VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Staff Writer
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
In 1846 a German couple, George and Barbara Hemer, and their six children immigrated to the United States and settled in Vellonia, Indiana. In 1885 their son George and his wife Catherine moved to the northernmost part of Shelby County to begin a new life.
Today their great granddaughter lives on the home land and takes pride in the Illinois Centennial Farm honor.
The Hemer-Hunter Centennial Farm is located in Moweaqua Township on the Macon-Shelby county line, near the intersection of 1100E and 3000N.
“George and Catherine bought 120 acres in 1885 for $5200. That’s $43.33 per acre,” said AliceAnn Hunter.
There was a house already on the land when George bought the land. His grandson Tom tore down the original home and built a new home in 1940. AliceAnn and her husband Bob currently live in the home.
“I’ve lived in this house almost all my life, except from 1957-1963 when I lived in town (Moweaqua) until I was married. Then we moved back out here,” AliceAnn said.
Some improvements have been made on the home, but it still displays the 1940’s style.
“This house was considered modern at the time. It didn’t have electricity, but it had its own Delco plant for power,” AliceAnn said.
The interior architecture includes the arched doorways, and swirled ceilings.
“The ladies who visited also liked the mirrored doors,” she noted.
“The smoke house, windmill and part of the barn are from the original homestead,” said Bob. “And possibly the chicken house - it’s really old.”
John Hemer bought the land after his father’s (George) death in 1915 for $15,000. He and his wife Rose living in the old farmhouse with their two children until the early 1930’s when his son Tom and his wife Gertrude got married.
John served on the cooperative to build the elevator in Moweaqua. He also served as road commissioner in the 1920s.
AliceAnn said that John was very frugal with money, and his brothers asked for loans from him.
“He was the ‘bank manager’ of the bunch,” she said.
John had his own thrashing rig, shelling rig, and the steam engine to drive them.
In 1935, Tom (AliceAnn’s father) inherited the farm and added another 40 acres to the family farm. He also served on the elevator’s board and as one of the board members when the Moweaqua school was built. He also seved as a member of the township board.
“He was very particular of the upkeep of the buildings,” AliceAnn said. “He was very much a businessman, too.”
“Leadership runs deep in our family,” said Amy Hunter Rademaker, the Hunters’ daughter.
AliceAnn and her sister Louis Junig inherited the farm in 1993 when their mother passed away. AliceAnn now owns the land.
The Hunters presently farm over 2200 acres, raising corn, soybeans, Black Angus cattle, and a little alfalfa and oats. They plan to leave the land to their children, Elizabeth LuAnn Thurman, SuEllen Mackey, and Amy Rademaker, and their grandchildren.
The original farm received centennial recognition in 2000.