculture, and be proud of our calling."
management of the Gilbert Farm, has arranged for a series
of meetings. These will be held on the first Friday of each
month at the farm and will be a continuous object lesson of
the possibility and practicability of the appliance of up-to-date,
progressive methods and equipment. At each meeting one of
the professors from the Agricultural College will be present
to talk on his specialty, and to demonstrate what has been
done in that specialty at the farm. The next meeting will
be held on Friday, December 1, and H.L. Garrigus of the college
will talk on horses and sheep. A representative of the DuPont
Powder Company will also give a demonstration in the use of
dynamite on the farm in removing rocks and stumps, digging
ditches and sub-soiling.
Arthur J. Pierpont of Waterbury on September 2, 1910.
was one of the leading Dairymen in the state of Connecticut
and trustee of the Agricultural College.
is believed that the farm was in operation by the Agricultural
college up until 1916.
noted that: "The college continued to operate the
farm under the terms of Mr. Gilbert's Will but the farm school
idea was abandoned at the outbreak of the war and was never
revived. Unfortunately the approaching war turned attention
to other channels."
has also been noted: "The trustees of Storrs, Connecticut
College and University of Connecticut, successively, have
found the property to be a white elephant on their hands.
Steps were eventually taken in the 1920's to dissolve the
all honesty the truth at this point is not known. Further
information on the farm's abandonment by the Connecticut Agricultural
College will be posted should it ever surface.]
and Robie pick up the torch
the farm's abandonment by the school, Edward Bigalo worked
the farm until 1925, it was in that year Wesley Robie of Wilridge
Road, revived the farm and sold dairy products to local residents.
"I did most everything, milking, feeding, and various other
things," said Mr. Robie, and he was usually up at 4:30 in
the morning. He ran the farm until 1946.
Moves in... Lindbergh Flies in?
land was sold in 1946 to Wetz & Zerweck Corporation of New
York, who later agreed to rent the farmhouse to Harold Raynor.
Mr. Raynor first saw his house from the air in 1948. He thought
"It was a terrific place to land his small plane." As an aerial
photographer, he used the meadow as an airfield and his home
for his business of photogrammetry, the skill of applying
measurements to photography. Occasionally, small planes would
land in Mr. Raynor's field, in an emergency or simply his
pilot friends dropping in for a visit. He claimed that on
May 9, 1922 Charles Lindbergh landed there because of a mechanical
problem. [*This "legend" now has an answer thanks
to the research of Grady Jensen...he actually landed on Picketts
Ridge in West Redding.]
total area of the property was 255 acres, 87 in Weston and
168 in Redding. In 1967, 125 acres of the Redding land were
zoned for industry.
Commercial Landowners Take Over
next land transfer was in 1973 from Welt & Zerweck to the
Las Olas North Company whose principal partner was John R.
Bartlett, who was the developer of the adjacent Fairview Farms.
Barwil, Ltd. Was added to the list of owners in 1974.
Edwin K. Trustee of Westport bought the property in 1978 .
The property was transferred to Georgetown Properties in 1982
for the construction of Glendinning's corporate headquarters
and development of five other lots for corporations to rent.
Georgetown Properites had broken ground in 1980 so they were
likely affiliated with the Trust company in some capacity.
Mr. Raynor continued to live at his home despite the construction
on the property and was there until the 1980's.
1984 Perkin Elmer Corp. bought the property for the construction
of its headquarters and we all know who the current land owners
are ...Meadow Ridge has a beautiful facility on the farm land
of the Farm are here.
Articles on the Property
Please keep in mind these
articles were likely written without the knowledge of the
Connecticut Farmer information quoted above.
Bennett Lands from the Bulletin, Wilton, CT March
note: The following is excerpted from Georgetown and Its
People, a history written and compiled by Irene Baldwin
in 1965 as part of a research project for a course at the
then Danbury State Teachers College. Mrs. Baldwin quotes extensively
from articles written in the early 1920's by Wilbur F. Thompson,
who grew up in Georgetown in the 1860's. Some references to
time date from 1920, and not 1965 or 1987. This history appeared
in The Redding Pilot, the Bulletin's sister paper,
One hundred years ago there was in almost every house a loom
for weaving cloth. The women of the home wove the woolen and
linen cloth used in those. One day, Post Bennett brought home
from Bridgeport a quantity of what he called cotton yarn.
asked his wife if she could put up a warp on it on her loom
and weave him cloth for shirts. She wove the cloth and made
it into shirts and other articles of clothing. This was the
first cotton cloth ever woven in the state. The Perry family
were all weavers-the first wire cloth made in this country
was woven in Isaac Perry's shop(he was the brother in-law
of Post Bennett) for Gilbert & Bennett Co. in 1836, on
a cloth loom.
