The Old Homestead was founded 234 years ago in Salem.
“I’m the first woman, which is really exciting,” said Iris Rogers.
Rogers is the eighth generation from her family to be at the helm. A few years ago she and her siblings transformed the once thriving dairy farm into a hemp growing operation called Homestead Hemp 1787.
“It’s been a struggle,” she said. “But also that’s what happens when you make a big change.”
And with all that change on such historic grounds came curiosity. In March, Rogers started investigating an old family legend suggesting her great-grandfather Elbert hid the farm’s deed in a milk can.
“My grandma and grandpa had taken the deed out of the milk can to transcribe it,” she said. “Did he move it after that? Or did it really get filled with milk, sent out for delivery one day and that’s how we lost it.
So the search was on and she decided to share the journey on the popular social media app, TikTok.
Rogers started following clues, which brought her to some unique places around the farm.
“It had been hiding right in that corner,” she said pointing to a small cubby inside an old barn. “It was an old book and it had a poem in it.
After some quick research on the poem, Rogers was led to a familiar place.
“This apple tree, everyone in my family has fallen out of, except for me,” she said.
But what she and her family didn’t realize is that the tree is practically hollow.
“There was something wedged in there,” she said.
The scavenger hunt of sorts attracted thousands of viewers on TikTok.
“I don’t spend a lot of time on the app,” she said. “But I really like creating content.”
Several discoveries later, Rogers was growing suspicious.
“After a while, I was like, I don’t really think we’re looking for the deed,” she said.
And she was right but the journey would lead to some other discoveries around the farm.
“I was so excited because, Currier and Ives, I know that name.”
It turned out to be a reprint, which can be valuable, but Rogers says there is no price for some good old family history.
“It’s incredible to me that we’re still here and that we’re still farming and finding all these special things left behind by family members,” she said. “It’s very nostalgic and also sentimental. It feels like they’re still here, still alive which I love.”