The farm, built in 1790, was first home to Josiah Wakefield, whose family was among the original settlers of "Northville," the northern part of Newport, bordering Kelleyville and Croydon.
Unlike Newport's earliest settlers -- a group of Connecticut Congregationalists, who settled in the southern part of town, nearer to Goshen -- the Wakefields represented the second major group of settlers to come to Newport: a group of Baptists from Worcester County, Massachusetts.
Their chosen place of residence in the area now known as North Newport was, in those early days, known as Baptist Hill -- in honor, of course, of its settlers' distinct Christian theology. It was the persuasion of many of these Baptists that individuals had the "free will" to either choose or deny God's salvation. This was a revolutionary stance against the prevailing doctrine of "predestination," and it reflected a people of independent thinking and spirit.
It was in the home of Josiah Wakefield that the tenor of independent thought was largely advanced for the Northville settlers. For, it was he who, in the early 1800s, maintained a social library in his home, which contained a large collection of valuable books, which were much read by the people in that portion of the town.
Today, in one of the Freewill Farm sitting rooms, a large and growing collection of Classic books has been deposited by Cathryn and Paul Baird in an effort to recreate a social library and pastoral venue that can be enjoyed by future generations. As a legacy of Free Will Farm, it is a gesture of appreciation of the past -- giving honor to both time and place as well as goodwill toward those who have come before and those who will come after.
Miniature (child-friendly) pony
Cupid the turkey