Isaac Perry and his son George were both weavers. The shop
stood back of his house. this was the beginning of the great
wire cloth industry of Gilbert & Bennett Mfg. Co. of Georgetown.
In the year of 1816, known as the year without a summer, the
Post Rider wore his coat all summer.
The Perry and Bennett homes stood on the south slope of what
was known as Zion's Hill, now known as Goodsell's Hill. Their
land was originally part of the Drake and Applegate long lots.
It is now part of the Gilbert Agricultural School Farm.
In 1906, Edwin Gilbert, a Georgetown philanthropist/industrialist,
left to Storrs College (forerunner of the University of Connecticut)
his spacious farm lands of more than 300 acres on the tip
of the hill overlooking the town (the eastern part of Georgetown).
With it he also left all his live stock implements and tools.
His will provided that this agricultural experimental station
should be maintained and supported from the shares of capital
stock from the Gilbert & Bennett Co., which he headed
at the time of his death.
Unfortunately, the distance from Storrs made the operation
of the farm by the college impractical, and it was only operated
as a school of instruction until *1909. The trustees of Storrs,
Connecticut College and University of Connecticut, successively,
have found the property to be a white elephant on their hands.
Steps were eventually taken in the *1920's to dissolve the
*According to the Connecticut Farmer
the farm was in operation after 1910. The exact date/year
the trust was dissolved is not known.
above information was forwarded by Mr. John Sturges of Wilton,
the Redding Pilot August, 1980 "Gilbert Farm Flashback:
More than just a farm" by Valerie Bannister
years after the college discontinued instruction at the farm,
in 1925, Wesley Robie of Wilridge Road, revived the farm and
sold dairy products to local residents. "I did most everything,
milking, feeding, and various other things," said Mr.
Robie, and he was usually up at 4:30 in the morning. He ran
the farm until 1946.
Remnants of the buildings reflect Gilbert Farm's history.
A large barn, a mess hall for the college, and a grey dormitory
are slowly losing their identity as anything but piles of
rotting lumber and crumbling foundations. A small barn remains,
barely withstanding a weathering of 71 years, and in the middle
of the meadow lives Harold Raynor in his 50 year old farmhouse,
which remains in good condition with a spectacular view. Also,
there was once a watertank, said Mr. Raynor, but it burned
down one winter when someone started a fire underneath it
to thaw it out.
Mr. Raynor first saw his house from the air in 1948. It was
a "terrific place" to land his small plane and proved
to be a terrific place for other pilots to drop in.
The land was sold in 1946 to Wetz & Zerweck Corporation
in New York, who agreed to rent the farmhouse to Mr. Raynor.
As an aerial photographer, he used the meadow as an airfield
and his home for his business of photogrammetry, the skill
of applying measurements to photography. "I used to fly
a big Stenson" and, thereafter, flew "a Cessna out
of here" said Mr. Raynor. "In the wintertime I pushed
it up against a back window (to warm the engine) to get it
started in the morning.
Occasionally, small planes would land in Mr. Raynor's field,
in an emergency or so his pilot friends could drop in for
*On May 9, 1952 Charles Lindbergh landed there because of
a mechanical problem, said Mr. Raynor, and they "walked
down to the old man's Houghman's house" to use the phone.
"My Irish Setter was the only one in the family to meet
him," he said. Mr. Raynor kept the unexpected landing
a secret because his visitor didn't want the publicity. [*This
"legend" now has an answer thanks to the research
of Grady Jensen...he actually landed on Picketts Ridge in
On another occasion two young people flew across the Sound,
lost their bearings, and landed in Georgetown. They were convinced
they were over the Catskills, Mr. Raynor recalled. "Instead
of going along the coast they started inland." he said.
Unable to take off again, the two aviators had to leave their
plane in the field until the hay was cut.
