Saturday, April 23, 2011

Clark Ellis

Clark Ellis was born in East Barnard, Vermont November 16, 1794.  He died February 11, 1862.  He married Anna Campbell of Barnard November 21, 1815.  To this union two children were born. Namely: *Joel, and Mary Ann.

It is believed that Clark built the house that now stands at the Farm. It was built for his father Moses and replaced the one that was farther up the hill.  

 When I visited with Philip Desmond, the owner, in 1999 he had found a remnant of a rock foundation which he felt might have been the site of the original house. It was farther up the mountain above the present house.

There was a smaller house that Clark built for himself closer to the start of the lane up to the house and barn.

 Mr. Desmond had found termites in the smaller house and was in the process of reconstructing it at the time of my visit.  I have no information on the house at this time.  
At this writing  I have tried to contact Mr. Desmond to ascertain the situation at this time.  Some time ago the Farm was listed for sale by the Sotheby Company in New York but I have no information as to the results of that sale.  At the time of my visit Mr. Desmond had worked considerably to clear some of the old trails used for mining the granite from the quarry.

He also had salvaged the downed timber from an ice storm (perhaps in 1998 or prior) He then hired a man with knowledge of timber log building to construct a shelter at the top of the mountain.  My wife, Coleen, and I hiked the trail to the top of the mountain and enjoyed a picnic lunch at the shelter.  The picture shows the author at the log shelter on top of Ellis Mountain at East Barnard, Vermont.

click on pictures to enlarge

*my direct lineage

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Aerial View of the Ellis Farm

The town of Barnard was given a charter on July 17,1761.  However, the first settlers in East Barnard did not arrive until 1785.  Moses Ellis settled on the place now owned by Mrs. De Rothschild.  His farm was in the Ellis family for 165 years.  The stone quarry on Ellis Mountain furnished granite for many foundations and for door steps for many homes in the valley and for houses as far away as Woodstock, Vermont.  The wall around the Billings mansion is built with Ellis Mountain stone.  The forgoing was taken from a publication called The Harbor a Glimpse at East Barnard.  Published in 1976 by the East Barnard Community Club.
   The dam at Billings Living History Farm is also of Ellis Mountain stone but the Granite Quarry is another story.   

Moses with his brother, Joseph, were the ones who came to Barnard, VT. from Walpole, MA. in 1785.  Moses at age 16 settled the Ellis Farm that is dated 1785.  This is painted on the big barn probably at the year of completion.  His brother Joseph settled an adjoining farm.  This is supposition on my part but I feel that the move from Walpole to Vermont was prompted by the offer of free land since Vermont had not yet achieved Statehood. The adventuresome spirit of the young men of that era probably had a lot to do with it.

Photograph of Ellis Farm circa 1925

I had heard about the “Ellis Farm” since I was a young boy. Indeed I had grown up with a picture of a lady on a horse just below the barn.  The picture had been taken sometime in the 1920’s or 30’s.

 None of my family had ever been to the farm in Vermont until my younger brother, Bill, was stationed in Boston during the Korean War.  He had an opportunity to visit the farm while on leave.  He was told the Rothschild’s were away from the farm but Bill was allowed to drive up and visit. He was met by the Gardner who showed him around.  This would have been in the 1950’s.

My first visit to the Farm came sometime in the 1970’s.  There was to be an international Physical Therapist Convention in Montreal, Canada.  Plans were made to drive to the convention by way of the Ellis Farm.  When we arrived in Barnard, VT.  I called the farm and was greeted by the Baroness de Rothschild.  She was a very gracious lady and invited us to come out and gave me directions to drive there.  Arriving at the farm we were met by the Baroness who invited us to look at the house, barn and her rose garden, in which she had been working.  In a cashmere sweater I might add.  She allowed me to take as many pictures as I wanted.

