This farm is on land that was originally part of the hunting grounds for the Nochpeem tribe of native Americans, a part of the Wappinger Confederacy. In 1697 the land became a part of the Upper Highland Patent which in turn was a part of the huge Philipse Patent. The very wealthy Philipse family were Loyalists during the American Revolution, and as a consequence lost their land and everything else they had in America when the New York State Legislature passed a Bill of Attainder. Following forfeiture, the farm’s land was owned by Peter Brown, the son of the patriot Ebenezer Brown who had been a tenant farmer on the land before the revolution.
Then in 1818 John Barett purchased the 100-acre farm from the Browns. In 1820, the farm passed to John’s son Stevens Russell Barett (1808-1865) when John died. Over the course of his lifetime Stevens expanded the farm by purchasing several adjoining parcels. Sometime in the 1860s Moses F. Mead (1813-1868) purchased the eastern part of the farm where the ruins are today. After Moses passed away in 1868 the farm was owned by David Kent, a prominent local banker who held a mortgage on it. Eventually, long after it had last been farmed, the New York Department of Environmental Protection purchased a large tract that included the land that had been the Brown-Barett-Mead Farm to protect it from development and preserve it as a part of New York City’s watershed.
The Kent Conservation Advisory Committee has a permit from the DEP to maintain the Mead Farm site and the trails to Hawk Rock. We are developing a plan for the farm site designed to accomplish a number of goals:
- Preserve the archaeological integrity of the Mead Farm site.
- Make the site accessible and understandable for visitors.
- Reveal life, activities, and physical structures of an early American farm family through the story of Moses F. Mead.
- Give visitors a sense of how the site and the people have changed over the course of history from prehistoric times to the present.
If you are interested in helping with this effort, please contect the Kent CAC by email. We would more than welcome your help.
Many thanks to Tom Maxson for his diligent work in digging up the history of this important and fascinating site.