When Newbury was settled by Europeans in the late 1700s, one of the first colonists to spend the winter in the area lived on the hills just east of Scotch Hollow, near what is now Jefferson Hill Road. After the turn of the century, the Randall family lived there, building three houses in 1815, 1840, and 1843, all of which are still standing. One is now home to Franklin ‘Nic’ Nichols and Terri Tibbatts, and has been beautifully restored by Nic, a fine woodworker.
Nic and Terri teamed up with neighbor Cary Vaughan, who lives in another Randall family farmhouse, to conserve some of their neighborhood’s rural land. When the owner of the third historic Randall house moved out, the three purchased that home together and renovated it. They conserved the property’s 48 acres of farmland and forest with VLT, and sold it to a young couple who have ideas for an agricultural business. Nic and Terri then donated a conservation easement on their own property, with 147 acres of farm and forestland, including 21 acres of prime agricultural soils that are hayed by a farmer. Within the forest are two vernal pools where amphibians breed in the spring, and a wetland of northern white cedars. These areas have been protected to ensure good water quality and wildlife habitat.