(The following was written 12/06 by easement donors Rachel and Myron Rosenblum.) "The Farm" has been a central focus in the life of our family since we purchased it from Kenneth Huberman in 1984. But for the last 200-plus years, the history of this place has been rich and varied, and in many aspects reflects the changes in the New Hampshire countryside over the centuries.
Aside from the documentation available in historical deeds, the most important primary source of information about the Farm is a letter written in 1914, by F.W. Flanders, then in his 85th year. He had been born on the Farm, one of several children in a family which had occupied the land since the late 18th century. His father, Caleb Flanders, had bought the land (actually, he bought it twice – but that is another story . . .) and over time proceeded with the enormous task of cutting woods, clearing meadows, building stone walls, building and later enlarging the family home, building a three-story barn and out-buildings. By the time that Mr. Flanders was a boy, the Farm was a thriving place, becoming "one of the most productive farms in town. I have seen 80 tons of hay in that barn, 200 bushels of corn, 75 bushels of wheat, 200 bushels of oats, 100 bushels of potatoes, and many more of apples, all grown in one season." It appears from remnants of apple trees in the current forest that these trees were planted in 20 acres of the northern meadows of the property. Local people recall large apple crops as recently as the early 20th century, after which the property as a whole was essentially uncared for and fell into disrepair.
In 1961, Kenneth and Bernice Huberman, owners of Camps Kenwood and Evergreen on Eagle Pond, were searching for a retirement home in the Danbury area. They came upon this property on Spear Hill Road and, despite its run-down condition, bought it for the wonderful views north to Cardigan and northeast into the White Mountains. Some poking into the plaster ceiling and under the linoleum floors revealed large hand-hewn beams and wide-planked hand-planed pine floors. This and more prompted them to restore the house, a job undertaken with little experience by the local craftsmen – and many resulting detours. The house today is, in the main, their restoration, augmented by an addition built by us in the style of the original.
The Hubermans were part of Rachel’s extended family, and we remember summer days with them at the Farm. By that time, the woods had taken over the vast meadows committed to crops and livestock (with the exception of the present meadows, which have always been maintained), but Kenneth worked mightily to preserve selected old apple trees. We recall spending time clearing pines from around the apple trees – an exercise which proved to be entirely futile!
In 1984, Kenneth Huberman sold the property to us, and it quickly became the Rosenblum family homestead. We spend full summers and weekends in the other seasons there. Our children and their families, living in Denver, Seattle and Paris, make it a point to get back to the Farm annually, and it has been the site of large family reunions, a wedding, and many wonderful informal days with friends – enjoying the walks and explorations, the views, the newly dug pond, the many places to sit and read or meditate or dream, and, of course, the multiple tasks which keep such a place going: cutting and splitting wood, tending the fruit trees and bushes and the vegetable garden, and cutting brush, always cutting brush . . . to keep the forest back from taking over what is left of open land.
Our children share with us a strong emotional tie to Spear Hill Farm and a sense of being stewards of the land and of the memory of the Hubermans and other family members for whom this was such an important place. It is in that spirit that we are putting Spear Hill Farm into conservation that it may be saved in perpetuity (or at least until the next ice age) in a manner that embodies our values and sense of legacy.
Ausbon Sargent shares, with sadness, that Myron Rosenblum passed away on January 29, 2016.