One night in the mid-1950's around 8, while the Raynor's were
watching television, they heard the sound of an aircraft.
This one had run out of gas and it landed next to the house.
Eventually that plane was dismantled and removed.
Around that time Mr. Raynor and his brother drove cars onto
the field one night to shine headlights for a plane which
was obviously making an approach. The plane skirted safely
between the two cars, but the pilot did not see the lights,
said Mr. Raynor.
Mr. Raynor hasn't flown in 20 years and hasn't had any visitors
from the air in 15 years, but he can recall other stories
about aviation in his backyard.
The next land transfer was in 1973 by Welt & Zerweck to
the Las Olas North Company whose principal partner is John
R. Bartlett, who is also developer of the adjacent Fairview
Farms. The total area was 255 acres, 87 in Weston and 168
in Redding (including Gilbert's Farm). In 1967, 125 acres
of the Redding land were zoned for industry. The meadow now
bears the tire tracks of trucks; the first physical sign of
Georgetown Properties' construction of Glendinning's corporate
headquarters and development of five other lots for corporations
to rent. Georgetown Properties bought the property in 1978
and Paul Branch, Glendinning spokesman, said that construction
of the interior roads is scheduled for early November. He
said the company has also to work on lease contracts for other
companies, although he would not mention which ones. At this
point in the progress of the project it is "a question
of odds and ends and back and forth." said Mr. Branch.
Mr. Raynor will continue to live at his home despite the construction
on the property. He felt that Glendinning was a "nice
outfit for Redding to have...It will be an asset to the town."
*The above information was forwarded
by Mr. John Robie of Wilmington, NC
a historical sketch of the Methodist Protestant Church(Now
Georgetown Bible Church), Author unknown
(Edwin Gilbert) also *founded and left a good endowment to
the Fresh Air Farm, later known as Life's Farm. The superintendent
of that farm, Rev. Ursinus O. Mohr, a former pastor of this
church and his wife, for most of the time since 1899 were
in charge of this work which gave a two week outing to about
1200 poor city children every summer."
*It is not clear whether or not Edwin Gilbert
founded what would become Life's Fresh Air Camp. John Ames
Mitchell founded the Life's Fresh Air Camp. Gilbert did include
the camp in his will.
above information was forwarded by Pastor John Cardamone of
the Georgetown Bible Church.
of the land
was fortunate to have walked the farmland of Mr. Gilbert in
1996 which is no longer possible as it is now the Meadow Ridge
housing community. This land, a place my grandfather once
played football and basketball in his childhood, and worked
at for a summer in his adulthood, still contained rotting
pieces of farm equipment in 1996. It appears that the war
ended plans for the farm, however, my grandfather has told
me numerous stories of times spent there both working and
playing. Recently he told me that up until 1925 the farm also
provided water to the village of Georgetown. My grandfather
remembers that the Robie family that acquired the farm following
the agricultural college's stay, a man named Carl Lundstrum
owned a bi-plane and used the farm as his personal airport.
He would offer rides in it to children in the area, doing
fly-byes over Redding and for lucky individuals a lengthier
ride to Danbury Airport. It was not until reading Valie Bannister's
article that I learned of Mr. Raynor and his aviation adventures
at the farm.
special thank you to Paul Scribner of Georgetown, Besty Pittman,
the historian for the Agricultural College at Storrs, Pastor
John Cardamone The Georgetown Bible Church, Mr. William Robie,
now of Williamsport, North Carolina and John Sturges of Wilton,
CT for providing the articles and pictures of the farm.
Farm from The Redding Pilot "A Quarter Century
Supplement" March 26, 1992 "Farming Still Thrives
at Warrups, New Pond" by Constance Adamski
once a common way of life in Redding, has all but disappeared
today. Traces remain. Old foundations, and propery line walls,
remnants of old farming equipment, forgotten and rusted, are
found throughout the town's woodland areas.
the old ways are not entirely gone from Redding. New Pond
Farm Education Center on Marchant Road and Warrups Farm on
John Read Road are evidence that farming has not totally disappeared
and John Read
Sam and Betty Hill, owners of Warrups Farm off John Read Road
in Redding, recall that their 300 acres of rolling pastoral
countryside was originally part of a larger 1,000 acre farm,
owned by John Read, for whom Redding was named, and an ancestor
of the Hills.
farm, known back then as Round Hill Farm for the unique round
shape of the hill in front of the main farmhouse, was later
renamed Warrups Farm after Chickens Warrup, the Indian chief
from whom Colonel Read obtained the land.
farm came into the possession of the Hill family as a wedding
gift. When Jabez Hill of Easton married Colonel Read's daughter,
Betsy, they inherited this land. Then, when their son John
Read Hill, married also, he was given 300 acres of that land
to farm as a wedding gift.
