Historical Information Gathered About
Sculptured Rocks Farm
Sitting on the cool stone of the front stoop at Sculptured Rocks Farm not a street light or another house in sight. It could almost be 1865, the year Artemus Crosby built the fanciest house in Groton, New Hampshire for his bride Nettie.
Sculptured Rocks Farm has been converted into a bed and breakfast for many to enjoy by current owners Michael and Dawn Lemieux. But, over its 145 years it had a colorful past painted by only two families before the Lemieux’s.
The Farm was built by Artemus as a showcase for the fine woods he milled in his lumber mill on the Cockermouth River. The stately Gothic Revival was home to much love and later much sadness. Not many years into their marriage Nettie and Artemus lost their two year old son Chester and a short time later Artemus lost Nettie too.
Near the turn of the century the Farm was purchased by Syrian immigrants*, George and Frieda Hikel, and was soon filled to the brim with 10 children. George had a sustenance farm, raised sheep and was a traveling peddler. The peddler’s wagon, with George Hikel Peddler proudly painted on the side, is still at the farm. One of George's other sources of income was probably bootlegging. Old-timers still recall heading up to Groton for beer during prohibition (information from Richard Braley of Hebron, NH). Tales of murder and mystery surround that era. And, the barrels and bottles are still stockpiled in the cool granite basement. The Hikel family ownership spanned most of the 20th century, although the Farm stood empty for the last three decade.
*acccording to the 1910 census, but according to granddaughter, Rae, they were Lebanese. We can only speculate that the Hikel's left the country when Syria occupied Lebanon. One of them was reportedly from Beirut and the other from Damascus and they met in this country according to one decendent.
Artemus Crosby on Kimball Hill in Groton. He had quite the sense of humor.
Abel L. Crosby, son of William Crosby, born in 1816, married Pauline (sister of Mahala Blood), daughter of Henry and Sarah (Wheet) Phelps, in 1838 and had one son and one daughter -- Artemus B. (??) and Mary P.
Artemus B. married twice, first Annette Hall, who died in 1876, and second to Mrs. Lizzie (Carleton) Sanderson in 1877. He was a manufacturer of lumber.
Above notes given to Groton Historical Society by a Charles Greenwood of Mesa, Arizona who in 1965 founded the Bristol Historical Society. He has Parker Bloods diary from 1876-1877
Artemus is buried in a nearby cemetery in Hebron, beside his first wife, Nettie, and his young son Chester.
Artemus Crosby's steam saw mill at Groton was totally destroyed by fire last Saturday night. The fire is supposed to have originated near boiler. Loss about $2,000 supposed to be insured for $500 only. Mr. Crosby does not propose to rebuild, and thus the chief industry of that part of the town comes to an end. This mill directly or indirectly gave employment to 15 or 20 men.
Bristol Enterprise page 2 May 9, 1889
Farm of 50 acres, 10 acres in mowing, the rest in wood and timber. Orchard grafted with early and late fruit. A new one and one-half story cottage, large on ground, well painted with blinds and two bay windows; eleven finished rooms, eleven closets, running water in two sinks and cellar; cellar large and dry. Inside of house finished in hardwood, maple, birch, cherry, ash. Large barn with running water that never fails. Also, a two story shop 23x33, blacksmith and carpenter shop on first story; second story a hall all newly shingled. Situated in Groton, ten miles from Bristol station, on one of the best roads in the state. I wish to sell on account of change of business. Post office address, Franklin Falls, NH. Price, $1,100. 42-47.
A. B. Crosby
Bristol Weekly Enterprise, April 19, 1894
Part of Article "Bits of History"
... a large iron screw, used for dyeing and dressing cloth at a mill at Kemp Falls (in Cockermouth River?) was turned down upon the folds of cloth which were laid upon the press. This screw is somewhat historic. After its disuse by Mr. Greenleaf... we think it is now in the possession of Artemus B. Crosby, formerly of this town.
