Myron and Jewell Searle – Russellville Road
The Old Searle Homestead
No photograph available
This property was first settled by Zophar Searle in 1764. Zophar Searle, son of Nathaniel Searle and Priscilla (Webb) Searle was born in 1735 and he married Anna Clark, daughter of Selah Clark in 1764. Zophar and Anna had ten children: Zenas, Zophar Jr., Asenath, Israel, Joel, Clark, Bela, Anna, Cornelius, and Zilpha. Zophar Searle evidently was quite a wealthy man, as he bought a farm for each of his sons. He however reserved ownership of four of the farms until his death, and finally in his will he left the farm which had bought for Zophar II to the heirs and and assigns of Zophar II. Also, as his son Zenas had predeceased him, he left that farm to Zenas II with certain provisions for the sisters and mother of Zenas II. (Zenas the first had been killed by a pair of runaway steers). Cornelius inherited the home farm.
Zophas Searle had acquired certain mineral rights on Wolf Hill in 1782, and in his will he bequeathed these rights equally to all his sons and his grandson Zenas Searle II. There are several spots on Wolf Hill where experimental excavations were made, the largest being on the West side of the hill. This work was probably done in the early 1800’s. The forest has grown up and hidden these works from easy observance. However, on Nov. 28, 1965 Edward Searle Jr. and two sons Edward III and Barry found the excavation. Gerald Harriman and Theodore Hendrick have also seen it. They all identified this excavation as where much work had been done, including rock drilling, the foundation of a blacksmith shop, and saw where the forge for sharpening the drills had been located. Presumably the miners were looking for lead, but may have hoped to find also silver and copper. No record can be found as to how successful there were.
As stated above, Cornelius Searle inherited his farm from his father Zophar who died in 1817. Cornelius, b. 2-16-1783 married Dolly Clark, daughter of Noah Clark and Eunice (Strong) Clark. Dolly was born 11-17-1784 and died 11-23-1851. Cornelius died in 1832. Cornelius and Dolly had ten children: Asenath who married Asaph Hurlbret; Dolly who married Sardis Chapman; Bethsina; Harriet; Cornelius Edward; Anna; Jaruis C.; Philomelia; Eunice; and Anna E. The house in Alder Meadow burned, date uncertain, but probably 1831. The neighbors and townspeople promptly dug a cellar and walled it up on Flat Hill Road. A large two story house was built here soon after the Alder Meadow house burned. The farm animals however were cared for at the barn in Alder Meadow for several years. This barn was moved to Flat Hill Road and erected a little west of the house; the two buildings were connected by a wood shed and horse barn. In erecting the barn new perline plates were needed Cornelius Edward Searle (son of Cornelius) was principal owner of the property at this time and went to Becket with two yoke of oxen in the winter time to bring back two 60 foot hand-hewn timbers to use as perline plates.
Cornelius Edward Searle, b. 1813 m. Julia Searle (daughter of Nathaniel E. and Zilpha S. Searle) in 1840. Cornelius died 12-31-1886 and Julia, b. 1817, died in 1890. Corneilus and Julia had four children: Orlando C., b. 6-24-1844, Payson, b. 1846 d. 1849, Harriet C., b. 1849, and Julia, b. 1853 married Abner Peck in 1879.
Orlando C. Searle was the next owner. He married 11-20-1872 Mary Ellen Belden, b. 8-7-1848 daughter of Stephen Belden of Whately. Orlando and Mary had six children: (1) Martha, b. 1873 d. 1890; (2) Harriet B., b. 1877 d. 1961; (3) Ethel J., b. 1879; (4) Maybelle, b. 1882, m. Dr. Henry Deane; (5) Edward C., b. 4-21-1885; ( 6) Dolly K., b. 1-21-1889, m. Park Allen 9-19-1910.
Edward Cornelius Searle was the next owner, He married Lizelle Hill of Horse Cove, North Carolina. Lizelle was born 6-4-1886, the daughter of Felix Grundy Hill and Mary Ursilla (Alley) Hill. Edward and Lizelle have three children: Mary Elizabeth, b. Feb. 20, 1920, m. Prof John Carroll of Harvard University 9-6-1941, they have one daughter Melissa; Edward Cornelius Searle b. Oct. 8, 1921; and Myron H. Searle born March 24, 1932.
Soon after Edward Searle and Lizelle were married he built a new house (in 1923) several hundred feet south of his father’s. They have lived in his house ever since. The cellar was made into an apple storage to store the large crops of apples and peaches that Edward Searle raised up until about 1958. He was noted for raising superior “Northern Spies”.
From the first settlement of this farm by Zophar Searle in 1764 up until the early 1900’s the enterprise would be call general farming. Poultry, swine, and sheep were raised. One or two colts were raised and sold each year; up to thirty head of milk cows were kept, as well as several pairs of steers or oxen. One team of heavy horses and two driving and light work horses were usually on hand. Maple syrup, maple sugar making, and lumbering were extensively engaged in. In December of 1914 a heavy wind storm blew down about 200,000 foot of white pine. This spoiled a beautiful grove of trees, but the younger trees grew and that same piece of land has been cut selectively again in recent years. In the last forty years, small enterprises were given up and Edward Searle concentrated on fruit and dairy. Edward Searle is now 82 years old and still does a good day’s work, but he has turned the actual management to his two sons, Myron Hill Searle and Edward Cornelius Searle, Jr.
Myron Searle lives in the house built in 1831. He married Sept. 9, 1946 Jewell Marie Dobbs of Allen, Oklahoma. They have one son Lloyd Allen, b. Sept. 3, 1948 and one daughter, Marianne, b. Dec. 16, 1950.
Edward Searle Jr. lives in a new house which he built in 1963 located several hundred feet north of the house built in 1831. He married Genevieve E. Nacewicz (b. 11-5-1921) of Agawam, Mass. on 9-26-1945. Edward and Genevieve have two sons, Edward Cornelius III, born Feb. 4, 1948 and Barry Leslie born Feb. 2, 1954.
Since Myron and Edward Jr. took over the farm, they have concentrated almost entirely on the production and sale of milk. They have built new modern barns, milk room, etc. and milk about 60 cows.
The children of Myron and Jewell (Dobbs) Searle and of Edward Cornelius Jr. and Geneieve (Nacewicz) Searle are the seventh generation of Searles living on the farm. Edward Cornelius Searle II is the sixth generation Searle to have the name of Cornelius.
–From “History of Old Houses” by Atherton Parsons
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