The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Clean Ohio Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) provides funding to assist in the preservation of farmland throughout Ohio. A portion of the Gabriel Farm, owned by brothers John (along with his wife, Hannah) and Bruce Gabriel, was recently protected using the LAEEP. The 188-acre parcel in Harlem Township is comprised mostly of corn/bean crop fields with a section of woods.
The Delaware County Board of Commissioners serves as the Certified Local Sponsor for the LAEPP in Delaware County. On behalf of the Commissioners, the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District coordinates the application process and annual monitoring of easements. John Gabriel shared the following information concerning the history of the farm:
“The Gabriel Family Farm, located on Harlem Road in Harlem Township, Galena, Ohio, was established in the early 1800s through land warrants for US military services. The first family to acquire enough warrants both by his military service and purchasing more up to nearly 1000 acres was Diaditus Keeler. He and his large family became the first permanent settlers on this tract. In 1864, they sold this farm to Thomas H. Marriott whose family owned, improved, and farmed it until 1927, when it was sold and owned by multiple finance companies through October 31, 1936. Walter and Mary Gabriel from Union County purchased it in the depth of the Great Depression, struggled to keep it for many years, but ultimately prevailed with their hard work. Hopefully, with it remaining a farm, their efforts will be remembered.”