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


  1. I grew up in Plymouth in the 50's and 60's. I still have this cookbook. It has some of my favorite recipes in it!

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  3. Do you have any other cookbooks written by local women?

    1. Not that I know of. I took my parents recipes but they were mostly handwritten on index cards.