One of the wonderful things about living in NH is that we are part of a rich historical heritage. It's amazing to think that our little state was part of the beginning of the US.Even more amazing is knowing that my son gets to claim some of this heritage as his own-Rick's 10th great grandfather Rev Stephen Bachiler was the founder of Hampton,NH,and his 10th great grandfather Edward Hilton founded the town of Dover,as well as some various cousins who founded the towns of Deerfield and Loudon. His 10th great grandfather Joshua Pratt came over on the Anne,the third ship after the Mayflower. Needless to say, NH roots run deep in Rick's ( and now Zach's) family. 1620 something makes for mighty long roots.
I cannot claim such a lineage,since my ancestors arrived here from Canada starting in the 1870's,and I am a third generation America on both sides of the family. However,I have always had a deep love of NH and it's history. We were born here,and here we will die.
This brings me to the story behind my post today. One of the oldest families in NH,the Tuttles,arrived in Dover sometime in the late 1620's-early 30's.John Tuttle arrived in this country with a land grant from King Charles II and in 1632 began the oldest continuously operated family farm in America ( this has been challenged,but I stand by the Tuttles). I have driven by the Tuttle farm many times,seen it's large corn field green and waving in the breeze,stopped at the farm stand and purchased delicious fresh produce. It is a wonderful part of our state heritage,and a great example of the family farm.
Sadly,three years ago the family decided to put it up for sale. I cannot imagine that this was an easy decision to make. It would've been up to the new generation of Tuttles to run the farm,and it would've required all hands on deck. A farm of this scale ( now 197 acres,at peak 240) is a massive undertaking and if all hearts are not into it,it would not work. I personally don't know if I could have borne the thought of selling something that was in the family for 10 or so generations,and all the sweat and hard work that each generation put into that land.The very thought makes me sick to my stomach and I am sure that they have had many,many sleepless nights.I don't envy having to make such a decision.
The farm has been sold to a gentleman from MA who has run a successful farm for about 30 years and who wishes to keep it a farm. I was very happy and grateful to hear that the land cannot be broken up and sold off into condos,etc,which was what I automatically thought of when I first started reading about the sale. It seems like many family farms tend to be sold off and then dismantled,which I find incredibly sad. I am very glad that if the Tuttles had to sell it,at least they sold it to someone who understands the importance and value of this farm to the community.
You can read more about the Tuttle Farm here. It's a quick Wikipedia article but it's current and the facts are indeed correct.( If you wish to read more articles,just type in Tuttles Farm,Dover NH into your search box.)
Do you have any local farms that have been sold? Have they been kept going,or have they been put aside for "progress?"