Moravians settled Bethania in the 18th century, this farm was established in the 1830's about a mile outside of the compact outpost of the original settlement, designed for protection from Indians and the various military conflicts of their eras. General Cornwallis billeted in Bethania during the revolution. The French and Indian war compelled the outlying population to seek the protection of their stockade, and later residents avoided the burning of General Sherman, thus preserving this historic and magic sliver of history. Unusually, the Taft family is only the fourth family to hold deed to this property.
The St. Croix sheep are considered heritage livestock, in the same way we cherish heirloom flowers and vegetables. In fact, the entire place is an heirloom tribute to the past, although I cannot say sweeter and gentler times. As previously noted, three different armies have marched down this old plank road. The Moravian ancestors were stern religious pioneers.
We began our tour through Lamar's magical gardens.
My youngest guide informed me the bell is just for fun.
The Tafts rent their farm out for weddings, photo shoots and vacation rentals. Despite the fact that we are only 15 miles from town, we feel miles and years removed from the world. Charles's domain is the farm and the animals. My opinion is that if the Moravians settled this land in the mid 1700's it must be prime. There are ancient Indian artifacts in Bethania as well, so they thought so too.
In addition to the St. Croix sheep, Charles raises Delaware chickens, honey bees and supporting crops. When we arrived, Charles was hurrying to get the alfalfa out of the rain. He has meticulously restored the historically significant barns, sheds and dependencies on the place.
I often make a detour to Bethania to buy Dr. Taft's delicious eggs. He has developed mobile chicken houses on the property to fertilize the fields for the livestock and flower beds. The chickens eat the insects and move along to create greener pastures for the sheep.