Salute to century-old farms includes two in Harrison
By Grace Schneider • gschneider@courier-
journal.com • February 15, 2010
When Edsel and Betty Byrd want to escape, they head to her family’s farm near New Middletown where her grandfather settled in 1878.
The 95 acres of woods and cropland bordering Buck Creek includes a cemetery with the graves of Cherokee Indians and a Revolutionary War soldier. It’s a special place “and it just feels like another world,” Betty Byrd said.
On Friday, Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman will recognize the property known as the Kraft farm with the Hoosier Homestead Award, which honors farms that are kept in the same family for 100 years or longer. A second Harrison farm – settled in 1852 by the Rosenbarger family at 5850 Devils Elbow Road – also will be recognized during the ceremony at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.
Of the 35 recipients, 27 will receive the Centennial Award for keeping a farm in the family for at least 100 years; another eight, including the Rosenbarger farm, will receive the Sesquicentennial Award for keeping the farm 150 years or more.
This year’s list includes family farms in 29 counties, the oldest being a Tippecanoe property that dates to 1824.
Residents must submit deed records and other documents to the Indiana State Department of Agriculture in order show that the property has remained in the family continuously for a century and consists of 20 acres or generates $1,000 in agricultural products annually.
Several other Harrison farms have been recognized in previous years.
Owners of the properties share a strong sense of pride about their family’s land and its heritage, said Karen Schwartz, president of the Historical Society of Harrison County whose grandmother was a Rosenbarger.
She and her family live in the large, white Greek Revival farmhouse where she said relatives carted a wooden corner cabinet from Virginia. It remains in the same corner now – and in recent years, she found inside a ticket to Harrison’s
annual county fair from 1869.
Schwartz said her family raises Angus cattle, chickens and turkeys on the 90 acres.
When she drives to Indianapolis, she said, she intends for all five of her children, including two at Franklin College, to join her and her mother at the ceremony. Someday, she said, one of them could become the seventh generation to live there.
Byrd and her husband also will be at the ceremony, and Betty Byrd only wishes she could reach into the past and bring her mother and father along. They’d be so proud, she said.
Reporter Grace Schneider can be reached at (812) 949-4040.