Farm has remained in the Hill family for more than 100 years.
Well, almost a hundred, the Hills said. There was a brief
22 year span when the family lost it to outsiders.
Hill's great-grandfather, William H. Hill, foolishly invested
in gold stocks and went bankrupt, losing the farm in 1907
to public auction.
and mounted on the wall of what was once the carriage house
and a hayloft, now the Hill's farm office, is the original
auction notice dated March 27. It wasn't until 1929 that Mr.
Hill's grandfather bought the farm back for $100,000.
was a lot of money back then," recalled Mr. Hill. "All
the old-timers in town said that Ernest had more money than
brains," Mr. Hill said. "Did it for pure sentiment
the Hill family, who lived in New Rochelle, N.Y. at the time,
didn't move to the farm immediately after the repurchase.
"The plumbing was pretty rudimentary" recalled Mr.
Hill. Bathrooms were added to the main farmhouse in 1938.
Then a new living room wing was added. Still the Hills only
used the Redding farm as a summer escape place until 1960
when they moved in for good.
a new generation of hills runs Warrups Farm; Bill Hill and
his wife, Laura, assisted by the Hills' second son, Bob. Bill
and Laura Hill also live off John Read Road, about a quarter
mile past the farmhouse, in a brown saltbox style house near
graduating in 1977 from Ohio Wesleyan University, the same
college attended by his father and grandfather, Bill Hill
returned home to manage the family farm. A botany major, he
yearned to apply his studies to his work and soon pumpkins,
beans, lettuce and flowers replaced Scottish Highlander cattle.
Today only four of the long-horns remain along with one old
Guernsey that someone gave the Hills, 100 chickens, a few
geese, and 10 turkeys raised for Thanksgiving.
the current customer list of 2,000, the Hills sell hay locally
year round. In February the trees are tapped and the resulting
maple syrup is sold to customers in March. In the summer months
they sell fresh vegetables (pick your own except for sweet
corn), homemade jam and cut flowers.
Farmlands you can explore
Up on the ridge,
a large tract of farmland still remains much as it was, starting
at the four-way stop on Route 58 for approximately 100 yards
on the left and to the right as you make your way down Cross
Highway starting at the church all the way down to the Boys
and Girls Club. In 1867 the land was owned by E.A. Sanford
and W. Couch, a Post Office, store and hall were located and
perhaps operated by Mr. Sanford at the corner near the four
way stop (these buildings burned in a massive fire May 12th,
1879 according to Margaret Wixted).
Further down Cross highway on the left 50 yards past the blinking
light (owned by Geo. Osborne) is another tract and still further
down Cross Highway in the valley is a large piece of farmland
that covers both sides of the road abutting the Little
River (H. Sanford owned this tract).
Lonetown Road, with a rich history of farming has in addition
to Warrups farm( W.H. Hill's land in 1867), several open fields
just past the Redding Country Club (Land owned by B.B. Reed,
1867)which can be seen from the road up just before the turn-off
to Putnam Park Road. Let's hope they remain undeveloped and
beautiful. This hill owned by J.H. Lounsbury at the time may
be the ridge C.B. Todd describes Tom Warrup living on in his
'History of Redding'.The Lonetown Farm just past the Elementary
school on the left is a historical site that is still farmed
by town folk today.
Umpawaug Road is another great area to explore. On top of
the hill just up from New Pond Farm(a real working farm and
great place to visit with children) is a large open area that
now has mostly been developed, however, provides an insight
to the layout of these colonial farms. One can imagine
perhaps, the spaciousness of the farms by simply strolling
through what is left, observing the fields sectioned by stone
walls, and admiring the large trees that have grow along their
boarders. This is important to do as we are losing a large
amount of land to development each year despite the efforts
of the Open Land Commission.
