The Davies Farmhouse was built in 1836. It was originally part of a 450-acre farm that ran from Rockland Lake to the Hudson River.
Dr. Lucy Virginia Meriwether (Dockie) graduated from New York’s Woman’s Medical College in 1886. She was one of the first female doctors in the U.S. Dr. Lucy Meriwether was related to Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition team. Lide Meriwether, Lucy's mother, was a well-known southern suffragist who was a friend of Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone, and was instrumental in the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920.
In 1891 Arthur B. Davies and Dr. Lucy Meriwether married and purchased what is now the Davies home farm for $6,500.00. It consisted of 38 acres, a two-story farmhouse and a barn. The farmhouse was built in 1836 and is of the early frontier federalist style. It has many similarities to President Monroe’s, Ash Lawn home in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Arthur B. Davies was a well-known artist and a member of the famous "Eight." He was president of the American Artists and Sculptors that orchestrated the Armory Show of 1913, which introduced impressionists Picasso, Rodin, Degas, Matisse and Marcel Duchamp to America. The Nude Descending a Staircase was first shown here. In 1998, the book The Lives, Loves and Art of Arthur B. Davies was written by Bennard B. Perlman.
Dr. Lucy Virginia Davies, ran a full time medical practice from her farmhouse, delivering over 6,000 babies in Congers, Valley Cottage and Rockland Lake. She also became an acclaimed farmer, shipping strawberries to New York City from her farm in Congers.
Dockie and Arthur's son Niles Sr. and his wife Erica took over the farm. They were dairy farmers until they suffered financial loses during the great depression. At that point Niles Sr. started growing apples and vegetables on the Nelson Farm, which is now our Route 304 farm. Niles Sr. and Erica became well known county wide for their fresh fruit and vegetables, especially our sweet corn. Erica would deliver fresh vegetables to AT&T in New York City and many other county wide stores. Many Famous restaurateur's, such as, Dinty Moore would often come to the farm for fresh vegetables for their meals.
Niles Jr. married Janet Mandell in 1962. Niles and Jan developed the farm into what is is today. they planted thousands of apple trees and started the pick your own apples operation. they also built out two farm stands and provided countless bushels of corn and tomatoes to the local community for over 50 years.
Niles and Jan have three children, Niles Meriwether Davies III, Lee Alan Davies and Chris Davies Nevin, who have found time to have successful careers in the local community as well as keep Dr. Davies Farm moving into future generations.
The farm has been the site of many Saturday Night Live spoofs, TV commercials and movies such as Stilletto, Joe, Crazy Joe, Hot Rock, Manhattan Project, Network, Badge 373, Earthly Possessions, Riding In Cars With Boys, Lipstick Jungle, Damages and The Believer, Blacklist, Blindspot and many others. Robert Redford, Peter Boyle, Eli Wallace, Susan Sarandon, Drew Barrymore, Cynthia Nixon, Summer Phoenix, Billy Zane and Ryan Gosling are among the main featured actors to have filmed on Dr. Davies Farm.
In December 2001 Niles received the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the New York State Farm Bureau representing 30,000 farm families. Niles & Jan have the philosophy that you make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.
100th Year Anniversary of Dr. Davies farm
Helen Hayes MacArthur, Isabelle Savell, (Governor Rockefeller's press secretary), Jan Davies, Niles Davies, Jr.
Photo: Warren Inglese, Rockland Journal News, August 1991