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Paynesville Press - August 14, 2002

Hanson homestead honored as century farm

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

aerial view of the farmThe Hawick farm that has been in Eldon Hanson's family for 109 years will soon be honored at the Minnesota State Fair as a Century Farm.

The Hawick farm has undergone many changes since Hans settled there in 1893. Eldon and Priscilla Hanson Have added a feedlot and many of the buildings since they settled there almost 40 years ago.

The farm has been in his family since 1893, when Eldon's grandfather, Hans Christian Hanson, purchased the first 40 acres for $500. Hans, who emigrated from Norway, purchased an adjoining 40 acres for $400 in 1899.

Hans grubbed out the trees and cleared the land using a horse-drawn plow. In 1895, after the house was built, he married Petrina Pederson. They had 12 children, one who died as a baby.

Although the house was small and the family was large, they were still willing to open their doors to two schoolteachers who boarded with them.

Eldon Hanson The Hanson farm is 109 years old. Eldon Hanson, Hans' grandon, has owned the farm since 1961.

Eldon bought the 80-acre farm from his aunt in 1961. In 1963 he married Priscilla Sondrol and the couple settled into the farmhouse where they raised seven children.

Since 1961, the farm has gone through many changes. The house has gotten larger, a concrete feedlot has been added, new buildings were erected, and Eldon moved other buildings onto the property, including the old Roseville Township Hall, where the family used to hold parties and dances. Most recently, the old dairy barn was torn down and a new steel one was built.

"None of these changes would have happened if our children didn't work as hard as they did," said Priscilla. "Even the littlest ones had jobs to do."

Eldon and Priscilla raised beef and dairy cows and sheep on the Hawick farm. Most of the land was used for pasture or alfalfa.

Eldon and Priscilla still live in the house that Hans built, but most of the property is leased out - some to their oldest son, Greg, who raises some livestock on the property.

In addition to the farm in Hawick, the family owns another 150-acre farm near Regal. Eldon and his youngest daughter, Lori, also have a herd of beef cows on another farm the family owns near Valley City, N.D.

Eldon and Priscilla have kept many mementos from the farm's past. One relic is an old car that sits in a back corner of the machine shed.

old town hall The old Roseville Township Hall is one of the buildings Eldon moved to his grandfather's homestead. The family held dances, complete with live bands, in the hall.

Hans, who died at home in 1934, bought the first car in the neighborhood around 1918, a Ford touring car that cost him $200. According to Priscilla, he brought it home and piled everyone in it for a ride. Because there were so many children, it took quite a while to fit everyone in the car.

In 1947 Petrina sold the farm to her daughter and son-in-law. In 1951, another daughter bought the farm, and she lived there with her husband until she sold it to Eldon. Early in July, the family hosted a reunion of the descendants of Hans and Petrina. Over 110 people attended, including Hans and Petrina's only living children, Inez Ytzen and Laura Orson.

(Editor's note: Bonnie Jo Hanson is married to Greg Hanson.)

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