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Osceola County, Michigan, 2002. Copyright © State Aerial. Share

In 1918, Auguste and Bertha Myers Habig purchased 40 acres of this farm. There were no buildings, and they needed a house, so they purchased a small, 2-story house from the owner of Ina Store. Using logs, wagons, and horses, they moved the house 2 miles to the farm. Almost 10 years later, after having expanded their farm to almost 150 acres, they added a single-story addition containing a kitchen, a dining room, an enclosed back porch, and a broad, welcoming front porch to the original structure. Gust and his brother-in-law, Oliver Depew, built the barn you see here on the left and the equipment building/granary on the right. At one time there were other buildings: a wellhouse, a milkhouse, a chicken coop, and a hog house. Late in World War II, Gust realized he was very ill. Calvin Depew, Oliver's son, asked if he could buy the farm so that he could have a dairy farm there. The sale was soon accomplished, and Calvin brought his wife, Wilma, and their small son Richard home to the farm in 1946. Bertha had bought a house in a nearby town, where she lived after Gust's death until she remarried several years later. Calvin and Wilma purchased more land from his father and brother, and the farm now encompassed almost 250 acres. Another son joined the family in 1947, the same year in which Calvin bought a tractor and sold his horses.

In 1959, disaster struck. A cow from a neighboring farm harbored Bang's Disease, and one of Calvin's cows caught the disease. The State of Michigan destroyed his herd, disinfected the barn and pasture, and quarantined the farm for a number of years. Calvin went to barber school in Detroit. In 1965, he, Wilma, and their youngest son moved to a lakeside cottage near Cadillac, Michigan. Calvin retired in 1977 and began spending his days on his farm. The fields were rented to another dairy farmer--the same family has rented them since 1959--but he could walk his woods, chop wood to heat his house, hunt, and enjoy his land. After Wilma's death in 1989, he decided to move back to the farm. He built a new house near a wooded area of the farm and near the spot where he had been born. He is now 91 years old (in 2011), and he plans to die near the same spot where he was born.

—Ellie Depew

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