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This is the view of Monadnock looking NE from the Fire Tower on Mt Massaemett above the Davenport Farm. It is the nations oldest operating stone fire tower.
The first settlers, referred to as "The Pattern People" Dorcus and Ebenezer Fiske, so named due to their strict lives, cleared this land by logging with oxen and the rooting by pigs and grazing of sheep and goats. On Sundays they would travel 3 hours on foot and horesback to Old Deerfield to church. This would consume the entire day, and they would stop on the way and visit with folks that lived along the route. They traveled SE frm the Patten by what is now Old Albany Rd. to the Lower Rd in Deerfield and cross the Deerfield River west to east to the Old Albany Cemetary and Albany Rd in Deerfield.
The names of the early settlers are still familiar in the Patten area; Peck, Dole, Fiske, Carpenter, Gould, Truesdell. The Goulds have a Sugar business themselves just to the west.
The Patten District were mostly farmers who produced milk, raised sheep, grew apples and produced maple syrup and sugar...the main sweetener in this region and time. The milk would be brought to a communal tank, cooled by the brook there, at the intersection of Frank Williams and Little Mohawk Rd. From there the milk would be hauled by horses for processing at the Greenfield Dairy Plant.
The Davenports have sold most of their milking herd, although still sell some milk and eggs. They have a herd of grassfed Newfoundland cattle raised for beef. The new calves can be seen today in the Yurts behind the Barn. Wood for timber and heat is a valuable crop and of course there are the 5,000 or so Maple trees tapped for sugar and syrup. Being solely a Dairy Farm today is one of the hardest ways in America to make a living, so diversity is a must..
There still exist numerous cellar hole sites, laid up major stone walls and two old schoolhouse sites built by the Patten settlers. Mr Davenport was within a few years of attending one of the Patten schoolhouses on Reynolds Rd himself. Roads that were constructed through Patten had 'bars' or 'gates' that the user of the road had to open and close behind them. The old Farm House near the Sugar House, and the newer home on the fire tower road above the old farmhouse, have some of the original Josiah Dole farmhouse mortar bricks from the original 1793 house in the construction. I believe this is what Mr Davenport told me. These old mortar bricks and fired blue clay turn up when the fields around the farm are plowed.
Other than the Sugar House on the Davenport Farm, two very interesting Patten District Icons are the Map of the District at Patten-Tower-Reynolds Rd intersection, and the Stone Tower above the Davenport Farm. The Map has it's origins in the 1950s when the Reynolds Farm sold pigs. Customers would get lost and have to ask the neighbors where the farm was. The local farms pitched in for the 'Map'. It have been replaced once and still helps people find the local farms that operate in the Patten district; like The Reynold's 'Valley View Farm' that sells grass-fed beef and The Springdelle Farm that sells sheep for fiber.
The Tower was built 3 times between 1894 and 1909. At first it was just for the scenic pleasure of the local residents. The first tower burned down and the second one blew down. The stone tower was built in 1909 and stands today. The State suggested that it be used as a fire tower and Mr Davenport's great uncle Abner built a cabin at it's top. The original access was from Rt 2, but there has been a road to the Tower through the farm from Tower Rd since the late 1920s.
Mr Davenport attended High School at Ames Academy in Shelburne Falls and walked, ran or ski'd the 3 mi up and over Mt. Massaemett every day. Since the 1940's the region has become less isolated with the building of hydro dams, ski areas, the Rt. 91 Interstate, and power lines which have made the District more accessable. Similar to the 1760s when people from Old Deerfield decided to find a new place to live and chose the Patten, there was a new era of development in the District. But if you visit Davenport Farm, you will feel the geneology and the roots; especially when you stand in front of the hand painted Patten District Map.