VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Staff Writer
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
In 1838 Abraham Middlesworth purchased land from the State of Illinois Public Domain Land Sales. That land located eight miles south of Shelbyville in Clarksburg Township remains in the family 172 years later.
The Lantz farm passed through five generations before Scott Lantz became the owner of the property.
“My dad always said the farm was over 100 years old,” Scott said.
But when he began to research the history, Scott realized it was over 150 years old - enough for the State’s sesquicentennial farm status.
“In 2002 I decided to do it,” he said. “My parents were still alive and I did it for them.”
Scott had help in researching the records. His wife Kathy is Shelby County Clerk and Recorder.
“She directed me to a lot of it,” Scott said. “Only the last 20 years of records are on computers. The rest are on microfilm and books - mostly books.”
Scott’s great-great-great grandfather Daniel Gollogher (also spelled Gallagher) purchased the land from Middlesworth, who was a relative by marriage. Daniel’s son Jacob and his wife Mary owned the land next and sold it to their son-in-law Winfield Bradford Lantz and daughter Charlotte, Scott’s great grandmother. The land later went to their son Harv and then to Scott’s father Earl in 1964.
Earl worked with Shelby County State Bank in addition to farming. He was an avid hunter, according to Scott. Prior to possessing the family farm Earl attended the University of Illinois and was just one semester shy of graduating. He worked at CIPS in Paxton selling electical service. When he returned to Shelbyville, Earl worked for the WPA. Scott’s mother Ruth also worked for the WPA. She is the daughter of Frank Bolinger who owned three stores in Shelbyville in the early 1900’s
Earl farmed the land until he retired in 1972. Scott farmed the land from 1976 to 2000. Although he still owns the more than 40 acre tract, David Gregg farms it for Scott today.
The home, barn, and any other buildings that may have been on the land are gone. The family only knows the history of the multi-generational ownership of the property.
“As long as I can remember, the land never had any building on it. But the well on the homestead is still used,” Scott said. Scott also owns 154 acres of land west of Shelbyville where he also resides.
Scott said that digging into the farm’s information was quite interesting. For example, he found that Daniel Gollogher purchased the land for $1.25 an acre in 1849. In 1964, Earl Lantz purchased the land for $125 an acre.
Once the information about the family land was sent to the State of Illinois, Scott’s parents, Earl and Ruth, received the Sesquicentennial Farm plaque in 2002.
Earl passed away in 2003, and Ruth, at age 100, resides at Shelbyville Manor.