Get our free mobile app

In Martin County, Minnesota, there's a farm that's older than the State of a year. It's the Fowler Family Farm, claimed and worked by Henry Holmes Fowler, who came to Minnesota from Connecticut.

Through preemption (a process where you basically stake a claim, work the land for a certain amount of time, then buy it from the US Government [source]), he got the land, then went to get his family so they could join him. They arrived at their new family home on May 11, 1858 (the same day Minnesota became a state).


How they got there, the work they did and how they built it up is detailed in The Fowler Family of Truman...just click to download the PDF. It's interesting.

Now...let's watch the old pump do the thing it was made to do...

You can see a recent repair, and while there has been maintenance done on the pump, it's essentially the same pump they used for the school house that used to sit on the land behind me and to my right. It's not potable water, as there are rest flakes and other such things added free by a generous rusting pump.

The rocks that laid out two of the school house corners are still there, but the school itself is long gone. The river that once ran along the property is not exactly gone, but it's a creek now. This panoramic shot doesn't do the colors justice.

Click for larger view of Diana, Emma, and over on the other side, Otis?  (Rabe - Panoramic)

Some pump photos. Notice all the trees and new trees.

The Realllly Old Fowler Family Farm Pump (Rabe)

You can still by Red Jacket pumps today. The info about the company casts some doubt as to the actual age of the pump. Could very well be as old as the farm, or a year or so younger.

Pump Detail (Rabe)
Fowler Family Farm Pump detail. (Rabe)

And for fun, the group that hung out on the Fowler Family Farm, descendent of the founder, Emma, is the chilly looking one in the red hat.

James, Diana, Emma, Scott (Rabe)

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know:

Listen to James Rabe and Jessica Williams Weekday from 6 - 10 AM on Y-105 FM

I'm partial to Minnesota, but maybe as long as you're in the Midwest, you're eager to move. Here are some options...

The 100 Best Places to Live in the Midwest