OREGON COUNTY -- The Carl and Shirley Burkhead Farm located in the Cave Springs community was the only farm added to the 2004 list of Century Farms. The Burkhead Farm joins 13 other Century Farms in the county that began involvement in the program in 1986.
Stacy Hambelton, Oregon County Extension director said, "Many long term owners of Missouri farms are proud of the accomplishments of their families." He said there are 2,850 Missouri farm owners in 105 of the 114 counties that have been recognized as centennial farms in the state.
The Burkhead farm was first owned by Carl's great-grandfather, David Johnsonn, who came to Oregon County to work for the Ozark Land and Timber Company. The first 40 acres, the northern 40, of the farm were purchased in 1842. He and his wife Nancy homesteaded the second 40 acres in 1896. Burkhead said Johnsonn was a Baptist preacher.
Carl's grandparents -- Christopher and Mollie Cloven -- bought the farm from Mollie's parents, the Johnsonns. Carl said his grandparents farmed the land and had a mill on it. The Clovens sold the farm to their daughter, Emeritta, and her husband, Lawrence Cross, Carl's aunt and uncle.
He thinks the farm was originally bought in the mid 1800s for $75 to $100.
Carl and Shirley have both worked in town while raising two children, Sam and Jennifer on the farm. They have three grandchildren. The Burkheads raise mixed beef cattle and raised hogs until the bottom fell out of the market, they said.
Carl retired from working at Oregon County Courthouse in March.
Carl said many years ago he remembers hearing a story about a man named Johnsonn who was thrashing hay with a team of horses in the Bonds Community when the thrasher got stuck in a wet creek bed. The man had to haul lumber in to get the machine out. He said it was not until years later and he bought the family farm that he was going through some old papers and came across receipts where his great-grandfather David Johnsonn had purchased the thrasher and lumber. He said he didn't have a clue that his great grandfather was the same Johnsonn who got stuck in the creek bed.
Carl said he is not sure where the farm will go but he has enjoyed his family's time on the farm.
There are four Century Farms at Myrtle, four at Alton, two at Couch, two at Thayer and one at Koshkonong.
The Century Farm program is sponsored by University Extension as well as the University of Missouri Columbia College of Agriculture.