Monday, August 31, 2009

The Cornelius Family Farm

For years and years, there has been a photograph hanging in our finished basement. It’s an aerial photo taken of my grandparents’ farm in Perkins County, Nebraska sometime in the late ‘50s or very early ‘60s.. The farm site was originally settled by my great grandfather, William Seborn Cornelius, in 1910. He settled a total of three farms in the area. In about 1918, he turned over the farms to his three sons—one of which was my grandfather. My grandparents were married April 4, 1922 and settled on one of the other farms located about 3/4 of a mile north of this farm. My dad was born there on February 8, 1924 and his younger sister, Elaine, a year later on August 12, 1925.

I’m not certain of the date, but my grandparents and the two kids moved to this farm and it is the farm on which my dad spent his boyhood. The rest of my father’s siblings were born on this farm beginning with Eldon on November 1, 1927.

My grandparents ran the farm through the mid-‘60s, but my grandfather started cutting back on his farming once the boys grew up and married. My uncle Lowell was the last of the boys to get married in 1957.

As a young boy, I would look forward to summer vacation when we would visit my grandparents and spend days walking all over the farmland. For a kid from the city suburbs, it was a treat to go out to the country and play. My favorite building was the hog house because it had a low slanted roof and I could climb on to the roof and look south for miles and miles. I have a lot of fond childhood memories of seeing my grandparents and all my aunts, uncles and cousins.

Here is the original black and white photo.
For fun, I also “aged” the photo by applying a sepia tint.

In 1965, my grandmother suffered a stroke and my grandfather turned over the farming to his sons and spent his remaining days caring for my grandmother and for the house. He passed away in August 1968 and my grandmother in March 1969.

After their deaths, the farm remained in the family, but the house and buildings were rented out to tenants. Sadly--over time—the condition of the buildings deteriorated and the decision was made to burn down most of the structures. Today, only the granary is still there. Because of my dad’s declining health, he never saw how the farm looked. The two photos below were taken in January 2002 after he passed away and we buried him in Madrid.

This is the granary and is the only original farm structure still on-site.
This is approximately where the barn and the chicken house stood.

After my dad passed away, I brought the photo over to my house and displayed it in my den. The original frame was starting to show it’s age and so I removed it from the frame to eventually put it in a nicer frame. Since I had it out, my brother-in-law arranged to have it scanned by a commercial scanner (the original photo is 11 x 14) and so now I have a digital copy.

Happily, the land still remains in the family and my cousins farm the land. Hopefully it will always remain in the Cornelius family.

Here’s a Google Map inset showing the location:

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