BARNESVILLE, Ohio — Neal and Barb Caldwell knew their Belmont County farm had been in the family for a long time, but it wasn’t until they started doing the research that they discovered it’s actually been owned by family members for over 200 years.
In fact, it was in 1818 that President James Monroe signed a land patent to Neal’s great-great-great-great grandpa, Abel Brown, who bought the original 80-acre parcel as a gift for his son to start a new life in this beautiful stretch of eastern Ohio.
The farm changed hands over the years, sometimes being sold and sometimes deeded over, but always passing from one family member to another. Neal’s father, Charles Caldwell, inherited the farm in 1951 and added over 200 more acres. Over the years, the family milked dairy cows, farmed crops, and hunted and trapped in the extensive mature woodlands.
Neal and Barbara Caldwell recently received their official certification as a bicentennial farm in honor of the more than 200 years their family has been part of the state’s farming community. They only discovered the farm’s long history after choosing to preserve the farm permanently with a conservation easement through Captina Conservancy.
After putting the conservation easement in place in 2019, the Caldwells decided to spend some time investigating the history of the property. When they discovered how far back the family connection went, they applied to become a part of the Ohio Historic Family Farm program.
Run through the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Historic Family Farm program recognizes the historic cultural and economic contributions of Ohio’s founding farm families and provides certificates for farms that have been within the same family line for 100, 150, and 200 years.
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