Bristol Weekly Enterprise, April 4, 1895
Sister of Artemus - Mrs. H. L. Ingalls of Concord
Bristol Weekly Enterprise, June 12, 1902
The Hikel family was the second family to own Sculptured Rocks Farm. George and Freida Hikel with their six sons. Where are all the daughters?
We asked the question and found the answer. Violet's granddaughter sent us pictures. We think they are Freida, but we are waiting for her grand-daughter to tell us for sure.
The Hikel family members all went on to distinguished careers. The bi-plane below was owned by Nolan Hikel (according to his niece Angela Kelley). Dick used to fly the plane as well -- we believe Dick is the person in the center with his hand on the propellor. We wonder if they ever landed and took off in the big field in front of the house. That would have been daring!
Dear Michael and Dawn:
My name is Janet Massey and I am a native Californian; but my great
grandfather was George Hikel. I was just talking to my dad on the phone
tonight and he gave me your web site because he is from New Hampshire
and we had talked about the property recently. George Hikel was my
dad's grandfather. My grandmother, Sarah or Sadie, was the oldest of
the Hikel children, I believe. We have always referred to the farm as
"Grandpa's farm" even though I've only been there twice. I have fond
memories of being there in 1959 when I was 10 and my great aunt still
cooked on a wood stove (there was a "modern" one that my mom used, but
the old one was still there). I also remember a piano in the living
room or parlor, and going to the swimming hole. What a great vacation!
You mention George Hikel in one or two places in your site, but never
really say who he was or that he had also owned the property. Since the
property was in the Hikel family for most of its life, would you like
more information if I could get it? Just yesterday I received a copy of
a newspaper clipping from 1949 announcing George Hikel's death. He and
his wife, Freida, had 10 children - 6 boys and 4 girls. My dad has a
nice photo of them and their six grown sons (apparently the daughters
weren't important!). I have the names of all the children, if you're
interested. Violet was one of the only 'children' I never met, although
I may not have met Frances either - I think she was the youngest. My
dad, Francis Lee, was named after her.
We are so happy that someone is restoring the house because it was once
a lovely home. One of my great uncles was in possession of the property
for as long as I can remember (Nolan Hikel). It fell into disrepair
and people broke in and even camped out inside. We've always wanted to
see it enjoyed again. It must be quite an undertaking. Hopefully my
husband and I will get to New Hampshire in the next year or so and I
would love to see your B & B.
Please let me know if you'd be interested in any history I can get from
my dad. You may know that one Hikel son is still alive and lives nearby
the farm. His name is Richard and he is about 90. Look forward to
hearing from you!
This photos was also given to us by Angela Kelley (Violet's granddaughter). We recognize George (second from right) but are not sure of the others in the photo. Maybe his mother and siblings??? Hopefully we will find the answers to this mystery.
Violet's children Earl A. Kelley Jr. and Rae Wolf promise to give us more information about the Hikel family. We appreciate all the information the many members of the Hikel family provided for us. We look forward to meeting the many people who called and emailed.
From discussions with family members we think there may be a family reunion in the works at Sculptured Rocks Farm. Family members keep your eye on our website for more information.
Ok first let me tell you that I have goosebumps!! I recently obtained photos from my father, Earl A. Kelley (Violet's son named after Violet's husband Earl Albion Kelley Sr.) and this is one of them, and the one of the boys and my great grandparents!! So after talking to my Aunt Rae (Violet's dauther whose middle name is after her sister Francis) I went on line just goofing around and typed in my grandmother's name and when I did your web site came up!
I cant tell you how excited I am to finally find out about my dad's side of the family! and now to see this web page! I just want to know so much. I never met anyone on that side for reasons unknown to me. I did meet my Uncle Ed when I was younger visiting my "Granny"
I would love to know how to reach this Janet Massey if that is at all possible.
I am able to send you pictures of the girls! and my Uncle Nolan with his by-plane that my Uncle Dick (glass eye and all) used to fly.
I look forward to talking to you more! as well coming to visit!!
