Dr. John Goodhue Treadwell willed his 150 acre farm and its buildings in Topsfield to the Essex Agricultural Society for the promotion of the science of agriculture. For years the society leased the land to a string of farmers, and also used the land to conduct agricultural experiments.
It was an exciting turn of events. George Bailey Loring, a prominent physician and politician, called the gift a “golden opportunity” in his 1858 address to the Essex Agricultural Society. He said it represented “not only a compliment to the reputation we have won as a society, but as by far the most valuable means we possess for carrying on the work we have begun.”
For many decades, the Society leased the Treadwell Farm to a string of farmers, and it operated with varying degrees of profitability.