|By ORA and SHIRLEY CALLAHAN
McCORDSVILLE, Ind. — Every year since 1976, the Indiana Office of the Commission of Agriculture has presented the Hoosier Homestead Award to families whose acreage has been actively farmed by the same family for 100 years.
This year, Doyne and Loueen Lowder received the citation for their family farm at 2645 W. 700 North in Hancock County. The ceremony was at the Statehouse in Indianapolis with their family present.
Loueen has documentation that shows the farm was in the family earlier than the 1904 date she submitted on her award application.
Family records show the property was homesteaded in 1853 by Abraham Saville, Jr., her great grandfather.
The property was passed on to her great grandmother, Nancy Saville, then to her grandfather, Amos Saville. There were 181 acres in the farm when he died. Next the ownership was listed as her Aunt Elma Bills.
Doyne and Loueen Lowder bought 104 acres of the property in 1961. In 1975, their son, Jerry, became a partner, and the farm was incorporated in 1980 as D & J Lowder Farms.
Today’s farming operation includes 1,500 acres, with 260 owned and the remainder rented. They produce corn and soybeans in rotation. Earlier, they were swine producers, but they discontinued that part of the farm in 1999.
A trucking business is part of the farm. Due to the high yields from their grain fields, it is mainly for their own service.
Loueen’s parents also received a Hoosier Homestead Award in 1982 for another section of farmland.
Doyne is 70 years old, and Loueen is 68.
“Since I reached this milestone, I turned the operation over to our son, Jerry, 49, and I just work for him,” Doyne noted.
Loueen added, “Our son, Jerry, is carrying on the heritage of the family farm, and his family will decide the future.”
Loueen enjoys the farm life, and she has been a partner to Doyne from their early years of working the fields and caring for the animals, in addition to rearing their children.
They are the parents of three children: Linda, Jerry and Shelly. Linda and her husband David Garrity have two sons, Andy and Ryan. Andy and his wife, Kristine, have two children, Cole and MaKinze.
Ryan is serving in the military in Iraq. He recently was home for a short leave, but is now back with his unit. He will soon be able to come home, but according to his parents, Ryan does not want to leave his buddies until their time is up, too.
Daughter Shelly and husband, Randy Spencer, have two daughters, Stephanie and Melissa; and son Jerry and his wife, Erin, have two children, Stacey and Justin. Stacey and Billy Muffler have a daughter, Emma. Justin and wife Jessica have a daughter, Haley.
Loueen and Doyne have helped deliver food to families in need at Fortville. Loueen volunteers at Hancock Memorial Hospital by playing the organ in their transitional unit. She also donated an organ to the Pleasant View Lodge in northwest Hancock County, and plays there as well as other nursing homes. She is a willing baby-sitter for her family and great-grandkids.
Loueen owns the daily journals written by her great grandfather, Amos Saville. She remembers seeing them as a child when her family lived with Amos.
Loueen treasures these writings, even though the script is difficult to read, but she has deciphered most of the entries, including the one noting her mother’s birth. He wrote that her grandmother’s confinement ended with the birth of a girl, and listed the names of the two women who assisted her.
His journals include a birth and death record of their family between the years of 1899 to 1932. One daily note listed the cost of building a red barn at the cost of $110 dollars for supplies and serving supper to the neighbors who helped raise the barn.
Another detailed look at the farm life in those days recorded the visit of an itinerant salesman of arthritis medicine. He provided room and board for him at the cost of 30 cents a day. However, the salesman left the house before dawn to avoid paying the 30 cents.
A historical newspaper clipping was inside one journal, celebrating the Centennial year of Hancock County. Loueen’s father wrote in the journals as well, and some of her children have kept up the tradition.
Before her father died, he gave the journals to her because he knew she would keep them and appreciate the gift. Loueen considers these journals as priceless showing the way farm life was in the past.
“Times were so simple and much slower. I would like to know the reaction of those farmers if they could see what the lifestyle is like now, “ she reminisced.
This farm news was published in the February 22, 2006 issue of Farm World.