Filson Family Farm

Filson Family Farm

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.

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