Let us tell you a story
There is a lot of history to this extraordinary place
A history dating back to the 19th century
There is a lot to say about our farm and a book was written about the Gristmill located on the property. The main farmhouse was built in 1880 and we have been told the history dates back to the mid 1800s. We have traced the history ourselves through old papers we found that date back to 1888 and the property has been part of the local community for generations. The Wedding and other Barns on the property date back to the late 1800s. We have discovered all kinds of fun things as we have gone from building to building to organize all of the things that have been left behind over the years. Many lives have been shared and memories made at Andelyn Farm.
Currently the property is 108 acres of woodland, farmland and includes a four acre millpond with three streams that feed it, together with extensive walking, hiking, ATV and snowmobile trails. There is plenty of room to be away from it all and put your mind to rest, enjoying the wonder of natural beauty. Plenty of peaceful places to sit, relax and listen to the water enjoying the tranquillity of the ponds and streams. Wander through the meadows and enjoy the array of wild flowers or the woodland walks with many ancient trees, all shapes and sizes. Observe our family of Otters swimming in the mill pond. Spot the birds and listen to their song, watch the bald eagles perched in their favorite tree by the mill pond or soaring through the morning sky and the owls swooping on their prey in the moonlight. The local wildlife is a delight to see as they go about their business in the place, they call home. Last but by no means least, stargazing on a clear night is simply incredible and hard to beat.
Who are we and how did we end up here?
We are Lyn and Andy Sykes, we moved to upstate New York to fulfill a lifelong dream of ours. Lyn worked in the corporate world and for the last seventeen years ran a successful pet sitting company in Fort Worth, Texas. Originally from New Hampshire, Lyn grew up in a hospitality environment with her parents and relatives running a ski lodge, cottages and restaurants. Andy hails from England and came to the United States working as a Computer Scientist, we met at work, fell in love and married. We always knew we wanted a business that could also offer us a new lifestyle and give us more quality time together.
As many have experienced during the Covid-19 Pandemic, our lives took a real turn in 2020. Pet Sitting did not prosper and the Corporate World suffered. Staying at home and thinking made us re-evaluate what we wanted to do with our lives. We have had a dream for years to own and operate our own hospitality business and have been looking for a suitable location. The opportunity to purchase the Gristmill property presented itself in the summer of 2020 and we decided that now was the time for another life change. We sold Lyn’s business and our properties, packed our belongings and our dogs, cats and birds and left Texas in the rear-view mirror with two trips to the Northeast; ready for a new adventure.
Here we are in one of the most beautiful properties we could have dreamed of. There is a lot of work to be done and we are ready for the challenge.
The Log Village and Gristmill by Floyd D. Harwood
The little town of Hartford, NY, Washington County was still in its infancy when Hezekiah Mann, carpenter, built a Grist Mill on the banks of East creek. This hamlet was known as Log Village because nearly every dwelling was made of logs. Local records indicate that he built the mill in about 1810. Little is known about Hezekiah other than the fact that he was a carpenter. His knowledge of hydraulics and mechanics would put him in a class with his contemporary Oliver Evans, a well-known millwright of that time.
The first white settlers came to Log Village, now known as East Hartford, around 1782. By the time the mill was built much of the cropland had been cleared and log homes had been erected. Other needs such as sawmills, tanneries, black smith shops and schools were being provided for the pioneers. Hezekiah’s creation served the community continuously until 1902.
It is interesting to place the building of this mill in history’s calendar of events: Nationally, James Madison, fourth President of the USA, was having considerable difficulty with the English and French who were interfering with American shipping. Such activities culminated in the war of 1812, ‘Mr. Madison’s War’. If newspapers were available they may contain articles about Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, John Calhoun, or John Quincy Adams.
Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Vermont had just been granted statehood adding to the original 13 to make the United States 17 in number. Lewis and Clark had just returned from their expedition. Henry W. Longfellow was three years of age and Abraham Lincoln had just celebrated his first birthday. Fulton had completed his successful steamboat run from New York to Albany. Yet to come were the Erie Canal, Stephenson’s locomotive, Morse telegraph and the discovery of oil.
The year 1799 marked the establishing of Hartford with Daniel Mason and Asahel Hodges serving as Town Supervisor and Town Clerk.
Hezekiah selected an ideal site for his mill near the rapids where the creek cuts through the rock ledge. With this narrow gorge less effort was required to build a dam. To increase the power he found it necessary to chip out some of the ledge to accommodate a larger water wheel set to a lower level. Observing size and the accessibility of the wheel pit we can only assume that the wheel was built and then the mill was built around it. Native stones were used to build the foundation walls.
Realizing that during certain times of the year the flow of East Creek was inadequate to drive the mill wheel, a back-up water supply was provided about one mile upstream by the construction of the ‘Lily Pond Dam’ – the dam that held the backup water supply