Squire's Tavern History

The building being restored by the Barkhamsted Historical Society has seen many owners over its long history.  An 1801 land record specifically mentions the building and other evidence indicates that there was a house on the site at least as early as 1795.  From the 1820's to the 1860's the building was owned by Bela Squire and family.  The tavern was operated during at least the early part of this period, and perhaps even before Bela Squires owned it.  The next long term owner was the Ullmann family who operated a farm here from the 1880's to the 1920's.  The farm then became part of Peoples State forest and the building is currently owned by the State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.  

Squire's Tavern Ownership Chart
Shown below is a chart of the various owners of the Squires Tavern building and property.  

A     A real nice photo of the Squires Tavern when it was owned by the Ullmann family who operated the farm shown here.  This photo probably taken about 1920 and is looking east.  Today the field in the foreground is the main parking lot of the Mathies Area of Peoples Forest.  The barn to the left is no longer standing.

    The Ullmann Farm Years
On July 7,1884 the ship Gellert reached American shores with its cargo of German immigrants fleeing the turmoil and hardships of their home land. They knew that hardships lay ahead but hoped for peace, security, and opportunity. Among the passengers were the family of Johann and Augusta Ullmann with six children. Perhaps by train they made their way to New Hartford, CT and at this time we do not know who was serving as host and anchor in that town for the new arrivals.

On March 9,1885 the Ullmanns purchased the former Squire's farm from John Allen of New Hartford who had operated the farm for the past 10 years. Soon the family was hard at work using family experience gained by generations of farming in Germany. The years that followed were hard but the farm provided food for the table, a limited income, and a setting for large family gatherings. Three more children were born: twin boys, and a daughter who died at birth. Augusta passed away on Sept. 12,1912 from pneumonia and the farm was worked by the second and third generations with Johann and Oswald as managers.  On March 28, 1924 Johann Ullmann was charged and killed by the large bull that had recently injured Oswald's daughter Bertha. Oswald continued to operate the farm until August 14, 1929, when he sold to the State the 200 acre farm, including a hay field in Beaver Meadow, to become a part of Peoples State Forest.

Local families and those spread across the U.S. are sharing their family history with the Barkhamsted Historical Society and providing a window on to the life on a German immigrant farm. Research has uncovered that Johann Ullmann's sister Auguste and her husband Johann Richter bought the Uriel Spencer farm in 1886. The Richter family lived in the stone farm house that can still be seen near the junction of Eddy and Rust Roads.

On August 15,1889 Auguste, who was deaf, was struck and killed by a train while she was walking along the tracks between New Hartford and her home. Johann Richter sells the farm to Mary Hepp in 1911 and we lose track of this family.

Johann Ullmann's mother Johanne Christiane Huttig lived with the family on the farm until her death.

For more information on the Ullmann family genealogy, click here.

Tragedy at Ullmann Farm
Article from the March 28, 1924 Winsted Citizen:


Well Known Pleasant Valley Farmer Meets Violent End While Assisting Grandson on His Farm.

Tossed into the air by an enraged bull on this farm in Pleasant Valley late yesterday afternoon; John W. Ullmann, 78, a well-known and prosperous farmer and a resident of the town of Barkhamsted for 38 years, suffered a broke neck when he landed, resulting in his almost instant death. Miss Bertha Ullmann, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Oswald Ullman and granddaughter of the deceased, who suffered a painful laceration of one leg last week when attacked by the same bull, was today discharged from the Litchfield county hospital. The two-year old Guernsey bull was butchered at the Ullman farm this morning.

The funeral of Mr. Ullmann will be held at the family home in Pleasant Valley Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Rev. H. Renmann, pastor of the Lutheran church in Collinsville, officiating. Burial will be in Riverside cemetery, Pleasant Valley.

The animal had been tied and chained in a stall in the barn and Mr. Ullmann's grandson, John Schofield, 18, was preparing to let it out. He had unfastened the rope and was attempting to take off the chain when the grandfather who had been standing at a safe distance in the barn, became impatient and started to aid him. He had just reached the animal when the chain became unfastened and the animal dashed for Mr. Ullmann and threw him in the air as it made a mad rush for the door. Schofield retained his presence of mind and closed the door preventing the animal from coming back and goring the prone body of his grandfather.

Born in Rentnitz, Saxony, Germany Nov. 9, 1845, Mr. Ullmann came to this country in 1884. He spent nine months in New Hartford and moved to the farm in Pleasant Valley 39 years ago yesterday. Mr. Ullmann leaves six children, William of Mill River, Mass., Charles of Port Murray, N.J., Oswald, living at home, Mrs. Henry Fischer of Los Angeles, Cal., Mrs. George Slater of Pleasant Valley and Mrs. F. O. Klakring of Hartford, 22 grandchildren and three great grand children.

Mr. Ullmann was president of the Lutheran church in New Hartford.

Children from the Gilbert home have camped on the Ullmann farm for the past several summers.



Tavern mentioned in the Barkhamsted Centennial
Historical reference
to the Squires Tavern building and the surrounding area from the Barkhamsted Centennial published in 1881:

From page 33 in the Centennial is part of the historical address by William Wallace Lee:

About a mile below, on the east side of the river, lived James Chaugham and his descendants, of whom I shall say more further on.  Going south from Chaugham's a mile or more, there is on the left hand, just as you emerge from the woods, an old cellar, where, about 1800, lived a mulatto named Bristol, or Bristor, or Ambrister, no one seems to be positive about the name.  About one fourth of a mile to the south from this old cellar, and on the opposite side of the road, near two large oaks, stood the dwelling, or cabin, of Humphrey Quamino, a mulatto, who is well remembered by the old people.  Peter Bennett lived and kept a tavern in the latter part of the last century where Bela Squire lived and died.  It was afterwards owned by Saul Upson, who moved to Ohio about 1827.  Just south of this place on the opposite side, just over the fence from the James Peter's place, was the old Foote house, so called, when erected I do not know, but it was very old as I remember it.  From this house, I am informed, Enoch Burwell moved to Ohio about 1825.  A few rods south from my father's house, and before reaching his father's house, on the left hand, stood a slab hut, or shanty, where De Forrest lived.
(then Lee goes on to other areas away from Squire's Tavern)

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