Campbell Symmes and his family immigrated from Renfrew, Scotland prior to the start of the Revolutionary War in 1774. They were part of a colony that purchased lands on the Connecticut River, in Vermont, that now constitutes the towns of Ryegate and Barnet.
On April 7, 1796 Campbell’s 5th child, Robert, was born. Robert “in his tall form” lived until he was 83 and like his parents also had 11 children. His obituary stated, “He was a farmert, and an excellent mechanic – in 1824 building with his own hands his dwelling house, which will compare favorably with farm house built at the present day.”
On March 25, 1876 Robert and Jane Symmes entered into a lease agreement with their fifth child, John H. Symes. John, who fought in the Civil War battles of Kinston, Whitehall and Goldsboro in North Carolina for the United States Army, later changed the spelling of his name to “Symes”. The lease covered the farm in Ryegate and also provided that “John would have a lien against the estate to cover improvements to the property and increase the productivity of the land.” Shortly thereafter, construction on the barn began.