The Original House

 

The first floor room located on the north west corner of the house features rounded corners; similar round corners can be found in several other early homes in Tiverton including the Hart-Soule-Reynolds home next door. The walls are plaster over plank. The ceiling of this room is the floorboards from the bedroom above. There are two fireplaces and signs of another on the first floor with a “ghost”of a wood stove on the second floor. The first floor fireplace held the original cooking crane.

 

The original part of the home is the only part of the farmhouse with a second floor which is most likely the “attic” described in articles written about Herb Cavacas shootouts from the attic windows. The upstairs windows were replaced in 1970. The removal of wallpaper in 1970 revealed what appeared to be bullet holes in the second floor bedroom in the northwest corner of the house. The wide board flooring is original but was lifted and reinstalled over an underlayment plywood in 1975. Salvaged wood was used to repair the floors. Rose-head nails were used in the construction.The first ell which was also built with post and beam construction and was likely built as a kitchen. Charred beams over the stove pipe-hole suggest a narrow escape from a house fire. There is a low, windowless attic space over the first ell. The beams in the first ell are marked with roman numerals. In 1975 wide pine flooring was installed over fir. The only bathroom is located in the first ell.The kitchen area in the second ell (later addition) has had an open ceiling covered with barn boards since a renovation that removed a drop ceiling during the 1970s. The ceilings and walls in the kitchen are barn boards that were installed in 1974

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Cellars and Stonewalls


The cellars of the house are stone. A smaller section on the northeast corner of the house may have served as a root cellar. The original barn cellar is buried in the hill, west and north of the house. It has some of the most refined stonework of all the foundations, but was so full of manure by 1970 that it was no longer possible to see how large the original barn might have been. 

There is a beautifully constructed dry-laid stone wall in front of the farmhouse running north to south.  The vegetable garden is edged by a tossed field stone wall. The longest stone wall runs north to south through the entire width of the property. There is a four sided stone livestock paddock located in the woodlands, south of what was once an old orchard and small christmas tree nursery. Field stone walls run east to west on portions of both the southern and northern property boundaries.

Previous Owners​​​​​​ 

  • 1717 Owner, Job Almy.
     

  • 1717 -1720  Owner Job Briggs.  Job Briggs built the farmhouse c. 1720 after buying the land from Job Almy  (Book 10 Page 693) Bristol County Registry of Deeds, Taunton, MA
     

  • 1729/30-1733 Owner William Soule.  In 1729/30 William Soule buys the farm from Job Briggs. The following is a description of the farmhouse and the fields that share the southern boundary with the Sanford Farm, which is known as Fox Meadow Farm today: "lying opposite against the new dwelling house of Restcome Sanford and is bounded southerly on the fence at the south end of a field that is now sowed with oats flax and peas as it now stands...To have and to hold of said tract or parcel of land with Housings Buildings orchards meadows fields pastures woods waters within said bounds with all of said granted and bargained premises with appurtenances, privileges & commodities"   (Book 9 Page 191) Bristol County Registry of Deeds, Taunton, MA
     

  • 1733- 1750  Owner Samuel Hart.  In 1733 Samuel Hart buys the farm from William Soule (Book 23 Page 518) Bristol County Registry of Deeds, Taunton, MA

  • 1750 - 1784    Owner Peleg Simmons. On April 17, 1750 Peleg Simmons buys the farm from Samuel Hart for 1600 pounds.


    The Simmons Family of Crandall Road, Tiverton, Rhode Island by Bruce Wild

    Peleg Simmons, Sr. was born December 21, 1716 in Little Compton to parents William Simmons and Abigail Church of Duxbury and Little Compton. Two days before his 23rd birthday he married Mary Brownell on December 19, 1739 in Little Compton and in 1750 bought from Samuel Hart a large farm to the north on Crandall Road in Tiverton. His son, Peleg Simmons, Jr. joined the Rhode Island Militia in 1775 at the beginning of the Revolutionary War and soon became a soldier in the Continental Army under George Washington. He fought at the Battle of Long Island, the British raids on the Rhode Island mainland, Sullivan's Expedition, The Battle of Rhode Island, and The Siege of Rhode Island at the time when British forces occupied Newport. On September 17, 1778, just after The Battle of Rhode Island, Peleg, Jr. lost his 20 year old brother Joseph, who was a member of his company. His grave still lies next to the cornfield at Wingover Farm. Peleg was promoted to Ensign in 1777, Adjutant in 1778, and was Captain of his own company by 1782.

