Filson Family Farm

Filson Family Farm

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Grandpa’s siblings (Filson/Manuwal Lineage)

My Great Aunt Cosa Ethel Filson Heckaman and Great Uncle Robert “Bob” Reuben Filson

My Great Aunt Cosa (pronounced Cozy), (June 22, 1899 - June 6, 1994) and my Great Uncle Bob (Nov 13, 1911- Aug 3, 1990) were born to John Thomas Filson and Catherine Lavinia Manuwal Filson along with my Grandpa Russell. The three siblings were all born and raised on the Filson family farm outside of Inwood, Indiana.  All three children attended Inwood school, Russell through 10th grade, Cosa through 12th grade and Bob until 8th.
Robert met Hilda F. Hall (Mar 23, 1914 – Aug 23 1993) and they married on Nov 28, 1935. After Bob and Hilda married, they moved to a nearby farm on Hawthorne Road, just a few farms away from the Filson Farm. There they raised four children, some of whom still live on the farm with their children today. When I lived in Indiana in 1974 and 1975, I would walk over to visit Bob and Hilda.  I confess being a city girl (or at least I thought of myself as one), the smell of a pig farm was something I had to grow accustomed to. But I did enjoy being around Bob and Hilda. They were both so friendly and loved to see me. They were “savers”, that is to say, they would save everything, plastic butter dishes, newspapers, etc. I thought it strange at the time, but then I came to appreciate that they were in the forefront of the recycling era which we live in today. They took nothing for granted. Everything had value and use. “Those plastic butter dishes may come in handy someday!” This mindset is typical for those that lived through the Depression, and especially for those that lived in rural areas. We take for granted how easy it is for us to take the trash out every week, how the big green truck makes it disappear from our life. On a farm, disposing of trash had a whole different set of rules. They did not have garbage disposals, trash compactors or a city wide recycling program. Leftover food went into pig slop or compote heap for the garden. Metal trash was separated from paper trash and disposed of accordingly. When I lived on the farm we would burn the paper weekly and haul the metal to the scrap yard when the pile got too big.
Bob and Hilda raised pigs and dairy cows. I was fascinated to watch Great Uncle Bob milk the cows, but never acquired a taste for raw milk.  When Bob was very young he lost three fingers while raising bales of hay up to the hayloft in the barn. His fingers got caught in the pulley system and severed his figures off. 
Great Uncle Bob Inwood School 1925
My Great Aunt Cosa was a very outspoken woman. She was a staunch Republican and if you asked anyone to describe her, they would always mention her politics as being her main trait. She married Marvin Heckaman about 1922. They lived in Inwood for a short time and then later moved to Bourbon, Indiana and raised their son Lloyd. My Aunt told me, Cosa and her mother Catherine acted as midwives for the delivery of all five of my Grandma Grace’s children. Cosa wanted to adopt my Grandma’s fifth child, who was a girl, but my Grandma Grace would not even consider it.

Cosa and Marvin were very musical; Great Uncle Marv would always play his fiddle when he came to our house to visit. As a teenager I thought it was very “square”, but now I look back on it with a smile and miss those moments. I was thrilled to find a photo of them with a band they played in during the 1930s.
Marvin is fifth from the left, holding his fiddle and Cosa is third from the right in her polka dot dress.

Great Uncle Marvin and Aunt Cosa 1930s

My Grandma Grace, Great Aunt Hilda and Great Aunt Cosa were all members of the Ladies Aid Society and worked on quilting projects together. My Aunt is the proud owner of one of the group’s quilts and she was pleased to share it with me.
Ladies Aid Society Quilt
I was also able to find Aunt Hilda’s recipe for Toll House Marble Squares in a 1963 cookbook from the Plymouth Home Demonstration Club

Hilda Hall Filson's receipe
I really enjoy looking through the old cookbooks for my family member’s recipes. I especially enjoy the helpful hit section of this one. What does trimming your child’s bangs have to do with cooking? (See below). I did learn something new; I have never thought of coating a cake pan with cocoa instead of flour when you bake a chocolate cake.
Marshall County Home Demonstration Club Cookbook

1963 Helpful Hints

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Grandpa Russell's injured leg (Filson Lineage)

Searching in old newspapers can be time consuming and rewarding. Unfortunately, most of the historical newspapers for Marshall County, Indiana are not digitized yet and we need to rely on local historical society or library to find stories of our ancestors if we are not local. But good news is on the way; The Indiana State Library has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and in partnership with the Library of Congress and  is in the process of digitizing Indiana papers from 1836 to 1922. To check on progress of the project, check in with the Indiana Historical Society or the Indiana State Library.

