Friday, May 13, 2016

Benton-Simpson-Fleming-Turek Farm, Daniels Farm Road

The farm at the intersection of Daniels Farm Road and Simpson Brook Road (West Waterford) has a complex land history, explained by Josiah Henry Benton, Jr., in his 1901 book Samuel Slade Benton and His Ancestors and Descendants (Merrymount Press, Boston). Samuel Slade Benton (1777-1857) was born in Connecticut and probably left school to work near his brother Jacob in Walpole, NH, when he was about 12 years old. He married in 1802 in Langdon, NH. But in 1801, Samuel and his brother Jacob "went up the River about 90 miles and bought each of them farms ... my grandfather [Samuel] first went to Waterford as early as the spring of 1801. November 10, 1801, he bought fifty acres of land (being one half of Lot 8, Third Range) in the town of Waterford, Vermont, for two hundred dollars ... in the back part of the town. It was high, wooded land requiring much labor to clear and subdue for cultivation. On this lot he built a log house, to which is the winter of 1802, when he was twenty-four years old, he brought his young wife, Esther Prouty, then nineteen years old."

Benton proceeded to buy and sell portions of other lots, until he built a "home farm" of 200 acres. He also began a trading tradition from Waterford to Portland, Maine, and Boston, driving a four-horse team, carrying local goods out and returning with supplies. Neither his trading nor his farming was considered very profitable, but another farm that he purchased in St. Johnsbury, and lived on for a while, he sold at "a very large price" of $5,000 to "the Messrs. Fairbanks, and they afterwards erected upon it their scale factory."

Later owners of the home farm around 1867 moved the house to its current location and added the second story and kitchen. Clarence Simpson moved there as a small child around 1906 and later with wife Ruth ran the farm, bottling milk and farming 700 acres; the Flemings farmed there during 1943-1974; the Simpson family again in the 1970s, during which the large high-rise barn was taken down (foundation still visible, along with marks probably from the silo foundation); and then the farm was split into smaller parcels.

As of 2014, in addition to a large home (which began as a one-story Cape in about 1806), the farm includes four agricultural structures:

1. Horse barn.
(1) Standing at the road facing the house (behind the house to the left), a current horse barn that was probably built as an equipment shed. Style unknown. Publicly accessible. Concrete foundation, wood roof structure with corrugated metal, wings for possible hay storage, earlier chimney removed. Footprint about 20 by 20 feet.

(2) Sheep shed or pony barn, behind house. One of the older structures. Wood/clapboard exterior with concrete foundation and metal roof.
2. Sheep shed.

(3) Former milkhouse, now chicken coop. Behind house to the right. Cement floor, wooden exterior. Dates from when the high-rise barn existed.
3. Milkhouse, now chickenhouse.

(4) Pole-barn garage, at roadside.

4. Pole barn now garage.