Daniels Family Marks 250th Year on Land
The 2009 celebration of Founders Day this week in Foxborough, Mass., is special for members of the Daniels family. They are celebrating their founder, Francis Daniels, because they still occupy the land which he purchased June 4, 1759, according to The Foxborough Reporter.
The land was a working farm for most of its settled existence but today it is home to Normandy Farms Campground.
The campground is there today thanks to the foresight of sixth-generation family member Norman Daniels and his family, who were campers and loved the outdoors. A college paper prepared by their son Albert – known as Dan most of his life – laid out a business plan for starting a campground. Capital investment would be minimal compared to other ideas that might have shown promise and a decision was made to go ahead with the plan.
Normandy Farms Campground welcomed its first families in 1971 when camping fees were $3.50 per night. There would be no turning back as the family was driven not only to make its business venture successful, but to preserve the land and its heritage.
More campsites were added, an office, recreation hall and swimming pools. And still it grew to welcome not only campers but recreational vehicles.
This family campground and RV park received top ratings for excellence from Woodall’s each year for more than 20 years. Three times it was voted RV Park of the Year by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and in 2003 was featured on the Travel Channel that highlighted the world’s seven best camping and RV areas.
Operation of the campground and RV park is now in the hands of the three children of Norman and Jeannette Daniels: Dan as president and general operations manager, Janice as vice president and office manager and Bob as treasurer and maintenance manager.
Dan’s wife Doris is recreation director and their three children, Marcia, Kristin and Mark, who comprise the eighth generation along with Bob’s son Shaun, have also stepped into a role in the family legacy.
Marcia’s two children, Jill and Cassidy, grandchildren of Dan and Doris, make up the ninth generation of family members working the land that Francis Daniels called Normandy, a link to the region in France where he had been born.
It is a time of celebration, and for the occasion, Normandy Farms will return to its roots providing its weekend campers sheep shearing and wool weaving demonstrations, an opportunity to view barn babies and enjoy pony rides. Arts, crafts, fishing and a video of Normandy Farms through the Years will be intermingled with introductions, presentations and music.
It also is a time of reflection and Scott Daniels is privileged to be working the land of his ancestors.
“I think of what they went through, just to build a stone wall while I use a tractor” as he reflects on the rigors of farm life over the years. “I look around at this old house and I am fortunate to be the one who lives here,” but it is not without its challenges. His working the land of his ancestors is a “labor of love” but he is thankful to still be there on the farm working the land as many had done before him. Scott’s wife Corrinne
Dan Daniels marvels at the wonder of it all, what his ancestors accomplished and what has now been built up around them as they continue working the land in an effort to preserve it. The campground and RV park are successful beyond their wildest dreams, “but it is just the means to an end,” he said. “It’s all about remaining on the land and working together as a family to preserve the land on which we have lived for nine generations”
The time for celebration had come, one that few families ever reach, that of remaining on the land of their ancestors for 250 years. Dan hopes the anniversary celebration “will find family members even more deeply committed to continuing the legacy of Normandy Farm.”