Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

History lesson from Hudson told in restoration of Case Barlow Farm

By CAROLINE R. MERK

The Case Barlow Farm in Hudson has a rich history that is both regionally and nationally significant. It serves as a tribute to the early years of the Western Reserve, and as a reminder of the important role our region played in the Underground Railroad. In June, a public celebration will honor the 200th anniversary of the arrival in Hudson of the young Connecticut couple who created a legacy that has endured for two centuries.

Chauncey and Cleopatra Case left Grandby, CT for their new home in Ohio, arriving on July 4, 1814 along with their five children and a milk cow. They moved into a log house that had been built for them by David Hudson. Their intention was to farm the virgin land they had purchased from the Connecticut Land Company. As the family expanded to 10 children, they moved into a Greek Revival home made from bricks fired in their own kilns. An enterprising pair, Chauncey and Cleopatra sold bricks to others, including for the buildings of Western Reserve College, now Western Reserve Academy.

The Case family held strong abolitionist convictions. Before and during the Civil War, the farm was a site for Abolitionist meetings and it was an underground stop for runaway slaves from the South. Chauncey and Cleopatra’s son, Lora, was a close friend of abolitionist John Brown. Before his execution, John Brown’s last communication was to Lora Case.

In 1853, Chauncey and Cleopatra transferred ownership of the homestead to their son Henry and his wife Mary. Upon Henry’s death in 1890, the property was operated by his daughter Hattie Case and her husband Franklin Barlow. By now it had grown to over 480 acres and a large red bank barn had been added to accommodate a burgeoning dairy farm. Three more generations of the Case Barlow family lived on the site until 1996 when concerned citizens bought the property in order to save it from development.

Today, the Case Barlow Farm is a nonprofit organization. It consists of a farmhouse, bank barn, carriage house and miscellaneous outbuildings on 4.2 acres surrounded by a 60-acre, city-owned park called Barlow Farm Park. Trustees of the Farm are kicking off a capital campaign this year to restore the Victorian red bank barn. All the other buildings have already been meticulously redone and preserved. The goal is to secure the property for community use as an education and cultural center.

On Sunday, June 8, “200 years on the Farm…a Celebration” will take place in Hudson. All are welcome to the family event, from 5-8 p.m., at Case Barlow Farm, 1931 Barlow Road. There will be a pig roast and beer tasting from Thirsty Dog Brewery of Akron. Entertainment will include Nikki and Pat Custy of the Irish band, Pitch the Peat. Children will enjoy exploring a restored covered wagon, seeing a mini powwow by Crooked River All Nation and engaging in a variety of crafts.

Case Barlow Farm is on the Ohio Historical Inventory and is designated as an official Underground Railroad site by the Friends of Freedom Society. Donations may be sent to Case Barlow Farm, PO Box 2143, Hudson, OH, 44236.

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