The following compilation comes from Ellen Abrams (1999) based on information from Abram English Brown’s History of the Town of Bedford (1891), as well as other sources such as The Bedford Sampler Bicentennial Edition containing Daisy Pickman Oakley’s articles, Bedford Vital Records, New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Town Directories, and other publications from the Bedford Historical Society.
The land now within the boundaries of Bedford was first settled by Europeans around 1640. In 1729 it was incorporated from a portion of Concord (about 3/5 of Bedford) and a portion of Billerica (about 2/5 of Bedford).
In 1630 came the arrival of John Winthrop and Thomas Dudley of the Massachusetts Bay Company. Aboard the Arabella from Yarmouth, England, Winthrop and Dudley sailed, and after a difficult ten week voyage, they landed on the shores of the New World, with Salem and Boston Harbor being the Arabella's earliest destinations. In 1637, the General Court of Massachusetts granted some 2,200 acres (9 km²) of land, including Huckins Farm land to the first Governor, John Winthrop, and to Deputy Governor Thomas Dudley. The following year, the two men agreed to divide the land so that the parcel south of the two large boulders by the Concord River (Brothers Rocks) belonged to Governor Winthrop and north of the Rocks was to belong to Deputy Governor Dudley. Later, Dudley became governor. Dudley’s son Rev. Samuel Dudley and Winthrop’s daughter Mary were married, thus Brothers Rocks were so named because of this marriage of families.
Huckins Farm and Job Lane House
Governor Winthrop’s grandson, Fitz John Winthrop, in 1664, sold 1,200 acres (5 km²) of this land (including what is present day Huckins Farm) to Job Lane (1), a skilled artisan and house builder, in exchange for a house that Lane built for him in Connecticut. (Note: The numbers appended to the names of Lane family members indicate the generation number beginning with Job Lane (1), who immigrated from Rickmansworth, England.) Upon his death, he passed all of this land to his son, John Lane (2), who left it to his three sons, John Lane (3), Job Lane (3), and James Lane (3). John Lane and his wife, Catherine (Whiting), lived on the site, and after she died, he married Hannah Abbott. Upon his death in 1763, their son, Samuel Lane, inherited the land we know as Huckins Farm. Some time after Samuel Lane died in 1802, the house was removed and Peter Farmer built the present farmhouse in the 1840s. We know that Peter and Dorcas Farmer had two children in the late 1820s and 1830s. Later, Banfield succeeded Farmer as the owner.
Samuel W. Huckins, born in 1817, settled on the land about 1870. Huckins was respected for his good judgment and was honored with various offices in town. Maps circa 1875 indicate that what we know as Dudley Road was called Huckins Street. Samuel Huckins lived there until his death in 1892. He had a son, Henry, who was born in 1849, and was living in Bedford in 1910.
In the late 19th century, Dudley Leavitt Pickman, descendant of an old Salem merchant family, and his wife Ellen fell in love with the land. They bought a substantial parcel (mostly Winthrop’s land and a portion of Dudley’s grant). Huckins Farm was a part of this purchase. A direct descendant of both Winthrop and Dudley, Pickman bought the land without knowledge of the Winthrop-Dudley grant. He discovered later that he had purchased his ancestors' lands. The land was used as a dairy farm and apple orchard, in addition to the fields, pasture land, bog garden, and ponds. Chestnut trees lined the old road between the fields. A portion of Dudley Road was named Chestnut Avenue around that time. (Today's Dudley Road and Winthrop Avenue in Bedford, as well as Pickman Drive, are named for these families.)
A large portion of the Pickman land, Huckins Farm, was sold to a developer for condominium development in 1987, and other parcels including the large Pickman house (Stearns Farm) were sold to private parties.