Starr Farm (New Pond Farm)
Researched by Margaret
M. Wixted of the Redding Historical Society 1991
was settled about 1720 by several families from Fairfield
and Norwalk, who followed the "path" from Norwalk
to Danbury, over this hill, and on through what is now Bethel,
then to Danbury which had been settled earlier.
One of the earliest
deeds for this area was recorded in Fairfield in 1728, Vol.
4, Page 344 of the Fairfield Land Records. It read in part,
I Ezekiel Sanford, of the town and county of Fairfield,
in consideration of the natural love and affection I have
for my sons Joseph, Lemuel and Samuel Sanford, (do give) as
part of my estate, a parcel of land lying in ye peculiar between
Fairfield and Danbury at Umpawaug Hill, so called.....two
hundred acres" (this was unclaimed land, and there was
not yet a town of Redding.) He also said, "To Joseph,
I give one quarter part of 200 acres, which I value at 115
pounds; To Samuel one half of 200 acres which I value at 230
pounds; To Lemuel, one quarter of 200 acres, which I value
at 115 pounds, excepting ye house which lay son Joseph hath
built on some part of ye 200 acres at his own cost, which
my other sons namely Lemuel and Samuel shall have no right
This house appears
to be still standing, on the present Station Road. However,
the three sons bought more land nearby and eventually owned
most of the north end of Umpawaug Hill. They also built houses.
Joseph had married
Catherine Fairchild in 1724. His first son, Nehemiah, was
born in 1725. His other children were Elnathan, Phoebe, Ann,
Timothy, Joseph, Nathan and Stephen. In 1773, Nehemiah was
living in the house on Station Road, which presumably had
been built by his father, Joseph. That year, he sold the house
and farm to Aaron Barlow, a brother of Joel Barlow, the author
Aaron Barlow had
married that same year, Rebecca Sanford, daughter of Elnathan
Sanford, who lived nearby. He built a grist-mill on the Saugatuck
River. Rebecca's sister, Lucy Sanford (1759-1814) married
David Starr, a neighbor, in 1778.
This Starr family
first appears in Redding in 1772, when Thomas Gold of New
Haven sold 195 acres to David Starr of Danbury (Vol. 1, Page
213, Redding Land Records). This deed was as follows:"To
David Starr of Danbury, 195 acres at Umpawaug, bounded beginning
at an ash tree by a pole by the south side of a small brook,
and on the west side of the highway leading to Norwalk, said
pole being the southeast corner bounds of Gold's land; thence
south and bounded by said highway to the highway in Ridgefield."
This is obviously the intersection of the present Merchant
Road and Umpawaug Hill, the present Carmen Matthews property.
An indication of:
the age of the present house appears in a deed dated 1779,
when Elnathan Sanford sold to Aaron Barlow, five acres of
land described thus: side of the highway that leads from David
Starrs to John Picketts said land bounded beginning at
stones on the north side of the highway by my own land, 44
rods to stones; west by my own land 20 rods to stones by the
land of Timothy Sanford; south by Timothy 36 rods, to stones
by the highway; east by the highway 20 rods to the first bound."
So David Starr built his house between 1772 and 1779. This
is also verified in a deed dated 1802, when Starr gave Peter
Sanford a right-of-way to pass "from the highway vest
of my dwelling, to land Peter bought of me, lying to the north
end of my few with cattle horses and carts, when Peter hath
crops on his north lot that he bought of Huldah, wife of Timothy
Olmstead, of Ridgefield providing he shall put up the fence
when they pass through.
In 1807, David
gave his son,David 2nd and his wife Lucy, 21 acres of land
adjoining homestead. It is possible that David built in another
house on this land for him family of six children who were
Eli, David 3rd, Comfort, Anne, Aaron and Elnathan-Sanford
Starr. There is no mention of such a house which may have
been torn down at some point. Abigail wife of David, died
In 1807, David
2nd and Lucy sold 23 acres on Marchant road to Joel Marchant.
In 1812, following the death of his father David in 1810 (at
the age of 85), David sold 174 acres to Isaac Meeker, who
now owned the Barlow Farm on Station Road. (Aaron Barlow had
died of yellow fever in Norfolk. Virginia in 1880.)