Barn at the Ellis Farm taken in 1999

She also shared several stories about her life there.  She said that, “at first the neighbors predicted that now that the Baron had purchased the place he would probably repaint the barn and paint out the Ellis name. That is precisely what he did but with orders to repaint the name and as long as he owned the farm the name would always stay.”

  She told another of a visit she had had from my Dad’s brother Bert.  Bert had come from Iowa Falls, Iowa and he brought a seedling black walnut tree for her to plant at the farm.  She gave him a native pine tree to take back to Iowa. 

East Barnard Cemetery taken 1999
The Baroness is buried in the cemetery in East Barnard.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Moses Ellis

This picture of the Barn at the Ellis Farm in East Barnard, Vermont was taken in 1999 by R.H. Ellis

From the BARNARD, VT. HISTORY 1928
Moses with his brother, Joseph, were the ones who came to Barnard, VT. from Walpole, MA. in 1785.  Moses at age 16 settled the Ellis Farm.  The barn that is dated 1785 was probably finished that year.  His brother Joseph settled an adjoining farm.  This is supposition is based in part on my imagination  but I feel that the move from Walpole to Vermont might have been prompted by the offer of free land since Vermont had not yet achieved Statehood. The adventuresome spirit of the young men of that era might have had a lot to do with it.
   Moses married Catherine Boyden February 3, 1794 in Walpole Massachusetts.   To this union six children were born.  They were Clark*, Joel, Lucy, Catherine, Enoch, and Joel. Note: I don't understand the two Joels since the second one was born before the first Joel died.

Until 1947 the Ellis farm had not been out of the family.  It still goes by that name but was bought by Baron Lenis de Rothschild of the French financiers.  It was a real show place after being remodeled and landscaped. 
   The following are notes by R.H. Ellis: The Baron and Mrs. de Rothschild are both dead (she is buried in the cemetery at East Barnard) and the farm has been passed to MIT, then to a man from Texas who never lived at the farm, and now to a family named Desmond. 
   I visited the farm around 1973 and met the Baroness.  She showed us around the house and barn and allowed us to take pictures.  She shared a story about when they first bought the farm, “The neighbors said that now that the Baron had purchased the farm. He would probably paint out the Ellis name."  She stated, "He did precisely that and then had the name repainted with orders that as long as he had the farm the name would always stay.  She also told me about a visit she had from my Uncle Bert who brought her a black walnut tree and she gave him a pine to take back to Iowa Falls, IA."
   From the Book belonging to Helen Moe:  "The Rothschild’s--A Family Portrait" by Frederic Morton Published by the Curtis Publishing Co.  Copyright 1961   Page 264-265
   "Then Louis returned to his spacious farm in East Barnard, Vermont.  The New England highlands evoked the Alps.  The tart reserve of the Vermonters matched his own temper well.  Professors of art and botany came to visit from Dartmouth.  His brother, Baron Eugene (surviving today and the husband of the English stage star Jeanne Stuart), often came to visit from his Long Island estate.  Baroness Hilda created a beautiful garden on the grounds, as well as something Louis had never been sure he would like: a family home.  He liked it.  In the last years of his life the Rothschild folks even gave open-air barn dances, and the Baron do-si-do'd with the same cool grace with which he had once waltzed on Vienna parquets.  He died, in his seventies, the way a grand seigneur should--swimming in Montego Bay, under a blue and perfect Caribbean sky".
   This next was taken from Helen Moe's family history:   Also from the HISTORY OF VERMONT, received from the Vermont Chamber of Commerce:  Moses Ellis was a deacon in the Christian church which had a small following in this section in the early days.  About the year 1801, when the Methodist persuasion first visited the neighborhood, she (Catherine Ellis) became seriously convinced of sin in heart and life.  After mourning for sin many weeks, one day, while engaged in her domestic employments, the burden was removed and her soul was made to rejoice with exceeding joy. From that time her face was set toward heaven.  For more than ten years her husband was rather opposed to "experimental religion".  Experimental religion has become a habit with descendants of this woman to the present generation.

* my direct lineage