With the help of family members, I was able to get my hands on a story about my Grandpa Russell Filson, that I of heard of in the past. It was the day that Russell Filson received help from all of his friends to bring in the corn crop:
Plymouth Daily Pilot
Wednesday, November 13, 1946
Friends and Neighbors Harvest Filson Corn

Fifty-five friends and neighbors of Russell Filson harvested nearly 1200 bushels of corn at his farm Tuesday afternoon. The farm is located is located one mile north and 1/4 mile east of Inwood. Mr. Filson fell from a scaffold while working at the Frank Listenfelt home in Inwood on Oct. 9 and tore the ligaments in his hip. He was unable to work but is improving slowly. It required just to 2 1/2 hours to do the work on the 21 acres of land with five corn pickers, three corn elevators, eight tractors and 14 wagons.

The same group of men recently harvested some corn at the Jack Miller farm near Inwood. Mr. Miller was working with Mr. Filson in Inwood and also fell from the scaffold.

Mr. Filson told a Pilot and News reporter this morning that "I truly appreciated the fine community spirit and certainly found out how many friends I really had after my fall."

Those men furnishing corn pickers were: Olen Roahrig, Fred Neidlinger, Owen Yockey, Oliver Greer and Roy Nye.

The following men brought their tractors and wagons: Tom McQueen, Guy Roahrig, Gene Dowell, Alpheus, Guy Breeding and Cliff Hepler,Olen Roahrig and Owen Yockey brought their corn elevators.

Others who helped in addition to those above named men were: Chet Hall, Lewis Hall, Claire Hall, Ernest Mast, Clarence Bradley, V.S. Lindsey, Marvin Heckaman, Fred Jacobson, Charles Gerard, Pat Caslow, Virgil Wellborn, Arnold Shively, John Greenlee, Howard Retinger, Buddy Miller, Leslie Lindsey, Russell Boggs, Thurl Hendricks, Wayne Hendricks, Otto Cramer, Malcolm Miller, Bob Filson, Lowell Filson, Frank Listenfelt, Arthur Anderson, Welcome Roose, Elwen Yockey, Harley Sherer, Glenn Bowman, Wilber Wagoner, Junior Breeding, John Miller, Charles Greer, Floyd Roberts, Banks Burden, Elias Burden, Albert Roose, Earl Nifong, Wendell McCollough, Clarence Bradley, Roy Mortmore, George Anders, J.T. [John Thomas] Filson, and Rev. V.O. Priddy

Following the work hot coffee and homemade donuts were served.

My Great Uncle Bob (Robert Filson) who is Russell’s brother is second from the left.

Grandpa is on crutches and is the 6th man standing from the left.
I do have a key to this picture, if you are interested please contact me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Grandpa Russell Filson (Filson/Manuwal lineage)

Russell Clarence Filson was born February 25, 1903 to John Thomas Filson and Catherine Lavina Manuwal. He attended school through the tenth grade and then continued to work on the Filson Family Farm where he was born along with his sister Cosa and brother Robert.

When he was sixteen he won an award for his Spotted Poland-China Pig named Big Spotted Lill from the National Spotted Poland-China Association.

According to the Pork Food Service website,
“The Spotted Pig is the ancestor of the Poland China and Gloucester Old Spot breeds. It has become extremely popular in the United States because of its high meat quality and ability to gain weight quickly. The floppy eared Spotted Pig has black and white spots with no red or brown tints.”

He purchased Big Spotted Lill from Banks Burden, the man my father was named after.

Russell met Grace Coplen in 1922 at the Inwood Methodist Church, they married in 1923 and moved to Elkhart, IN to live with Grace’s father Elmer and start their family of five.  By 1930 they had moved onto the Filson Farm, renting it from John Thomas Filson, until Russell inherited it from his father in 1949.

He drove a truck hauling livestock to the stock yards, allowing his children and wife to tend to the farm. This was a very difficult life for his wife and children but they grew to be strong self sufficient people.

Picture of me and Grandpa Russell Filson in 1957

I only have one memory of my grandpa. It was 1960, we traveled to Plymouth, Indiana before we were to be transferred to Lakenhealth Air Force Base in England. We had to stay there to await the birth of my brother. I remember sitting on the front porch with my grandpa and he had a small record player and he put on a 45 record of Gene Autry singing Frosty the Snowman. He sang it to me with a big smile on his face.

I was delighted to find a recording of Frosty HERE posted on line to share with you.

Grace and Russell celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 1948 with a surprise party from their friends. The article notes they received several lovely gifts and ice cream and cake was served.

Grace Coplen Filson and Russell Filson 1940s

Russell passed away in 1963 after suffering from an illness that lasted 19 months. At the time he left behind his wife and five grown children.