December 4, 2008

McCabe Farm Named Missouri Century Farm For 2008

The original 120-acre farm was purchased by Frank McCabe and his wife Nancy Douglas McCabe on February 29, 1908 from Josiah C. and Lavisa Matlick. The purchase price was $5,400. At the time of purchase Mr. and Mrs. McCabe had two children, John “Letus” and Martha. The farm had a two-story farmhouse. A barn was raised on the property and a pond built. Cattle, Sheep and pigs were raised on the original farm.

When Mr. Frank McCabe died the farm passed to his son, Letus. Letus McCabe married Mildred Tull. Letus and Mildred had two sons, Hillis and Leon and a daughter, Shirley who died when she was a little girl from pneumonia. Leon married Pat Delaney and moved to Peoria, IL. Hillis married Eilene Kassahn and was a rural mail carrier in Rutledge but also farmed and raised Polled Hereford cattle with his Dad.

Over the years they added 388 additional acres to the original farm. Hillis and Letus farmed with workhorses (Pat and Mike) and later more modern equipment. On the additional acreage they raised corn and soybeans and hay. Many hours were spent in the hay field bailing picking up hay for the cattle.

In 1994 the daughters and their spouses of Hillis and Eilene McCabe, Cheryl and Jim Nowell, (children Sara and Lori Tarpein), Carol McCabe (children Nick and Valerie Oldham), Lucinda and Jack Guthrie (son Jon) purchased 60 of the original acres, which had the house and barn plus some additional acreage from Letus McCabe.

Mr. and Mrs. Hillis McCabe and Mr. and Mrs. Leon McCabe kept the other 60 acres until 2005 when it was sold. When Hillis was a boy he belonged to 4-H and showed cattle from the farm at the Scotland County Fair. His children, also belonged to 4-H and showed cattle from the farm at the Scotland County Fair.

When Letus and Mildred lived at the farm, they had a big garden, chickens and a milk cow. Their grandchildren remember going with Grandma to gather the eggs and with Grandpa to milk the cow (the old fashion way). Letus stocked the pond with fish. He fed the fish and it was great fun to watch the fish start swimming toward the bank when he whistled. There were horses on the farm (two well remembered are ones named Pepsi and another Chief) for pleasure riding and for herding the cattle. There was a dinner bell next to the house, which could be rung when dinner was ready. The family has a lot of good memories of the farm, hard work, Sunday family dinners, mushroom hunting, fishing and fun. Currently a small herd of cattle are raised on the original 60 acres with calves being sold at the county sale barn each year.

Missouri Century Farm is a program of University of Missouri Extension, MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Missouri Farm Bureau.

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