Barlow, the son of Aaron and Rebecca (and nephew of Lucy Starr),
had been buying property in the area. He soon acquired the
property and the Starr house from Isaac Meeker, and made it
his home. Following the death of Daniel Barlow in 1850, the
Probate Court awarded to Daniel's son Joel, 98 acres with
the barn and cow house. Daniel had given Joel, in 1827, 8
acres and buildings, apparently the homestead.
Joel Barlow, son
of Daniel and Sarah Dimon, born in 1800, died in 1860. He
had married in 1821, Deborah Sanford, born in 1803, daughter
of Ephraim Sanford of the Sanfordtown branch of the family.
They had eleven children. Joel died in 1860. Deborah died
in 1885. In 1866, the heirs (none living in Redding)
agreed to sell the real estate of their parents.
In 1890, a man
named Henry Wallbridge of Danbury bought 125 acres and buildings
for $3,500. However, he lost it to foreclosure in 1899 to
James L. Blackman. who owned the old salt-box house on Station
Road and still operated the grist-mill.
In 1902, Blackman
sold 100 acres and buildings to professor Lucien Underwood
of Columbia University, who was a botanist and author. Following
the sudden death of her husband. Mrs. Underwood sold the property
in 1908 to Charles H. Plump of New York. Among other owners-were
Mrs. Mary Strong Sheldon, Walter and Margaret Jacob, David
Lake, and, since 1956, Miss Carmen Mathews.
announces Redding's New Pond Farm as Recipient
of 2007 Dairy Farm of Distinction Award
Commissioner of Agriculture Phillip Prelli, right, presents
Chris Casiello, the farm manager, with the Dairy Farm of Distinction
sign which will hang in front of New Pond Farm on Marchant
Road. —Maggie Caldwell photo
M. Jodi Rell announced that the Connecticut Dairy Farm of
Distinction Committee has selected New Pond Farm in West Redding
as this year’s winner of the Dairy Farm of Distinction Award.
F. Philip Prelli, Connecticut Commissioner of the Department
of Agriculture, presented the award at a ceremony today. More
coverage in The
Redding Pilot. More on the Dairy
Farm at New Pond Farm.
from "The Story of Connecticut" by Charlies
The success of
Grandview Farms, known throughout Fairfield County as one
of the finest establishments of its type, can be attributed
wholly to the efforts of its owner, George P. Williams, who
has managed and operated the property with distinction for
over a quarter of a century.
George P. Williams
was born in Bedford, New York, January 9, 1871, the son of
Isaac D. and Sarah E. (Waterbury) Williams both residents
of his native State, where his father engaged in farming.
Mr. Williams received a general education in the public schools
of this place and later attended the Bedford Academy from
which he was graduated with the class of 1888. During that
year he embarked on a business career, securing a position
with the A.S. Barnes Publishing Company. He headed the mailing
department of this concern and after it was merged with the
American Book Company, continued with the new organization
for for two years.
At the expiration
of this period he removed to Brooklyn, New York, where he
established himself in a wholesale baking business in a company
which he operated under his own name, which is credited with
being the first of its type to market paper covered bread.
He continued in this business for six years and then went
to the State of Massachusetts where he purchased a farm which
he sold a year later.
It was during this
period that he came to Redding and acquired his present establishment,
which he has developed into one of the finest in this section.
At present (1939) he owns a herd of approximately one hundred
and twenty-five cattle, works five hundred acres and leases
the remaining five hundred.
in dairy farming and markets his products in Redding, Danbury
and Bethel. Mr. Williams is a member of the Danbury and Bethel
Milk Association, and the Eastern States Cooperative Association.
In 1903, Mr. Williams
married Ada Mitchell and they are the parents of eight children:
Ada, George, Dorothy, Margery, Samuel, Richard, Elsie and
I thank former
Reddingite Shirley Limot very much for sending me the above
information about her Grandfather's farms-all the way from
The Grandview farms
were located on Route 107 and what is now Wood Road on Sunset
Hill. The farm on 107 sat upon the beautiful open field you
see to the left just past Dahlia Lane and the farm on Woods
Road was then on Sunset Hill (Wood Road came later), the farmhouse
still exists. Shirley added that the barn on the Sunset Hill
farm was beautifully constructed with exceptional wooden beams.
The daily milk
route stopped after WWII and the milk was sold wholesale to
big distributors. Both farms were sold in the late 50's.
to continue on reading about the landscape:
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