Richard Dalrymple feels a deep connection to the Kingwood farm his family has just preserved. And with plenty of good reasons.
The Dalrymple family arrived in Kingwood from Hoboken in the 1890s, and has owned the farm ever since, passing it down from generation to generation.
“My dad was born in the kitchen,” he said, pointing to the two-story white farmhouse that has witnessed so much of his family’s history. “I have so many wonderful memories here. I love Hunterdon County and Kingwood Township, and I wanted this farm to stay in the family, and hopefully my kids will raise their kids here someday.”
Dalrymple and his brother, Brian, recently preserved the 52-acre farm thanks to the combined efforts of several organizations including Hunterdon Land Trust (HLT).
HLT became involved in the preservation in 2015 when Kingwood Township sought help in obtaining funding. HLT wanted to lend a hand largely because the farm, located off State Highway 12, borders the Little Nishisakawick Creek, which meanders westerly before meeting the Delaware River.
HLT is also in the early stages of working to preserve three other farms near the Dalrymple tract.
HLT’s efforts succeeded in bringing from the federal Agricultural Conservation Easement Program about 59 percent of the total purchase price for the property, said Jacqueline Middleton, the nonprofit organization’s land acquisition director.
“By working with the National Resource Conservation Service and using federal grant money, we can supplement what our partners – State Agricultural Development Committee, Hunterdon County, and Kingwood Township – are contributing to this project. This in turn allows us to stretch our local farmland preservation dollars further to protect more of our area’s rural character,” Middleton said.
The entire process – including meetings with the landowner and town, securing and appropriating the funds – took about four years. But for Dalrymple, preserving the farm with all its treasured memories was well worth the wait.
“It was a simple, nice life,” he recalled. “My mom would wake us up on the weekend and tell us to go down to the woods and play – she didn’t want to see us until lunchtime. You’d help in the garden, or when the farmer plowed the field, you’d follow him with a can and pick up worms so you could go fishing in the pond nearby.”
The first Dalrymple to plant roots in Kingwood Township was a great-grandfather, James Dalrymple, who purchased the land from Calvin and Emma Dull in 1893. Richard Dalrymple still has a copy of the deed from when his grandfather inherited the farm in 1902. Dalrymple’s grandfather farmed the land, and passed it on to his son, who initially farmed the land but later worked as an excavator and union carpenter. “My Dad would help the farmer – who was a family friend – with plowing the fields, planting and with the harvest.”
“Part of Hunterdon Land Trust’s mission is to ensure our agricultural heritage endures for generations to come and preserving the Dalrymple farm protects another link in this area’s bucolic landscape,” said Patricia Ruby, HLT’s executive director.
The property is still a working farm: winter wheat, corn and soybeans are raised there.
“You can see forever back here,” Dalrymple said, admiring the lush green hills glistening in the distance. “You can even see into Pennsylvania from here – just a beautiful wide-open view.”