Shelbyville Daily Union

February 24, 2011

Helton/Stewardson Farm Sees 100 Years

VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Staff Writer

SHELBYVILLE, IL. — Ninety acres of Shelby County farmland has been passed from great grandfather through the generations to great grandson.

Isaac Helton received land northeast of Middlesworth along 1375N in Shelbyville Township from the State of Illinois during the mid-1800s. On that land he built his home and raised his family.

The land was passed to his son Henry who in turn passed it to his daughter Ida and her husband Chester Stewardson. Ida passed the land down to their only son, Raymond .

Raymond, 91, and his wife Iola currently live in Shelbyville, but Raymond grew up on the homestead, helping to farm the land until he went into the service during World War II.

Raymond admits he doesn’t know much about either his grandfather or his great grandfather. Isaac lived from 1820 to 1902. Henry lived from 1852 to 1914.

“Grandpa had a big family. He gave so much of the land to each child,” Raymond said.  “I have 90 acres of it.”

Raymond described his grandfather as a “horse” – he could do anything.

“He’d work out in the cornfields and had to do it all by hand and farmed by horse,” Raymond said. “I never drove a horse; I drove tractors.”

The land saw crops of corn, soybeans, and wheat. It continues to be farmed today.

Isaac built the home in which his family was raised in 1853. The home eventually had electricity provided by REA, but never had running water.

“I remember my grandparents (Clarence and Ida) and the old farmhouse,” said Raymond’s daughter Wilma Boys. “The farm was someplace where we went to play. I remember the big front porch, the carpet on the stairs, the two bedrooms upstairs, and the cellar where the canning and potatoes were stored.”

“When I was younger, my older brothers and I rode out bikes from Dugout, which is now Lake Shelbyville, to the farm,” Wilma said.

Raymond admitted he also used to ride his bike from Shelbyville to the farm.

Today the footprint of the home, which was torn down in the mid-1970s, remains next to the farmland.

Raymond’s grandfather set aside part of the land as the family cemetery. Helton Cemetery holds the remains of Isaac and Henry Helton as well as other family members. Ida and her husband Chester Stewardson are buried in Glenwood Cemetery.

Raymond plans for the land to continue in the family - passing it on to his children and grandchildren.