This photo shows the farm of Valentine Birkey (1858-1928), purchased from C.C. and Lena Gut in 1910 for $4,785. Five acres were added later that year, purchased from John Cender. In 1920, Valentine added additional acres from Cora A. and H. W. Baker, paying them $8,100. This purchase excluded a portion leased to the “Ommish Mennonite Church Society.”

In about 1911-1912, Valentine built a barn and the “Sears” house, and was eventualy instrumental in getting a bridge across the nearby Sangamon River.

Surprisingly, in this particular photo, the 1982 Valentine and Phoebe Birkey Reunion was underway, with family members attending from far and wide. My husband, Del Birkey, was a grandson of Valentine, and before the property was sold we rescued a picket fence and wire gate from 1912. They are still in my possession.

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Do you have a connection to this photograph? Maybe you grew up here or know someone who did? What has changed in the 41 years since this photo was taken? Tell us!