The big yellow farm at the intersection of the Jackson Pond and River Roads in Concord is a well-known landmark with a rich history. Walter Hughes was the proprietor there for many years, raising cows and other livestock, running a dairy operation, and haying extensively on his large tracts of rich Kennebec intervale land.
John Dinsmore, descendant of an early settler by the same name, lived on the property in 1860, and Stephen Chase was there in 1883. The farmhouse originally on the property burned in about 1906. Curren Smith and his older brother Frank, of Bingham, bought the place after the fire and built, or rebuilt, the current buildings. They were sons of Jesse Smith, a Bingham blacksmith, who had taught Frank his trade. Frank had a working blacksmith shop on the farm property.
Curren and his wife Mary (Redmond) Smith had two young daughters when they moved to the farm. The elder was Augusta, called “Gusty,” and the younger was Hazel.
Walter Isaac Hughes, born 1893 in Bingham to Isaac and Emma (Wentworth) Hughes, had a difficult childhood. His father died when he was about four years old, and his mother died a year later, leaving Walter and his brother Verdell in the care of relatives. When Walter was old enough to be out on his own, he went to work for Curren Smith at the Concord farm.
It didn’t take Walter long to notice Augusta, who was just a few years younger than he.
Walter and Augusta were married on Thanksgiving Day in 1914.
Only a few years later, Augusta was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent time at the Fairfield Sanitorium, dying in 1920.
Walter continued to live and work on the farm, which passed to Hazel and Walter on Curren Smith’s death in 1933. Walter bought up other farmland adjoining his own and built a strong business in dairy and haymaking.
Walter and Hazel were active in the Bingham Grange and in town affairs. They hosted many farm tours for school groups, boy and girl scout troops, and 4H groups over the years. Hazel died in 1984 and Walter died in 1990, at the age of 97. The farm, now under new ownership, is still there as a revered landmark.
- Photos are from the Hazel Smith Collection at Old Canada Road Historical Society.
- Vital records, Ancestry.com.