Walter Hughes – Concord’s Yellow Farm

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.

smith_farm_1907

The newly rebuilt Smith Farm, 1907. Hazel Smith Collection.

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.

augusta_hazel_brighteyessm

Hazel and Augusta Smith with their sheep Bright-Eyes. Hazel Smith Collection.

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.

hughes_walter_chickens2-e1563032455224.jpg

A young Walter Hughes with a flock of chickens. Hazel Smith Collection.

It didn’t take Walter long to notice Augusta, who was just a few years younger than he.

augusta_chickens

Augusta Smith and her flock at the Concord farm. Hazel Smith Collection.

Walter and Augusta were married on Thanksgiving Day in 1914.

hughes_walter_augusta_wedsm

Walter and Augusta Hughes, 1914. Hazel Smith Collection.

Only a few years later, Augusta was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent time at the Fairfield Sanitorium, dying in 1920.

hughes_augusta_others_san

Augusta Hughes at Fairfield Sanitorium (second up on left). Hazel Smith Collection.

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.

bales_field

Hay bales on the Hughes Farm, Concord. Hazel Smith Collection.

haying_horses_trucksm

Haying with horses on the Hughes Farm, Concord. Hazel Smith Collection.

conveyor_bacheldarsm

Haying with a truck at the Hughes Farm, 1953. Photo by Eva Bachelder. Hazel Smith Collection.

hay_to_barn

Storing hay bales in the barn. Hazel Smith Collection.

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.

hazel_walter_farm

Hazel Smith and Walter Hughes, Concord. Hazel Smith Collection.

walter_cow_3_sm

Walter Hughes and dairy cow. Hazel Smith Collection.

pleasant_dale_mikcap

Pleasantdale Dairy bottle cap. W. I. Hughes.

walter_garden_color

Walter Hughes in his Concord garden. Hazel Smith Collection.

Sources:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s