Explore Map » Stories

Parkdale Farm in Big Island, Virginia was bought in 1886 by Martin C Parks. He had three children. His son, Samuel Robert Parks stayed on the farm and had three children himself. Samuel R. Parks Jr. [Bobby,} Douglas O. Parks, and Mary P. Markham. Bobby and Douglas built a 40 stall dairy barn in 1947 which is seen in this picture with the silo. They sold Grade A Milk from this barn until 1970 when they built a free stall barn with a double parlor on the road North of here. It was in operation until 1997 exactly 50 years to the month after starting. The original timber frame barn and cabin are shown standing in the center rear and near left.


This was our home for the first half of my childhood. My earliest memories are of this farm. This where I came from and for that reason, RR 1 Newman, Illinois will always be home.


This farm was purchased in 1950 by Galen and Alice Swogger. We have the complete history of the farm including the original abstract which includes the original land grant. Galen Swogger was a "full-time" farmer and raised corn, oats, wheat and hay for feed on this livestock farm. The primary operation was as a dairy farm selling "Grade A" milk. Registered holsteins were the dairy cattle of choice and for many years this herd was on of the top producing in northern Indiana. While the property is located in Noble County, this registered holstein dairy herd belonged to the Dekalb County Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) and was for many years the top herd in that association both on a herd basis as well as many individual record producing cows. Additionally, this farm raised hogs, fat cattle and early on eggs and chickens. Three sons assisted in the operation of this farm in addition to Galen and Alice. Sons Todd, Scott and Lee spent many hours assisting in chores as well as farming the 210 acres of this farm.

Today the farm continues in operation after being purchased by Scott and Jane Swogger in 1981. Scott and Jane farmed and raised hogs and fat cattle for a few years as well as later establishing a beef cow/calf herd. Scott and Jane raised two sons who assisted on the farm and participated in 4-H for 10 years each showing dairy steers, beef steers and hogs. The Pre-Civil War home and barns have all now been fully restored giving the property a new look while maintaining and preserving all the history, architecture and craftsmanship associated with the property. Few farms remain today that preserve the old hand hewn construction of the buildings. The original "Dairy Barn" (next to the silo) is in the final stages of restoration as we write this and would make Grandpa Swogger proud to see its restoration take shape and add a few of those finishing touches like dormers and a cupola atop his "favorite" barn!

Today Matt and Andy now each own a piece of the farm just a short distance down the road to the left of this picture where Galen and Alice built a new home in 1981 after Scott and Jane's purchase of the original property. Their purchases occured this year (2011) after the passing of this family's patriarch, Galen Swogger at the age of 85. Their families will soon be established there and the next generation of Swogger's will continue the tradition of growing up and liviing on the FAMILY FARM! They are off to a good start with a next generation for Matt consisting of wife Lisa and son Mason and for Andy consisting of wife Holly, son Landon and daughters Madisyn and Lydia. This new generation is already learning every square inch of the farm through their own exploration.

—Scott Swogger

I moved onto this farm in March 1958 and lived here until I was married on February 10, 1963. This farmstead was on 240 acres on the north side of Highway 175 East of Eldora, Iowa. My father rented the farm which was owned by D. W. Dickinson (an attorney from Eldora). We raised corn, soybeans, cattle (beef and dairy), pigs and chickens. Mom always had a big vegetable and flower garden and always hung the clothes on the line. We sold eggs and pasteurized our milk. We were mostly self sustaining as we raised our own vegetables and meat (chicken, beef and pork). I remember the hard work that included walking beans to remove weeds, picking up rocks from fields, shelling corn and baling hay. The daily chores and feeding and taking care of the animals. I also have fond memories of my 2 year old son feeding the chickens. Family picnics from both sides of the family. Remember the party telephone line and it's challenges.

—Phyllis Foster Harner

This is a photo taken of the farm where I grew up. My grandpa Warren McCreery purchased this farm in the spring of 1975 at which time my mom and dad Clarence and Mary Leighty moved there. I was born in June of 1975. This photo was taken in 1976. It is very neat to see the changes over time to the building site and landscape in the background. There are alot more trees around now then there were at that time. In the late 70's mom and dad added on an addition to the house which about doubled the size of the house including a basement. We raised alot of hogs and cattle when I was growing up. Mom and dad still live there and now my children enjoy when we go out to grandma and grandpa's to run around, ride tractor or 4 wheelers on the 245 acres. Best memories of my life are on this piece of land and can't wait to make more with my kids in the same house, barn, hog house and grainery and land in Guthrie County, Iowa that I ran around on as a kid.

—Chad Leighty

HARMONY GROVE FARM. This farm got it's name back in the late 1800s because all the family members played musical instruments, plus other neighbors showed up on certain weekends for barn dances or other type of community get-togethers. This farm was purchased by Dr. David D. Bechtel and Mary K. Bechtel in 1952 from Glen Byler. Back when this picture was taken, it was 78 acres total. Even though David was a full-time dentist, he couldn't wait for his day to end and come home and work the ground or work with his registered horned hereford cattle. Even though Mary sold the farm in 2000, she didn't have the heart to leave it, so she was granted a lifetime lease to live there until her quality of life forced her to leave in 2009. At this point, the farm is owned by Don & Nancy Sham Sr.


Our farm was in Sperry, Adair County, MO. Sperry consisted of our house, my grandparents house, two neighbors, the one room school I attended (complete with outhouses), the general store my grandfather owned, and the Baptist Church, all clustered around a crossroads.

What else could a boy need in the late 1950s? My parents moved there in 1951 and lived there until my fathers death in 2000.


This is a picture of the farm that has been in my family for over three generations, at one time covered 600 acres. It has been in the family since the mid 1800's. We used this land to raise cattle, grow many crops like cotton, corn, soybeans, and hay.
Much of the land has been sold but a small portion still remanins in the family. All of the buildings including the home place is now gone, so I was very glad to find this company to get a piece of my family's history for future generations to enjoy.


This picture is of the home of W.L. "Bill" Caldwell which was built in 1950. He owned the Four Pine Ranch which consisted of about 2300 acres at Gillis, Louisiana. The ranch farmed rice, soybeans and cattle. He raised Quarter Horses and trained and showed Cutting Horses. He and his wife Estelle started the Ranch in the late 1930's. Later, the house shown and about 440 acres was inheirted by C. C. Caldwell and his wife Oma and presently is owned by their son Robert Caldwell. A present day picture would still show the barns shown, a large riding arena behind them and the house has been replaced by a new one in 2005.

—Robert "Bob" Caldwell

This is a view of my Uncle Les's farm from 1975. You can see the contoured fields. It's a little hilly around there. My uncle used to raise cattle and hogs. He was a 4-H leader and taught a lot of 4-H kids how to raise and care for calves.

—Douglas Dams