Sunday, March 16, 2003

History sprouts from family farms

State honors 200 years of agriculture

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Although Southwest Ohio is losing farmland to development at a rapid pace, there are holdouts with a long history.

Last week, the Ohio Department of Agriculture started recognizing two centuries of Buckeye farming with its Bicentennial Farm Profiles. Each profile will honor a farm that is at least 200 years old and still owned by the same family. Thirteen farms across Ohio, including three in rural Adams County, will be featured in the profiles.

The first is Turpin Farms, founded in 1785 when Dr. Phillip Turpin purchased the farm from his cousin, Lt. John Crittenden, who had received 2,666 acres as a Virginia Military Grant.

These days, the 700-acre Turpin Farms raises nursery crops, sod, corn and soybeans . This year, owner Robert Fisher will recreate the Ohio bicentennial barn logo with corn maze.

Turpin Farms' market is now the urban community. In the beginning, though, it was a thick woods. The timber was cleared and burned, and eventually two distilleries opened there to take advantage of grain crops that were grown on the farm. In the 1960s, the family stopped raising traditional crops to focus on the sod and greenhouse operation.

"We fight (development) as best we can," Fisher told the Department of Agriculture.

Adams County's bicentennial farms include:

• The Alexander Smiley Farm, founded in 1772 and now owned by John Smiley, 115 Smiley Road, Seaman.

• The Thomas Kirker (Ohio's second governor) Farm, founded in 1793 and now owned by Charles and Jean Kirker, 6620 Ohio 136, West Union.

• The Col. John Kincaid Farm, now owned by Lucille Gelter, 3091 Ohio Cincinnati Road, West Union.

Other farms are in Ross, Union, Fairfield, Summit and Pickaway counties.


OXFORD - Dr. Andrew Cayton, a distinguished professor of history at Miami University, will present a lecture on "Ohio: A History of a People," 7 p.m. April 1 at the Oxford Presbyterian Church.The talk is presented by the Butler County Bicentennial Committee.

Information: 887-4116.


LEBANON - Warren County Convention and Visitors Bureau has published an attractive booklet, Two Hundred Years: 2003 Visitors Guide, Bicentennial Edition.

It features photographs of events, communities and historic figures. John Zimkus, historian-in-residence at the Warren County Historical Society, provided much of the information.

The booklet includes profiles of communities, accommodations, events and interesting facts. For example:

"Warren County was named after one of America's `Founding Fathers.' Dr. Joseph Warren. Among other achievements in politics and the fight for independence from Great Britain, he was known for sending Paul Revere on his famous ride on the cusp of the American Revolution. Warren fought and lost his life at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775."

The free booklet is available by calling 800-791-4FUN.

Send news items to Randy McNutt, the Enquirer, 7700 Service Center Drive, West Chester OH 45069. Telephone: 755-4158. Fax: 755-4150. E-mail:

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