Saturday, December 24, 2011

Century Farm

Brian is a fairly new veterinarian; he graduated from OSU in June and has been practicing since then. To accommodate his on-call schedule, we had our family Christmas last Sunday. On a dairy farm, there are always chores to do. Naturally, the morning started with milking, feeding cows and calves, and tending to "ladies in waiting," otherwise known as artificially inseminating cows and heifers in heat. After those chores were completed, we gathered at Allen and Diane's for a huge spread of food and time together as a family.

We took the customary Christmas photos, and then it was time to open presents. A couple of months ago, Greg and I decided that we would do the legwork to get the dairy farm recognized as an Ohio Century Farm. The Century Farm program is designed to recognize farms that have been in the same family continuously for at least one hundred years. It requires the applicants to show deed records and tell how previous owners are related. Here's the letter that we gave to Allen and Diane on Christmas:

December 17, 2011

Mom and Dad,

Farming in our family has a rich heritage. We are proud of the traditions you have set for us, but at the same time, we realize that our family has a long and proud history, much greater than we can sometimes fathom.

About a month ago, we began a project to nominate the dairy farm for the Ohio Century Farm Program, which recognizes farms that have been farmed by the same family consecutively for one hundred years. We started by researching the deed records for the property at the County Recorder’s Office. From there, we set out to connect the dots and map out our family’s lineage along with the deed transfers.

The time we spent trying to decipher relationships between deed grantors and grantees was confusing, frustrating, puzzling, and also very rewarding. The farther back we traced the property, the more adamant we became at finding connections. We relied on a great deal of internet genealogy, but we also discussed the relationships with neighbors and family members. The deeds set out on our office floor for the better part of a month with colored papers showing arrows, jotted notes, maiden names, family trees and more.

We eventually reached a roadblock, when we could no longer show a relationship between Samuel Dewalt (Hattie’s father) and E.L. Mesnard, who he purchased part of the farm from. We were able to trace part of the farm that Samuel bought back to 1889, which shows that 53 1/3 of the acres have been in our family since that point.

What we thought would be a simple project that we could complete by Christmas was just recently finished. While we hoped that the sign commemorating the farm’s status would be here by Christmas, the project consumed more time than we anticipated. So, your gift for today is copies of the deed records (as found in deed books and on microfilm in the Recorder’s Office,) a table outlining the property’s history, a copy of the Century Farm Application, and our utmost appreciation for instilling in your family farming traditions that date back long before paper records show.

Thank you,
Greg and Rose
Allen and Diane reading a table that lists the previous farm owners and relationships.

We'll talk more about what we learned about our farm's heritage in the next post, but the moral of the story is that farming and family are intertwined. Enjoy this time with family this Christmas and as you count your blessings, remember the American farmers that feed and clothe you. Merry Christmas!