Friday, May 21, 2010

John Allen's Hillcrest Farm in Cedar Township

Appeared in the Lucas County Genealogical Society Newsletter  October 2009
Taken from the Chariton Patriot, July 30 1931

Hillcrest Farm in Cedar Township
Homestead Farm of Twenty-four Acres
Becomes one of Largest in Cedar Township

Mr. and Mrs. John H. Allen of Cedar Township have lived for forty years on the same farm.  During that time they have nursed a 24-acre homestead into one of the finest farms in Lucas County, 220 acres of well-improved farmland.

Their life record is not illuminated by any brilliant dash to success.  Instead it is marked by consistent toll, toll of the sort that has made Iowa and Lucas County one of the most substantial states and counties in the United States.

Forty-two years on the same farm is a long time.  Only a few farmers in the county can equal this record.  None of the farmers in Cedar Township have lived that long on the same farm.  But the years haven't seemed long to Mr. and Mrs. Allen since they have been filled with hard work, pleasant days and just a few sorrows and mishaps.

The Allen's record in Cedar Township dates farther back than their forty-two years on the Hillcrest Farm.  Mrs. Allen was Miss Elsie Chambers before her marriage, a daughter of the late Columbus C. Chambers and wife, and she was born and raised just a few miles east of her present home.  Mr. Allen was born and raised just one and one-half miles north of his present farm.  Both the Chambers and Allen homes were located near the historic village of LaGrange, first settlement in Lucas County.

They moved to the homestead of 24 acres at the time of their marriage and have lived there continuously save for two years when they sold their farm and moved to Russell.  They returned to the farm again however, when the new owner of the farm failed to make the operation of the farm profitable.

The Allen's have found the farm profitable or at least they did until the last few years when the lowered prices of farm produce caused a sharp decrease in profits.

The two children of Mr. and Mrs. Allen enjoyed the unique experience of attending the same school as their parents.  Mrs. Allen attended the school the first day it opened and her two children, Mrs. Milo J. Thornton of Des Moines and Ray C. Allen of Corydon, both attended the school during their youth.

Mr. Allen decreased corn acreage sharply this year but not through warnings by the Federal farm board.  The rotation of crops caused just 40 acres of corn to be planted this year.  Thirty acres were planted in alfalfa and clover; twenty acres were planted in oats and twenty in barley.  The remainder of the farm is in pastureland and timber.

None of the harvest of the Allen place is sold on the market.  Instead it is fed to cattle and hogs, which are sold on the Chicago market.  Mr. Allen believes it more profitable to feed stock than to sell grain.

This summer Mr. Allen is feeding no cattle although he has 125 head of hogs nearly ready for the market.  He leases 160 acres of pastureland across the road from his farm and pastures his cattle and milch cows there.

At present the Allen's maintain eight milch cows and sells the butterfat to creameries in Southern Iowa.  Before the creamery project opened in Iowa, Mrs. Allen in five years made 13,000 pounds of butter with her own hands.  Now she sells the butterfat to the creamery.

The Hillcrest farm is well improved, and one of the most modern farm homes in the country.  It is located on the hill well back from the road.  A well-kept lawn leads to the house and flowers and shrubs lend color to the farm.  The barns, of which there are many, are well kept and well painted.  All poultry is kept in well fenced-in runs.  The roads leading to the barn have been hard surfaced with shale.

Mr. Allen is not a "dirt farmer".  He believes in raising cattle for the market and has backed his belief with successful stock during the years of the farm.

Mrs. Allen is not disappointed with her life on the farm.  "I would unhesitatingly choose the farm again," she said in reply to a question if she were given an opportunity would she again choose a farm life.  "There is no possibility of starving on the farm even though some years find little actual profit accruing from the year's work", she declared.

John Harvey Allen, second son of Milton Harvey and Jennie Vance Allen, was born near Russell in Cedar Township on November 4, 1866, and departed this life at his home in Des Moines, March 9, 1950,  at the age of 83 years, four months and five days.

He was united in marriage with Elsie Chambers at LaGrange on November 15, 1888, and to this union were born three children.

He grew to manhood on the farm north of LaGrange in Cedar Township where he was born and lived until his marriage when he and his wife started housekeeping on the farm he had purchased at LaGrange and where they continued to live for 51 years.

Farming and raising stock was his life's work, until he was no longer able to conduct the farm and they sold it and moved to Chariton.

Elsie Chambers Allen, second daughter of Sarah and Columbus Chambers, was born in Lucas County near Russell on May 5, 1870 and departed this life in Chariton, June 23, 1954 at the age of 84 years, one month and 18 days.

She was united in marriage to John H. Allen at LaGrange on Nov. 15, 1888.  They had three children together.  Mrs. Allen lived in Lucas County for 75 years and then moved to Des Moines in 1945.

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