Other types of businesses
often grow from a farm, but one case of a farm growing
as a sideline to another business is the Neate family
farm, near Levant on the Gerry Road.
According to Mrs.
Sigurd Johnson, the former Ruby Neate, her grandfather,
Reuben Neate, at the age of 26, came to this section in
the fall of 1837 from Vermont, probably on horseback.
He purchased the first
section of the farm, a three-acre plot on the bank of
Cassadaga Creek at Levant, from Samuel A. Brown in
1845. Here he opened his famous brickyard which
supplied hand-molded bricks for many of the Jamestown
area's early buildings.
The farm which later
became the family's mode of living, had its small
beginnings there, where Mrs. Neate kept a few cattle,
chickens and a garden to board workers at the
brickyard. The farm was expanded as Mr. Neate
bought and cleared 89 acres along the creek, purchased
in 1857, and 101 acres of timber land across the present
Levant-Gerry Road in 1866.
The original house was
located across the road and to the west of the present
house. The old house and barns were constructed
with wood pegs, instead of nails.
During those early
days, Indians traveling up Cassadage Creek used to camp
in the woods on what is now the Neate farm.
Mrs. Neate, the former Lucy Hall, worked as a maid
for the Prendergast family, founders of Jamestown, and
remembered leading their cow across what is now the
business section of Main Street.
In 1867, the present house on the farm was started, and completed the following year. Built of brick made in the family brickyard, it has three stories, 30 rooms, and has a mansard -type roof on which the original slate has been replaced by shingles.
The house cost $12,000
at that day's low prices. It was rumored that the
third floor was added at the insistence of the workers,
faced with a job shortage, who convinced Mr. Neate that
the building looked squat in its original form.
The last job for the
brickyard was in 1881, when it made the brick for the
old Sherman House, on the site of the present Hotel
Governor Fenton. After that, machine-made brick
forced the closing of the yard, and the Neate family
settled down as full-time farmers.
Ruben Neate's son,
Menzo Neate, was born in 1863 and married Feb. 16,
1883. After his father's death Fe. 20, 1902, he
bought out the share of his two sisters, and continued
to operate the farm. Always devoted to dairying,
the farm kept up to 33 head of cattle.
husband of the late Carrie Neate Willett, began to
operate the farm in 1937. Menzo Neate died Dec.
31, 1941, and in 1945 the farm, with rooms int he house,
was rented to Floyd Burt, who has been operating the
farm with his son, Robert. They have kept herds of
up to 40 mixed cattle on the farm.
Mrs. Willett, who
followed in her father's footsteps by serving several
years as supervisor for the Town of Ellicott, died June
18 last year. The Burt family now is leaving the
farm, which all livestock and machinery being sold
At present disposition
of the farm is in the hands of two surviving
sisters. Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Sarah Halliday, 514
Weeks Street; and a sister-in-law, Mrs. Nathan M.
Neate. No decision has been reached as to the
future of the century old farm, according to Mrs.