In the 108 years since it was purchased by John Christy, great grandfather of Stewart T. Christy, present owner, the Christy farm on the Pomfret-Sheridan Town Line Road, east of Fredonia, has seen a transition from general farming through horse-raising, dairy and fruit and vegetable farming.
One house on the farm, formerly the Peter Chapman place across the road, was built in 1806. It is now being remodeled for use as a tenant house.
The horse barn on the Chrity place is believed to be the first frame barn built in Chautauqua County, though the date of its construction is not known. A trap door in one of the barns was the door of the original log cabin on the place.
The first John Christy, who came here from Dutchess County, purchased the original 160-acre farm from John Colvel, Ashtabula, Ohio. The line of succession of the farm includes his son, John S. Christy; then Stewart T. Christy, present owner. He operates it with his son, Stewart R. Christy.
Part of the original plot was sold, but the farm was expanded to its present 180-acres by purchase of the Chapman place by John S. Christy, who married Mary Chapman.
One the death of Mary Chapman Christy in 1938, the farm went to Katherine Christy, sister of Stewart, Mr. Christy acquired it on her death in 1943.
The present Christy house was built in 1850. The exact uses to which the farm was originally put are not known, but a barrel of flax, raised on the farm, was kept in the attic of one of the buildings until recently. Livestock, including sheep and cattle, were probably kept.
The late John Christy was an expert horse raiser and trainer, and also kep sheep and Durham cattle. The farm was converted to grapes and dairy, and in 1944 the last of the cows were sold and the farm became a fruit and vegetable farm.
Present crops include grapes, tomatoes, strawberries and blackberries. The Christy's have also established a commercial farm machine repair shop.
Among the more progressive of the lake shore area farms, the Christy's have the only "tomatoe picker" in the county, and probably in the state. Built on the farm, it consists of two long conveyor belts extending from the sides, on which the tomatoes are placed as the workers pick them. The fruit is carried into a hopper on the tractor-drawn machine.
Mr. Christy says that it took three men three days to dismantle and carry out a huge brick fireplace in the old Chapman house. Traces are still present of the clay deposit and crude kiln where the bricks were fired on the farm.
The house has huge, rough-hewn black walnut rafters, and featured wood eavestroughs fastened to the house by wood pins. It has double sills, large timbers resting on the stone foundation. The entire full-size cellar was apparently dug at the time of construction.
Two new buildings to house laborers are now being constructed on the farm. The Christy's now employ 10 workers and will hire another 20 during harvesting.