Hi-- I just received information about your Inn, which I know as the Farm, from my niece, Angela Kelley. I am Violet Hikel's daughter and the elder sister . My cousin Pat and I are the ones who spent all the summers with Grammie at the Farm and the house in Plymouth. You have some incorrect information about my grandparents Frieda and George Hikel-- First of all they were both from the Beirut area and were 100 % Lebanese, also in those days as today Lebanon was under Syrian authority, that does not make you a Syrian. My grand father was a button salesman or peddlar as you call it. He did not bootleg liquor, as a matter of fact liquor was never a part of the household*. In fact they left a part of the family that choose a way of business they found to be disagreeable and changed the family name from Maloof to Hikel which is a story itself-- that I won't go into now. My husband Robert Wolf and myself look forward to staying in Violet's room (this makes me cry with happiness) this summer. We live in Florida-- 1801 East lake Road #19E, Palm Harbor, Fl. 34685, and would appreciate a brochure.Thank you for making my mother part of the Inn's history-- She was third youngest, quickly followed by my Uncle Dick, and then my Aunt Frances who was the baby and my godmother. my middle name is after her.
Rae Frances Kelley Wolf
*We do have two local residents who claim they bought their beer at the Hikel farm during prohibition. We also have three barrels in the basement that appear to be for making liquor. We aren't sure who is correct and George isn't talking.
My son, Theodore Roosevelt Hikel, III found your B&B home page today and it was so good to see what you have done with the "old family farm." My dad, Theodore Roosevelt Hikel was born on the farm in 1905 (by official Air Force records) or 1906. Records were lost in a fire at the old Groton Town Hall so he was never sure about the date. Many Hikel relatives still live in New England. My oldest sister, Patricia (Hikel) Webster, lives in Laconia with her husband, Roger, during the spring and summer. They winter in Arizona. Pat would be a good person to contact if you would like family history. My uncle, Harry Hikel, was well known throughout the state as the owner and editor of the Colebrook News Sentinal Newspaper for many years. The Hikel family has had many reunions at Wellington Beach in recent years, although my family and I haven't been able to attend. I have slides of the house and my grandmother standing out in front taken in the early 1950's. My dad retired from the Air Force in 1958 and came to Washington State in 1959 to work for the Boeing Company. He died in 1986 at the age of 80. He loved to talk about the family and the farm. The family moved to Plymouth when my dad was 16. With that move, he was able to attend highschool and go on to UNH. I retired from Nordstrom in December after 25 years and now devote my time as a member of the Lynnwood, Washington City Council. When my wife and I visit New Hampshire, hopefully within a couple of years, we look forward to visiting you.
Theodore Roosevelt (Ted) Hikel, Jr.
We recently spoke to Patricia (Hikel) Webster who asked about planning a family reunion in 2007. We hope the family will get together at the old farm. We have received a flurry of emails lately from family members and hope to get their messages on the website soon.
August 19, 2006 we had a visit from Peggy and Dolly (Hikel), grandaughters of George and Freida. What a great surprise, along with Dolly's husband, they joined us and 16 basketmakers for lunch. We had a great visit and Peggy and Dolly promised to share some middle-eastern recipes with us. And, they taught us how to harvest and prepare grape leaves by the barn to make stuffed grape leaves. Can't wait to try it.
Latest update: Peggy, Dolly and Ted just sent as a wonderful gift of the cookbook "A Taste of Lebanon" by Mary Salloum. What a nice gift. We can't wait to try some of the recipes, especially the stuffed grape leaves.
The stuffed grape leaves are getting rave reviews at events at Sculptured Rocks Farm. Thank you Peggy and Dolly for sharing a part of your heritage.
The first Hikel family members to spend the night at Sculptured Rocks Farm were Mary Lyn Hikel and her husband John Kalnin. She had loads of stories to tell about the farm. Including the fact that Kahlil Gibran was a guest a the farm. He was a friend of a Hikel family relative and came here one summer as relief from the hot city. I wonder if he took a dip in the swimming hole while he was here?
