The property at 8281 Farrington Hollow Road at Town's Corners in Arkwright is shown on the 1854 wall map of the county as occupied by L. Stebbins. The 1867 and 1881 county atlases show it as belonging to H. J. (Horace J.) Town (1823-1909), son of Aaron and Lucina (Harvey) Town. Horace and his wife Florella (Ward) (1835-1879) Town ran this large and productive farm, which occupied most of lot 2 in Arkwright, a piece of lot 3 in Arkwright, and a piece of lot 58 in Villenova. The farm remained with the family at least until 1948.
The farm was owned and run by Horace's son Aaron Ward (1854-1933) and his wife Amanda Gustafva Eriksson (1874-1948) Town(e) for many years following Horace's death in 1909. Much earlier, Aaron had first married Parthenia Jay (1854-?), daughter of Joshua (1820-1902) and Catherine (1818-1906) Jay of Villenova, in 1877. Two known diaries of Aaron's cover most of 1877 and 1878. These diaries recount his work days on the farm, visitors, his and his family's comings and goings, the farm commerce, and his courtship, marriage, and apparent divorce of Parthenia. A tin-type portrait of Aaron, Parthenia, Aaron's brother Horace Leslie, and Horace's future wife Eva A. Palmer taken July 5, 1877, as recounted in the 1877 diary, exists. Aaron and Parthenia had one child, Katherine B. (Town) (Pierce) Williams (1878-1946).
In December of 1878 Aaron left Arkwright for Michigan, where he worked at least until the end of the year for his uncle George Clinton Ward (1841-?) in Montcalm county. One of the last pages of the 1878 diary gives the name of the village that his older cousin Arad B. Town (1844-19??), son of Horace's brother Bethuel Harvey Town (1817-1894) and Lydia Sessions (1821-1846), lived for many years - Unionville in Tuscola county, Michigan. Arad and his wife are mentioned in the 1877 diary as having visited the farm, but otherwise there is little evidence of contact with Arad after he left Arkwright for Michigan as a young man. In the December 31 entry of the 1878 diary Aaron says that he had bought another diary. This is interesting because that diary likely describes Aaron's further work and movements in Michigan, and may substantiate the lore among his descendants that he had gone to California to work but had lost a leg in a railroad coupling accident. Unfortunately, that diary is not found.
It is known that Aaron at some time returned to farming in Arkwright and married Amanda in 1893. Amanda had immigrated from Sweden with her cousin Ida Svensson in 1892. In addition to the diaries, many of Amanda's letters from Sweden survive, as well as an essay she wrote describing her trip to America with Ida. Aaron and Amanda lived and worked dairying on the farm, he until his death in 1933, and she until her death in 1948.
The 1906 Town reunion portrait (first photo) was taken at the house. Aaron, Amanda, and the twins Grace (1905-1972) and Guy (1905-1980) are in the second row behind the left-most three boys seated in the front row. Aaron and Amanda's son Roger (1895-1969) may be the left-most of the three boys. Aaron's brother Horace Leslie (1859-1922), who is prominent in the diaries, is behind Aaron over Aaron's left shoulder. Horace Leslie's wife Eva A. Palmer Town (1863-19??) is likely to Horace Leslie's right, and their son Ernest Leslie (1888-1966) is the left-most young man with a bow tie in the back row. The newly married Grover (1885-1976) and Lottie (Spurr; 1888-1942) Town are in the back row in front of the right-most window (Grover descended from Horace J. Town's brother Martin Hiram Town (1821-1914)). The right-most couple is Charles A. (1870-1941) and Sophia (Holtz) Town (Charles is the youngest son of Horace J.'s brother Bethuel Harvey Town (1817-1894) and Mercy Ann Thayer (1836-1907)). The older generation of Towns living at the time - Martin Hiram, Horace J., Clarissa (Town) Morey, Lewis D., Silas, Harriet (Town) Spencer, Julia Ann (Town) Farrington - is likely represented in the photo, but none has been definitively identified.
A number of photos of the house taken in the 1920s exist and are represented below. By 1929 significant changes had been made to the house, particularly the porch.