History of Agriculture in Kent

Now we’re back in town. Going east out 341, there was the Millard Stuart farm, formerly Steve Chase’s, the barn now owned by Peter Woytuk. Continue down South Kent Road, and the only surviving dairy farm remains: the Arno farm, owned by the Vagts family. (Tom Coons’ father ran it for many years.)

South Kent School had its own farm, too. Phil Camp’s family ran a farm on Camp’s Flat Road (the back way to New Milford, through Merryall), and Phil’s stories about growing up there are treasures.

Take a left off Camp’s Flat onto Geer Mt. Road, and the Morehouse farm dominated the flats before the road started uphill. There were several big farms on Geer Mt. – the Olsens, the Howlands, Iron Mt. Farm; then straight onto Jennings Road, where John Brown and the Jennings family had farms. The road now dead-ends, but my brother Rob used to ride his horse up there via the old road (Ten Rod Road, because it was 10 rods wide to accommodate so many switchbacks due to steepness) that ran up to Jennings Rd from 341 by the old Barn Shop. The Dick Jennings farm still had no electricity or running water when my brother visited Stub Jennings in the 40s.

Turn around at the dead-end on Jennings Road & go back to the intersection with Geer Mt. Road, and go left onto Flat Rock Road. The lands on both sides were part of Iron Mountain Farm (main house on Geer Mt. Rd) which was Griggs Irving’s family. Now most of it is in the Nature Conservancy – fantastic views). Treasure Hill (if you go straight at the end of Flat Rock) had several farms, but some were converted to summer camps or weekend homes in my youth. The Burnett farm was down Treasure Hill toward New Milford.

Ore Hill – the steep road that goes up (southeast) from the foot of Geer Mt. Road. There was the Spaulding Farm off the first steep part, on the right; up a little further, on the left where the Standens live, is an old Chase farmhouse that I don’t remember as a working farm, but the lands were extensive. The Benedict farm was located where Ore Hill Road turns to dirt (and eventually joins Treasure Hill Road).

Turn around there, and go back & take a left down Peet Hill Road – (the one-room schoolhouse was smack in the middle of the intersection of Ore Hill Road & Peet Hill Road – torn down in the 50s). I remember the Hoffmans, who were tenant farmers for the old Samuel Peet Farm (the big stone house is still there, on the right) – but I can’t remember who owned it when the Hoffmans worked there. Bill Litwin bought the barn on the left and converted it into a house (now Ann Bass). I think Hoffman’s house (also on the left) was razed. Further down Peet Hill was (is) Bud Chase’s farm – he & wife Caroline were part of Triple A Ranch group who played country music & square dances. Caroline’s family, the Smyrskis, also had a farm at the end of Peet Hill Road right before it joins West Meetinghouse Road (the New Milford end of Camps Flat Road).

In Kent Hollow, there were lots of farms: the two Camp farms on Camps Road – Art Camp and his brother Bill Camp. Gail Camp was a friend of mine; I used to visit her. Once they were butchering pigs, slitting their throats & hanging them upside down to drain the blood out; then they would scald them in big vats of boiling water and scrape the hair off; then they would split them.

(About then I threw up.) There was the Tanguay farm, now Rehnberg, which still raises steers; and the Devaux farms on Beardsley Road toward Lake Waramaug, one of which is now a B & B. The Anderson farm, where one can still ride horseback, was a working farm. The Langs had a big farm on the flats between Andersons and Devaux. The Kallstrom Farm on Upper Kent Hollow Road still sort of operates…pretty rocky real estate. On Anderson Road, which runs between Treasure Hill & Upper Kent Hollow Road (and the road where Patti LuPone built a house recently), the Slaughters had a farm. The Frank Davis family had a farm on Kent Hollow Road, up the hill toward 341 from the Anderson farm.

I can’t remember many farms along 341 from Warren to Kent – I think Charlie Davis’s grandfather, John, had a farm off Davis Road – one barn is now Todd Cole’s house. At the crest of Segar Mountain, there was the Segar farm, which was sold piece by piece. There was the Fred Ward farm by the reservoir, near where Jane Soule lives – and the Soules still farm a bit.

Along Cobble Road was the big Naboriny farm – again, much of that now the Nature Conservancy. Up Cobble Lane (once Bacon Road) was Katharine Evarts’ farm, where she raised Guernseys & Jerseys – milk VERY high in butterfat. She is Rufus de Rham’s grandmother; she’s 101 & in a nursing home. (Year 2000)

Up Route 7, beginning from Sloane-Stanley Museum (Kent’s old dump site, formerly Kent Iron Works) the Batstones had a little farm on the right – used to supply goat’s milk to my dad for his ulcer. Then there were the Naboriny and Evarts lands on both sides – tilled and lovely. The Gawels had a good sized farm with lands that went up Studio Hill Road; the farmhouse sits on the right on Route 7 after Studio Hill Road.

Joe Bianchi farmed where the Kennedys live on the left, going up Good Hill. At the top of the hill, there was the Frank/Phillips Peet farm – lots of acreage. There was a small farm beyond that on the right, Stoffels. Farther along, on the left, was the Berry farm, which ran from Route 7 down to the river. Most of it was bought by CL&P. That was where the next Town dump was (“sanitary landfill”, by that time). Then there was the Ramuten farm at the junction of Carter Road with Route 7; up Carter Road was not only High Watch Farm (which WAS farmed) but Carter Road Farm beyond it.

Along Bull’s Bridge Road – from South Kent School toward Route 7 – there was the Newton Farm that was a bit odoriferous from the sileage – Bill Newton still farms, but much of the acreage has been sold for a swanky new golf course. Then the Lindberg Farm on the left. There were farms along Spooner Hill Road, too, that goes from Bull’s Bridge Road over to 341 just before Arno’s farm.

Going south on 7 from town, the Casey lands were on the right, the Templeton lands on the left. Then came the Angelovich farm – Conboy Flats – where we used to have the Firemen’s Fair, and where the Saddle Ridge subdivision is located.

Then Hilda Carlson’s farm (house on left, barns on right – which was the glassblower place until recently. It is now owned by the Kent Land Trust). That was it for farms on Route 7 south, until Bull’s Bridge – over the bridge and to the left (road closed now) was the Harold DeWitt Smith farm, and beyond that, Bull’s Bridge Farm on the right at the first curve after Schagticoke Road. Then you get to NY State – it becomes Dogtail Corners Road, which leads past Hunt Country Furniture.
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