    After the war, Peleg Simmons, Sr. retired in 1784 at the age of 68 and turned the farm over to his son Peleg, Jr. who owned it until 1795 when he sold it to William Hicks. Mary passed away in 1799 at the age of 82 and Peleg, Sr. died in 1807 at the ripe old age of 90. Their farm lives on to this day.

     

  • 1784-1795 Peleg Simmons Jr​​

  • 1795-1808 Owner, William Hicks. In 1795, William Hicks(married Peleg Simmons Jr's  niece Phebe Simmons) buys the farm from Peleg Simmons

  • 1808-1928 Hart Family (John, Rueben, David, Rueben, Horatio)

  • 1928-1944 Herb Cavaca purchased the Horatio Hart Farm. Herb was a fisherman who became a rum runner after realizing there were more profitable ways to make a living on Tiverton's waterfront.  From the farmhouse you could always see who was coming as there was only one easy way in. The long dirt driveway crossed over a wide swatch of wetlands, which narrowed the access points to the farmhouse, making it an ideal hideout for a rum runner. 

    According to former owner, Alex Taber Sr, 1970, there are tunnels in the woods behind the farm that were used to smuggle rum during prohibition, as well as abandoned stills and a machine gun that was buried to conceal it from the law.  Cavaca may have installed a hidden room with a lead door in the original barn cellar. Cavaca's hide surprised the unsuspecting owner's when their backhoe fell into a
     this room while the barn was being razed in the mid 1970’s. If they had known what it was, they may have found  the metal door that served to protect Cavaca and his cases of rum.

    From Kevin Hobson: “At the time Prohibition started Herb Cavaca was a fisherman out of Tiverton, RI making about $15 profit a week running his 40 foot sloop, The Mary. While the boat was tied at the wharf two men came up to the boat and said they were Boston newspapermen. They asked if he could take them out to sea where they could get pictures of "a boat." The 'boat' ended up being a rum runner ship and the men asked him to take some cargo on board which turned out to be 300 cases of whiskey. When they got back in at Rocky Point the men asked him how much money he wanted for the trip. He answered, "Whatever the job is worth to you." They gave him $900. As they left the boat they said, "We'll be down to see you in a couple of days."

    It didn't take long for Herb to realize that running his own load in would make him much more money. He was soon working with Max Fox as a shore contact boat operator and was running several boats, the Cachalot, the Marge, the Hobo, the Tramp, the Mary A., the Idle Hour, the Mazeltov, the Maybe to name a few. The Tramp was piloted by Frank Butler, who Charlie Travers worked with for a time. The Tramp had been captured trying to land a load in Mattapoisett, it was used by the Coast Guard as a patrol boat and renamed CG-813. Ironically it was the boat that caught and sank the Nola. The Marge had been chased and fired on a few times and was said to produce 1350 horsepower.”

  • 1944-1970 Between 1944-1970 the farm was owned by Alex F. Taber, Sr.  Alex and Anne Taber purchased the parcel from Herbert Cavaca on December 6, 1944 along with the farmhouse and, presumably, a barn and other outbuildings. The Taber family raised dairy Holstein dairy cows for milk, as well as Hereford steers and pigs for meat, vegetables, hay and silage. On 1963 September 17, 1963, the Taber family increased the size of the farm when they bought vacant land from Mabel L. Reynolds, whose property abutted the Taber's southerly border. The Reynolds parcel was also owned at one time by a Hart, who later married a Soule, according to neighbor, Peggy Quick, who owned the “Hart and Soule” place in the 1980s. Mabel Reynolds (daughter of Louisa Soule) kept her farmhouse but granted the Taber family a right-of-way to Old Crandall Road.

 

  • The Taber barns. A barn with a dairy parlor and milk house was located on the north side of the driveway on the hill flanking the cow pastures and hay fields, and uphill from a garden shed and the vegetable garden. This barn, made primarily of plywood and corrugated metal, is at the very least the second barn to be built on this site. It was probably built by the Taber family to serve as their dairy barn. A metal silo located on the north end of the barn was used to store silage grown on the farm for the cows. The top level was a milking parlor that was accessible from the top of the hill, allowing the cows to walk in from the field. The level below was built into the hill so that one could access it from the bottom of the hill.​

    The floor of the milking parlor was cement and had troughs that allowed manure to be moved into a manure spreader that was backed into the lower level. Hay was also stored in this barn, and at times, in stacks out in the fields. The Taber family continued  to use the barn and it’s milk house after selling their property, during the time it took to build a new barn on Foxmeadow Farm next door.
    The Taber family also had a smaller plywood barn with cement floor located on the south side of the driveway, in line with the dairy barn, that was used to house pigs.

