Vernon, NJ. – The Historic “RickeyFarm” is known to many as a venue that has produced and hosted music festivals, scouting events, weddings, fundraising benefits, as well as, educational, church and other non-profit events for more than two decades.
The Rickey Family has an Amazing Community Service Record. They have been an active, committed contributor to the community for 247 years. The Rickey family’s commitment to the community seems endless. Here’s some of the historic background to get acquainted with RickeyFarm’s History:
William J. “Jamie” Rickey, Director of RickeyFarm Ministries and owner/operator of RickeyFarm “The Venue” and Rickey & Son Farm, grew up in a community service based home. In the last two generations, Jamie’s father was a Special Police Officer, Volunteer Fireman and Court Bailiff. Following in his footsteps, Jamie was a longtime member of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service and served as a Commissioned District Fire Warden for seven years, NJFFS “A-23” Wildland Fire Engine found its home and Headquarters at RickeyFarm. Jamie Rickey is also past Vice President of the Vernon Chamber of Commerce, former member of the Vernon Township Environmental Committee. As well he also ran campaigns for Town Council and the historic election of Vernon’s Township’s 1st Elected Mayor.
But it is looking back further in history that that explains why the Rickey family is so deeply woven into the community. It starts with the settling of this family farm property in the late 1700’s.
The original settlers and first generation of this family farm, John and Abigail Barton Hinchman, received the original +/- 600 acre property from Abigail’s father, Joseph Barton, as a wedding gift in 1769. Settling here with the Revolutionary War looming was the set up for RickeyFarm to become a prevalent part of history.
Unlike Joseph Barton, a staunch British Loyalist to the end, John and Abigail Hinchman are both listed patriots in DAR (Daughters of The American Revolution) and SAR (Sons of The American Revolution) published records. John Hinchman, son of Vernon’s first doctor, served as a surgeon in The Revolutionary War. Abigail Hinchman fed Washington’s troops as they were encamped here on the Hinchman Farm in-route from Newburg to Morristown. The account includes an inventory of the animals that were slaughtered. Abigail is even more famous for hiding a revolutionary hero from the British Tories who were chasing him. She hid him in a barrel covered with flax seed, while those British Tories had dinner at her table. The Hinchman’s original homestead was located within the immediate area around the current Rickey homestead. The current existing 1850’s homestead was the replacement home for the Hinchman “Mansion”, as it was called in the Estate Division of John Hinchman of 1800 .
One of John and Abigail Hinchman’s daughters was named Abigail, we call her Abigail the 2nd. Young Abigail married William Rickey from Basking Ridge NJ. William Rickey was the son of Colonel Israel Rickey, NJ Militia. I believe its possible that John Hinchman may have served at the Revolutionary War Hospital located in Basking Ridge NJ and met Col. Israel Rickey there. This may be the scenario that led to their children’s marriage.We are currently researching that. Anyways, Colonel Israel Rickey’s family were original settlers of the Basking Ridge area and of NJ. William and Abigail Hinchman Rickey settled one of the 13 tracts of land in the division of John Hinchman’s Estate. They continued to buy other tracts inherited by her siblings amassing 325 acres of the former Hinchman lands before William Rickey passed leaving the farm to his children.
So the family story passed down that George Washington himself addressed his troops from standing on a rock that still remains less than a foot away from the pavement at the northern end of the main farmhouse driveway, is most likely true. We are currently looking for documentation of this. Family members and State highway crew members remember many times when “Grandma Rickey” would remind the highway crews that they “Could not remove that rock because George Washington stood there and addressed his troops.”
The main farm house circa 1850’s is fully furnished, decorated and equipped with a near complete collection of the family’s household belongings originating from the time period of 1850 to 1950. The home is slated for use as a “Farm Family Life Museum” and will most likely be shifted into non-profit/foundation ownership to preserve the collective historical value of the structure and collection which is uncommonly intact together. The entire house has been sorted and is ready for curating. The next step is inventory and appraisal. The historic home/museum can be utilized for a unique stay experience in each of its four bedrooms creating a supporting revenue stream. The five acres of land attached to the home site includes approximately 4 acres of agricultural lands and an artesian spring covered by a stone “spring house” that is the origin of a stream. The Carriage House across Route 94 from the main farmhouse sits on land that was part of the “Mansion Lot” in the Hinchman Division of 1800. Either the “Carriage House” or the stone “Spring House” is the oldest existing structure remaining and they may both date to the Hinchman’s here around 1770.