Crass Century Farm in Myrtle

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sitting on his front porch swing dressed in overalls, Sam Crass was ready to give a tour of his century farm. Harold "Sam" Crass of Myrtle resides on the 360 acres that was homesteaded by his grandfather and uncles in 1862. Crass' parents, Rob and Claudia Crass, continued on the family farm tradition.

Crass' pride and joy is a log cabin he recently built on the farm. It is made from cedar found on the farm, with some of the bigger pieces coming from the Myrtle area. "They used mud in their log cabins back in the old days, but I used concrete," said Crass. The cabin took Crass approximately four months to build.

The cabin is two rooms with a breezeway in between the rooms ,that Crass hopes to eventually screen in. On the wall, Crass has arranged several antiques that are originals from the family farm. Crass says his cabin "was built for old bachelors." He also built the bunk beds, tables and kitchen bar in the cabin. The counter top for the kitchen bar displays a deck of cards covered with paraffin, to make it waterproof.

"Something different is this special door I made, carved out like a sharks' tooth," said Crass about the cabin entryway.

"My step-daughter says I have everything but the kitchen sink, and then I told her it's around back," Crass laughs. He is proud that the cabin is very old fashioned, and is almost a replica of one that might be found in the old days. The rail fence in front of the cabin is especially important to Crass because it is an original of the farm, over 100 years old.

Now that the main project of building his cabin is complete, Crass spends his time making grape juice from grapes he finds on his farm, and building furniture, such as rocking chairs, picnic tables and even walking sticks. "Here's a special walking stick I've made with a tool on the back to slip off your boot," Crass said. One picnic table was especially unique because the bench and table supports are old Singer sewing machine stands. He also builds bird houses and rabbit traps, though Crass says you can catch about anything you want to in the traps.

Sitting on his front porch, Crass says you can see Arkansas hills from his farm, along with miles and miles of Missouri. He enjoyed telling stories about the century farm. Crass said, before the land belonged to his family, Indians lived there. He has a large collection of arrow heads found on the farm on display in his house. The original homestead place is no longer standing, but he uses the fireplace from the original place along with the old wood cook stove. Crass said, "I still cook on it when electricity goes off."

His family first lived at the Herman Garrison place in Myrtle, where it ran a halfway house for people traveling through the area. Throughout the years, Crass said his family made molasses, slaughtered hogs, owned orchards, had big gardens, and cattle. He remembers the neighbors traded a lot. Instead of selling for cash, they would trade and that is how people accumulated things.

Crass has documentation showing that his family heritage began in 1790 in Kentucky and Mississippi before relatives found their way to Missouri. Crass has three sons of his own who enjoy coming back to visit their dad at the old homestead. The new cabin will be put to good use come deer season," said Crass.