Gregory Farm celebrates its Bicentennial during GCD
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By Carmen Ensinger
Everyone seems to have forgotten that Greene County was founded in the year 1821, but the descendants of the Gregory family have not forgotten that the family homestead was founded 200 years ago in 1821 by Col. Charles Gregory.
They have chosen to celebrate its 200th anniversary by opening up the homestead to visitors during Greene County Days, Sept. 10-12. Located on Rt. 67, just south of White Hall, the homestead will be open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on all three days.
Veterans of GCD might remember the Gregory Museum, which, unfortunately was destroyed by a devastating fire back in 2012. The museum contained generations of Gregory Family history plus history on the world-famous horse Carnot and history on the Gregory Laboratory, which is now known as Zoetis.
While the museum is gone, according to Laura Jane Dukett, sixth generation descendant of Col. Charles Gregory, some memorabilia was spared and other memorabilia has been found. This memorabilia will be on display on the grounds in a large 20×20 tent.
“After the fire, we were going through what was left of the basement and we found an old metal trunk that belonged to my great grand mother,” Dukett said. “It was a metal trunk, so it survived the fire as well as the items inside.”
Dukett said the items inside survived because the fire, which started in the basement, traveled up into the house, as did most of the searing heat from the hire, protecting the items in the trunk.
Some of those items include generational photos that have been enlarged along with farming photos that have never been seen publicly before or at least for 100 years.
“Some of these photos were gotten out of a sale catalog from back in the 1900’s,” she said. “It has some of the eight and four-horse hitches pulling implements and then we are also displaying some of the ribbons of Carnot’s and some other artifacts that survived the fire.”
For those not familiar with Carnot, he was the world famous Percheron horse purchase by W.S. Corsa in 1909 for $10,000, a whopping sum of money back in those days. Corsa married Eugenia Gregory. Carnot would go on to win every ribbing, silver cup and other top prize every event he was entered in. He became the top stud Percheron and sired hundreds of horses throughout the nation.
Sadly, most of those ribbons, cups and other prizes were lost in the fire in 2012, but his legacy lives on, as does the legacy the other Percheron on the Gregory Farm, Radziwell, who also represented the farm well.
There will also be information about the formation of the Gregory Laboratory, which developed the first serum to combat hog cholera and the Gregory School.
After going through the history of the farm, the Carnot barn will be open for a tour. This is the barn where Carnot and Radziwell rested in between shows and sired their many offspring. It has been well taken care of over the years.
Also open to tours is the log cabin which, while not native to the property, dates back to the 1800’s.
For those who want to have a glimpse of what life was like back in the early 1900’s, the Dukett’s unearthed the old buggy and wagon that Eugenia “Gregory” Corsa, her mother’s grandmother, used to go back and forth to town in.
“This buggy was the main form of transportation that our great grandmother used to go back and forth to town when her husband was out making all of those deals,” Dukett said. “So, we got it all cleaned up and ready for display. Imagine traveling to White Hall, but imagine it without the road that we travel now, in this antique buggy.”
While they will be open all three days, one might want to come early to get in on the special surprise.
“Instead of having a cake for our 200th anniversary, we have ordered special cookies made by Phyllis Vincent in the shape of Carnot’s head,” Dukett said. “We will hand them out until they are gone.”