Tilling the land in Saline County is a tradition for many families. Many children have been born on or at least near the same ground that they in turn made a living from; passing the farms down to their own descendants.
For more than 75 of these families, sowing and reaping the same soil is a legacy that dates back more than 100 years. These farms, called century farms as part of a special recognition program, will be honored next Tuesday, Nov. 9, in an event sponsored by the Saline County Commission and the University of Missouri Extension Council.
"It is a remarkable thing to have a farm in the family for 100 years," said Cynthia Crawford of the University of Missouri Outreach and Extension. "That's a proud thing for any county to have."
The celebration of century farms is quickly becoming an annual event as each year more such farms are discovered in the county. This year's event will include the acknowledgment of 11 new farms which have been in the same families for at least a century, totaling over 800 acres of land in Saline County. New farms added to the century farms list date back as far as 1840, with ownership never leaving the respective families.
Last year's century farms recognition event was the first of its kind, and it brought a crowd, filling the circuit court courtroom at the Saline County Courthouse, Crawford said. "Last year we had 150 in there, and 150 is capacity," she said. "It was just such a wonderful, spirited event."
Held in the same room in the courthouse this year, the evening will be kicked off by Marshall High School choral students led by instructor Ron Sayer. Tom Payne, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri-Columbia, will be keynote speaker for the ceremony, which will last about an hour, then finish with a reception in the rotunda.
"This is open to the public to come in and enjoy an evening of celebration," Crawford said.
The event starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9. The following farms will be acknowledged:
* Richard Blackburn's 80 acres of farmland near Malta Bend, acquired in 1895;
* Jerry Brown's 40 acres of farmland near Marshall, acquired in 1876;
* Barbara Houston Moore's 574 acres of farmland near Malta Bend, acquired in 1868;
* Thomas Krause's 40 acres of farmland north of Sweet Springs, acquired in 1881;
* Robert Mull's 120 acres of farmland near Malta Bend, acquired in 1901;
* Benjamin Pemberton, 240 acres of farmland in rural Marshall, acquired in 1840;
* Thelma Schrader and Georgia Hibbard's 78 acres of farmland near Miami, acquired in 1872;
* Emma Sprigg's 80 acres of farmland in the Nelson area, acquired in 1892;
* Jennie Swarthout's 40 acres of farmland in rural Marshall, acquired in 1867;
* Kathleen Thomas's 73 acres of farmland in rural Marshall, acquired in 1888; and
* Harold and Evelyn Windmeyer's 202 acres of farmland near Malta Bend, acquired in 1903.
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