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Hale Farms: Civil War and Hauntings

On August 13, 2022, we made our fourth trip to Hale Farms and village and this time we were able to experience a Civil War reenactment. In this blog (and vlog) we will share with you our experiences and information about the village including the history and some of the paranormal activity.

We have visited this location on 4 different occasions. We went once as a couple on a date, then we took Shawn's side of the family, then we took Kay, Matt, and Lori from Happy Trails Hiking, and this time we went with Marianne's side of the family. Over the course of these four visits, Marianne took over 550 pictures, and we have a lot of video footage as well. We just never got the chance to make all of the videos for the village, so we decided we would make one massive one and include some media from all of our visits to help tell the Our Haunted Travels story. In this video we will include; the history of the farm and village, highlight some of the locations that have paranormal claims within the village, and share with you the Civil War Reenactment that we experienced. Sounds like a lot, it is, but it is a pretty interesting video.

Hale Farm and Village is located at: 2686 Oak Hill Rd, Bath, OH 44210 and their website for information about events, admittance pricing, and times is located here.

As I move forward with this blog post, I am going to try to limit the number of photos in order for the page to have the ability to load a bit faster (I know, sometimes I get carried away), so please if you would like to see more photos, make sure the click the "More Photos" buttons when you see it on the page and it will take you to more photos from this location. In fact, if you click on the following button it will take you there now.

Hale Farms and Village History

In 1810 Jonathan Hale purchased 500 acres from the Connecticut Land Company for land located in the Cuyahoga Valley. This portion of the country was referred to as the Western Reserve, an area defined by the south shores of Lake Erie to the 41st parallel, just north of Canton, Ohio. And from the western Pennsylvania border 120 miles to the west, close to Toledo. In June of that same year, Jonathan made the 646 mile trip to his family’s new land. The trip lasted 28 days and upon his arrival found a squatter living in a cabin on the property. He traded this squatter his horses and wagon for the cabin and began clearing the land. Shortly after, he sent for his wife and children to make the trip and join him on their new farm. Over the course of the next 150 years three generations of Hale’s lived on and worked the land in the Cuyahoga Valley.

In 1956 Clara Belle Ritchie, great granddaughter of Jonathan Hale, bequeathed the family’s farm to the Western Reserve Historical Society. It was her wish that “Hale Farm is to be established as a museum so that the greatest number of persons might learn about the history and culture of the Western Reserve.”

Initially the museum consisted of the furnished family home “old brick” and a barn displaying old farm equipment. Within the first year hundreds of school children and the general public alike came to visit and experience the Hale family’s tradition of farming in the valley and learn about the traditional crafts of spinning and weaving. The museum was more successful than imagined and thus began the transformation of the farm into a living history museum.

As interest grew there was a need to expand upon the experience of the western reserve, and the idea for a historic village took shape. Demonstrations are conducted at various locations throughout the village ranging from glass blowing and pottery making to an on-site blacksmith and demonstrations on how the hales would make their own clothing using the sheep’s wool from the sheep who live at the farm.

Over the course of the next 30 plus years historic structures were moved to the property to provide the stage for not only preserving the history of the Western Reserve but to offer gallery space so that the general public could see hundreds of collection pieces kept by the western reserve historical society.

Today the site consists of 34 historic structures including 8 built by three generations of the Hale family.

Living History

Throughout the village, there are period dressed docents (and some not so period dressed) that will demonstrate and explain how life was on the farm. Hale Farms and Village is a working farm and all of the items that they make and demonstrating making are sold in the gift shop or on the Etsy page. The sale of these items help fund and maintain the facility. We have included a few demonstrations in our video where you can see the villages making pottery, glassblowing, wool spinning and dying, among others.

The Hauntings

After we started "Our Haunted Travels", I went back over some of the places we have visited in the past to see if there any locations that may have had some paranormal claims or activity reported on the Internet. I did come across a couple of articles that were talking about three different buildings in the Hale Farms Village. This put another item on our "To Do" list to go back to the village to get some better footage in order to make videos about these buildings. Well, we went back several more times, but never had the videos slated in the list to get made. This is why we have decided to just through everything into one larger video this time in order to get everything documented and marked off the list for four different locations. You will see Boris pop in from time to time in the video to discuss these locations.

The Goldfield House

The Goldsmith house was built on Erie Street in Willoughby, Ohio for William Peck Robinson between 1830 and 1832 by master builder Jonathan Goldsmith of Painesville, Ohio. Mr. Robinson passed away the same year the house was completed, leaving his widow and their four children in massive debt. His wife Caroline was determined to keep her grand new home after her husband’s passing, so she turned the homestead into a boarding house, renting out rooms beginning in 1845. This however, didn’t cure the mounting debt problem and the house was eventually sold in 1862. The house had about a dozen owners over the next century until 1973 when it was donated to Hale Farm and it was moved to where it now stands in the village.

Visitors and staff have reported feeling the presence of Mrs. Robinson throughout the house, but especially on the second floor. A former employee reportedly noticed an upstairs bed indented as if someone were sitting on it; it sprang back when she entered the room. Others have reported the feeling of sadness and dismay on the second floor as well.

Could this have been the spot where Mrs. Robinson was when she found out that she was going to lose her home? It has been said that the spiritual presence is gentle and comforting, and Mrs. Robinson, if that is her, is always welcoming to open her doors for the weary traveler.

The Herrick House

The Herrick house was originally built by Jonathan E. Herrick in Twinsburg, Ohio in 1845. Herrick was a successful farmer and father to five children with his wife Phila Clark, and he served as a township trustee. Phila died in 1889. Upon Jonathan's death in 1898, the house was willed to a former employee, Anna Simmonds, who took possession in 1916. The house was slated for demolition in 1981, but was offered to Western Reserve Historical Society provided they paid the expense of moving the massive stone home. It was relocated to Hale Farm and reconstructed stone by stone.

Staff have reported objects being moved while the house is closed and other unexplained activity. There have been a few sightings of a male apparition caught for fleeting moments inside the house as well. Could this be the presence of Mr. Herrick coming back to the home to make sure everything was put together correctly the way it was when the house was originally built in Twinsburg?

The Jagger House

Built in 1845 by Clement Jagger, a prosperous carriage-maker in Bath, Ohio, this Greek Revival-style home was relocated a short distance to Hale Farm in 1962. Today it is interpreted as the "Wheatfield Township" home and office of "Dr. William Tibbals" and his family.

This house has an interesting story. A former volunteer at Hale Farm’s Village reported the following:

"The most frightening house at Hale by far is the Jagger house. This house itself hates. You walk in and it feels like the house would just drop down on you if it could. I hated to work in that house, even during the day. And whoever worked there would become hateful the entire day. You just could not help it. If you stayed in the house for just a few minutes, you just hated everything and everyone. People that worked that house together would be arguing constantly."

Civil War Reenactment

Marianne saw an advertisement from Hale Farms that they were having a Civil War Reenactment weekend, so we thought it would be fun to get the family together and go back to the farm and see it in a different perspective, Little did we know that the entire location was covered with encampments and the battle was one we have never witnessed before. Cannons, calvary, and soldiers, it was a great end to a great time out with family.

Here are some photos from the Civil War reenactment, but again, please click on any of the buttons to see more photos from our visit.

The Encampment

Throughout the entire village, people were dressed in period clothing and were conducting civil war era demonstration.

The Battle

At the end of our video we have included the battle reenactment.

We really enjoyed our day at the farm, and will probably go back again at some point in the future since it really is not that far from where we live. Let us know down in the comment section if you have been to this location too in the past.

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