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New Peace Garden dedicated at Murphy Orchards

by jmaloni
Sat, Jun 2nd 2012 07:00 am

Submitted by Carol L. Murphy

Murphy Orchards, Burt

A garden reflecting the "Peaceful Rewards for Fruitful Labors" was dedicated at Murphy Orchards in Burt on Friday, June 1.

The garden is part of the new Binational Heritage Peace Garden Trail, which celebrates 200 years of peace and long-standing friendship between the United States and Canada. The two countries share the world's longest undefended border and have a diverse cross-border heritage.

The Peace Garden constructed at Murphy Orchards was inspired by the profound peace and satisfaction of a farmer overlooking the results of a day well spent in hard, productive labor, conducted in harmony with the living earth. It is a simple garden, built around the 160-year-old outdoor fireplace behind the large, brick farmhouse. A bench faces the prevailing breeze of evening and offers a view of producing apple orchards, growing field crops and majestic, old cherry trees. "Peace" rose bushes and perennial ornamental grasses border slate flagstones.

Four generations of the McClew family cared for the land of this farm. They contemplated the beauty and intricacy of living things and celebrated the joy and dignity of hard physical work. In their endeavors, they weighed many choices and learned to treat their fellow men as they treated their land and their plants - with understanding, moral conviction and social responsibility. Between 1850 and 1861, Charles and Anna Maria McClew were a part of the Underground Railroad network, helping to smuggle people trying to escape from slavery out of the United States and into the freedom - and peace - of Canada.

War of 1812 skirmishes were fought upon the soil of the McClew Farm. British soldiers rowed down Eighteen Mile Creek, the westerly boundary of the farm, and terrorized the new settlers in what is now the Town of Newfane.

The 1812 Peace Garden at Murphy Orchards was built with plants and materials donated by Smith Farm Greenhouses in Newfane, Hahn Sales and Services in Sanborn and Stedman Landscaping in Newfane. Labor was provided by the Newfane United Methodist Youth Group.

The Peace Garden has been planned to grow larger in future years, with the hope that its expansion will mirror the growth of world peace.

Murphy Orchards is a charter member of the National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, the New York State Heritage Trail program, and has been designated a local historic landmark by the Town of Newfane. The farm, located at 2402 McClew Road in Burt, is open to the public and welcomes individuals, groups and social organizations onto the grounds seven days a week.

For additional information, visit www.murphyorchards.com or call 716-778-7926.

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