    There is a cement foundation located south and slightly west of the historic cemetery that was likely the foundation of another one of the Taber livestock barns. The Taber family also used an area in this section of the woods along the driveway to plant a Christmas tree nursery. Ancient apple trees in declining health were still growing near the overgrown, but still grassy meadow where the foundation was as recently as the late 1970’s. There were some rusted cars probably from the 40's -50's on the east side of the stone wall
     

  • In 1970 Dominic and Marjorie Munafo purchased a portion of the Taber family’s combined farmland as two lots that were later unified into one lot. The front lot included a farmhouse, dairy barn, pig barn and shed. The second lot was a woodland with a large pond located on the west end of the farm. The woodland was well populated with wildlife and a diverse and rare community of trees including a combination of coastal oak and holly unique to the region. The diverse inhabitants of the pond were later joined by a population of  brook and rainbow trout stocked by the Munafos.

    The Barns, Honey Shed and Cottage. Sometime during the early 70s, both the dairy barn and pig barn were razed for safety reasons.  Three hotel units in Newport were purchased from the Navy to be converted into new barns. One unit was used to build the Honey Shed on the north side of the driveway where a small garden shed once stood. The old garden shed was used to house a farmhand named Whitie when the Tabers owned the farm, and when they moved,  Whitie stayed behind. There was no heat in this shed, so Whitie was invited to move into the farmhouse in the winter of 1970. He soon wore out his welcome by sharing cigarettes and bawdy stories with the young children in the home. Whitie was moved to Newport and his shed was moved next to the little pond in front of the farmhouse where it functioned as a chicken coop until the day a car that was left in gear rolled down the driveway, crushing the shed. The other two hotel units were used to build the horse barns and garage on the south side of the driveway. The cottage on the north east side of the driveway was a gift shop that was moved over from the Four Corners area in 1972.​

    The farm was named in Wingover Farm 1972 when a 1,200' grass landing strip, Wingover Farm Airport , was installed by Dominc Munafo so that he could fly his Cessna airplane to  Aquidneck Island where his veterinary practice was located. The name “Wingover” came from the aerial maneuver with the same name that also suggests images of the geese, ducks and other waterfowl that fly in and out of the farm's wetlands. After Dominic Munafo acquired a twin engine plane, 51Sierra, that needed a longer area for landing, Wingover Airport was increased in length by leasing part of a field from Fox Meadow Farm. The airstrip was marked by a windsock located at the top of the hill near where the dairy barn once stood and the airplane(s) were tethered beside the pig barn. From time to time, unexpected visitors in various forms of small aircraft would land on Wingover Airport as it is publicly listed and registered with the FAA.  LAT/LONG:41-34-44.3710N 071-08-30.1590W 41-34.739517N 071-08.502650W 41.5789919,-71.1417108

  • 2004-2008. In 2004 Marjorie Jensen and her second husband, Dennis Okeefe, put Wingover Farm into the USDA/ RIDEM. Dennis converted the horse barn into a chicken barn when a covered hallway was added to connect the former horse barn to a nearby barn with no floor. Dennis and Marjorie raised pastured Buff Orpington hens for their eggs, hay and tomatoes.   

    Between 
    2006 and 2008 A new fuel shed and large hay barn with an area below for storing farm equipment were built on the west side of the barnyard. Wiring and barn doors were not installed due to a 2008 death in family and capacity to implement a farm plan.​ 

    2013-2016  In 2014 An application was filed with the RI Agricultural Land Preservation Commision in an effort to preserve the land. The plan was not implemented due to several factors including a 2014 death in the family which left family with no viable way to continue farming the land.
     

  • 20019 Purchased by Douglas DeSimone/Douglas Enterprises/1519 Crandall Rd LLC. Ameresco, LLC to manage a pending solar power plant on the property.




 

  • ***All information on this page was compiled to the best of the knowledge of the contributors as researched through official county files & oral histories. It is not intended to be a document of record.***