The history of the house spans a period of nearly 230 years. This is meant to be a brief history of the farm from its construction in the late 18th century to its current form as the Bodwell Tree Farm.
Several families have lived in the house since its construction around 1790 by Joseph Conner and his wife Ruth. They had several children including Nancy Conner who, in 1809, married the Reverand Abraham Bodwell. Abraham was the second pastor of the congregational church of Sanbornton. Sometime later the Kimball brothers came to own the house. They enlarged the house to its current size and ran a boarding house called Kimball's Inn. The next owner was the Reverand James Boutwell, the third pastor of the congregational church.
The Sanbornton congregational church.
The Bodwells first lived in the house when Catherine Sykes Bodwell [b. 1816], the widow of Joseph C. Bodwell [1812-1876] (son of Abraham and Nancy), moved back to Sanbornton with some of her children, among them Herbert Bodwell [1847-1927]. Herbert married Mary Taylor [b. 1855] in 1881 and they had four children. Herbert ran a dairy farm with his two boys, Joseph [1889-1963] and Jonathon [1891-1942]. They enlarged the barn around 1920 to accomodate more hay for the Guernsey cattle. Most of the labor was done using horses.
Joe married Claris Hanson in 1914 and Jonathon married Marjorie Meader in 1931. The following year Robert Bodwell [1932-2006] was born. Jonathon and Joe worked on the farm together until Jonathon's death in 1942. At that time Marjorie moved back to Waltham, MA with Robert and his sister Elaine. Joe and Claris remained on the farm and received frequent summertime visits from Robert.
In 1961 Robert married Priscilla Colter and the following year moved back to Sanbornton with their one year old son, Philip, to live with Joe and Claris. The last of the cattle were sold around that time and uncle Joe died shortly thereafter.
Robert and Prill cutting a tree together.
Robert planted the first Christmas trees in the early sixties. Initially he planted blue and white spruce but eventually switched to exclusively balsam fir which we grow to this day. As the first trees were growing, Bob and Prill had two more children, Martha and Mark. By the seventies the business was in full swing. Robert also grew grapes behind the town hall for a local winery. The pond that sits in front of the house was dug around this time.
The pond Robert dug.
Since Robert passed away in 2006, his legacy has been continued by his wife, children and grandchildren. A special thanks to Mark Bodwell who carries out the majority of the planting and business operations with Priscilla. This website was created by Joe Bodwell with help and suggestions from the whole family.
Robert with his conservation award.
We are open weekends 9 AM to 4:30 PM starting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Take exit 20 off of I-93 in Tilton and follow signs for NH route 132 towards Sanbornton. Drive 3 miles into Sanbornton and head straight onto Meeting House Hill Rd when you pass the post office. The farm is on the left after you pass the library and the church.
There is parking available in front of the garage.