Farm History

History of White Barn Farm
         White Barn Farm has been in the same family since the 1840s. The house and the main part of the barn were built in the 1790s. The builders were a French Huguenot family from the Caribbean island of  Hispaniola (present day Haiti- Dominican Republic). They built three homes in Wrentham for sale, two of which are still standing. White Barn farm was first owned by Rufus Mann, then sold to Timothy Whitney, the Sheriff of Norfolk County.  Back in the early days of our country, a family needed enough land to grow and raise most of their own food and medicine, as well as hay to feed the horses who provided transport and worked around the farm.
         Bradford Bennett rented the farm about 1840. His brother Alonzo Bennett (Christy’s great great grandfather) bought the property from the heirs of Timothy Whitney of Beaufort, South Carolina when he returned from the Civil War. The farm was named Ataraxia, which is a Greek word meaning “Peace of mind through thoughtful contemplation.”
         Over the years, the land has been cultivated to varying degrees. In the early 1900s “Pop” Ewing, (Christy’s great grandfather) raised chickens and produced eggs. He sold these eggs under the name Wampum Egg Ranch. Copious harvests of strawberries led to the Strawberry Festival sponsored by the Episcopal Church in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The tradition was resurrected in 2006. The family has grown apples, cherries, pears, potatoes, strawberries, melons, asparagus, currants, grapes, quince, rhubarb, hay, all types of green vegetables, and multitudes of flowers. Grandma Bennett (Christy’s great great grandmother) was a founder of the Sohanno Garden Club and the Holly Club (1898), both of which often met at the farm.
         The farm has seen many changes over the years: the changeover from horses to motorcars, the evolution from horse drawn to tractor cultivation, the advent of running water, indoor plumbing, electric lights, telephones and computers. The farm has seen milestones in the family as well. It has had births in the house (Christy’s grandmother, Mary-Alice Raymond, and great grandmother were both born in the house) and weddings - again, Christy’s grandmother and great grandmother, as well as aunts, and the farming couple themselves.  A quite varied group of people has lived here in the past couple of hundred years. There have been farmers and sheriffs, jewelers, tool makers, doctors, ministers, teachers, soldiers, carpenters, gardeners, photographers, musicians, kids, parents, grandparents and more, and now, once again, a farmer.
Written by Eliot Raymond with fact-checking by Mary-Alice Ewing Raymond