This summer brought a few Hikel visitors. Family members happen along unexpectedly, but are always welcome. The most recent visitor was Lisa Burhardt, daughter-in-law of Francis Hikel Burghardt (the youngest daughter of George & Freida). Earlier in the year we had a visit from Cecil Hikel (and his wife), son of Harry Hikel, the late editor of the Colebrook, NH newspaper. Cecil purchased an old wood box from us that was made by his father in 1917. We are so happy to have it go back to his family instead of the unknown antiques dealer that probably would have purchased it if Cecil didn't happen by. The box was specially made to fit in the curved corner of what we call the birthing room. It was probably a little sitting room used by Cecil's grandmother Freida and this box was used to hold the kindling for her small parlor stove. Cecil and his wife were on their motorcycle the first time they stopped by so they had to make a return trip for the box. Cecil is pictured below with the box complete with his dad's monogram and the date with a turned around 9. Keep the visits coming we love to see you.
We were saddened to hear of the death of Richard Hikel. He was a great man that was a vital part of our community for many years. Below is one of the obituaries written about him:
September 20, 2007
Richard S. Hikel
HOLDEN - Richard Salem Hikel, 96, died Friday, September 7, 2007 in Farmington, Conn. He was born at the family farm in Groton, N.H., to George and Frieda (Khoury) Malouf Hikel, and was educated in Plymouth, N.H. In 1930 he met Virginia I. Daniels in Plymouth, and they were married on November 9, 1935 in Franconia, N.H.
They moved to Holden in 1957. In 1976, they moved back to Groton, N.H. In 1999 they moved in with their youngest son, Gerald Sr., in Farmington, Conn. His wife died in 2003. He is survived by his sons Gerald Sr., Ronald of Toronto, Canada and Steven of Hilger, Mont.; grandchildren Virginia Reale of Boston, Bonnie Hoffman of E. Hartford, Conn. and Gerald Hikel Jr. of Stamford, Conn.; Larissa, Sabine and Andreas Hikel of Canada; Gregory Hikel of Mass. and Colter Hikel of Mont.; two great-grandsons; his sister Francis, of Zephyr Hills, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by five brothers, Harry, Frederick, Edward, Theodore and Nolan; and three sisters, Sadie Lee, Cecile Akey and Violet Kelley.
He was a commercial photographer from the early 1930s until April 1943. Mr. Hikel did some of the first publicity motion pictures for the state of N.H. He worked at the Nashua Optical Company and the Boston Camera Exchange, where his customers included Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera, and Thomas Eggerton, who invented the strobe light. In 1943 Mr. Hikel was recruited by IBM's data processing division as a customer engineer, retiring in 1972.
Mr. Hikel was a member of Boy Scout Troop 56 in Plymouth, worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, laid out the first downhill ski trail in 1932, and was a founder of the Pemmigewasset Ski Club, was a member of the Hyde Park Parents Club, served on the Civil Defense Commission during WWII, and was active in the Hyde Park Methodist Church. He installed the bandstand speakers in Townsend, helped drain and clean the Townsend Harbor Gristmill canal, was active in the Townsend Couples Club and the Methodist Church, instructed youth skiing, was publicity chairman at the Lions Club, served on the School Planning Board 1954-57 and the Special Committee for planning Middlesex Regional High School 1956-57. He was a member of Chaffin Congregational Church and was involved with the Worcester Children's Friend Society.
Mr. Hikel loved nature. He did aerial photography after earning his pilot's license. He photographed the flood of 1935, publishing a related small album. He devoted much of his retirement years to organic gardening and conservation efforts. He restored two vintage canoes.
He played the trumpet and violin. He was accepted into the New England Conservatory of Music but was unable to attend due to finances. At the age of 90, had two poems, "Love at First sight" and "The Shining Dome," published by the International Society of Poets.
He was a very giving person, his generosity only exceeded by his optimism. A service celebrating his life was held September 22 in Farmington, Conn. Remembrances may be posted at www.legacy.com. His son Jerry may be contacted at geraldhikel@hotmail. com. Memorial donations may be made to the Appalachian Mountain Club Trails Fund, 5 Joy St., Boston, MA 02108, or to a charity of the donor's choice.
Sculptured Rocks Farm
On the banks of the Cockermouth River
363 Sculptured Rocks Road
Groton, New Hampshire 03241
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