About Bellemont Farm

History of Bellemont Farm

We purchased the 110 acre property that is now Bellemont Farm in early 2021, and are beginning the long hard process of returning it to agricultural production after it has been left unmaintained for several decades. While acquiring the property we learned about its interesting history and its connection to the site up the road where we operate Big Bear Gear.

Our new farm is located on the site of the historic Upper Bellemont farm. This area was settled and owned by prominent members of the Hopewell community. It was originally settled by the third Daniel Coxe (1700-1758). In 1765 the Upper Bellemont  farm was sold to Samuel Stout. The Stout family held the property until 1821, when it was sold to George Larasen. George Larasen in turn passed the property to his son Gershom, who in turn passed it on to his two daughters, one of whom married Samuel Ege. Samuel Ege and his wife Mary bought her sister’s rights and gained full title in 1860. Samuel Ege left the property to his wife in 1872, and in 1865 their son Gershom Ege bought it. He sold it to Robert Montgomery in 1914, who sold it to Mercer County in 1935. In the 1950’s and thereafter the land passed into the hands of various electric utility companies. Since approximately 1999, it appears that the land was no longer farmed. In 2021, we purchased the 110 acre property from a utility company and, cognizant of its history, again named it Bellemont Farm.

The Connection to Big Bear Gear

We are also the owner’s of Big Bear Gear up the road on Route 29 (historically known as the Larasen/Ege Farmstead). This property too was part of the lands owned by Samuel Stout. That property and surrounding lands was initially developed by Andrew D.W. Stout, the nephew of Samuel Stout. This property was also acquired by Gershom Larasen–the same one that purchased Upper Bellemont. Gershom Larasen established his residence on the Upper Bellemont farm, and the property up the road (now Big Bear Gear) was utilized as a tenant property. As noted above, Larasen passed the property to his two daughters. Mary Larasen married Samuel Ege and they occupied the Upper Bellemont farm. Her sister Emma married Asher Ege, Samuel Ege’s brother, and they occupied the property that is now the site of Big Bear Gear. The house adjacent to Big Bear Gear is likely the house built for Asher Ege and his wife Emma. Asher Ege died in 1875, leaving the property to his wife Emma. When she died in 1878, the property passed to her sister Mary Larasen Ege. When Mary Ege died in 1881, it seems likely that her eldest child, Horatio Ege, established residency at the Larasen/Ege site. In 1887, financial issues among the heirs resulted in the Ege/Larasen site being sold outside the family. Our common ownership of the Upper Bellemont Farm and the Larasen/Ege Farmstead marks the first time in more than 130 years that these two properties are under common ownership.