Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Mike and I were recently notified that the board of trustees of the Idaho State Historical Society has approved Idaho Century Farm status for the Kathy Dobson Warnock Farm, otherwise known as the Julian and Ina Dobson Homestead. This is a humbling experience for me because by happenstance I am the one standing to receive the award that others earned by hard labor and perseverance.  Even so, I didn't initiate the application process -- Mike did. He said we owed it to my grandparents Julian and Ina and my dad Vance, who worked to hold and maintain the land through hard times. I also give credit to my mother, Dorothy Portfors Dobson, who advised me to treasure it as my heritage.

I admit that I am quickly frustrated with applications. Without Mike's help and support I never would have completed the process. We had most of the documentation on hand -- the land patent, the deed, my dad's will, etc. But we had nothing to prove that Ina became the owner upon Julian's passing, and that took research at the Clearwater County Courthouse.

Finally, as we neared the end of the process, Mike suggested I finish the work. I then took over to prove that at least 40 acres of the farm had been in continuous cultivation over 100 years. I was required to provide one document of proof for each decade, and I wanted to do this through my own resources and contacts rather than asking a researcher to provide tax statements. Leah the genealogist provided a great jump start by sending the census of 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 which listed Julian as a farmer. Other documentation included a letter written by Julian, agricultural plans, obituaries, and a statement signed by a neighbor and previous lessee who stipulated that he and his father had leased the farm for 35 years. I made a portfolio of the documentation and interspersed photos throughout for interest. I hope it was interesting. No one said. But knowing that the application was a success has made it all seem worthwhile.

A presentation ceremony will be scheduled. I'll update when I have more information. KW


DrJulieAnn @ Modern Retro Woman said...

Congratulations! What a terrific way to honor the grandparents' and father's hard work.

On our travels through America's heartland, we've come across farms with the Centennial designation and it always served as a reminder of the hard work that was required to cultivate the land...and that families stuck it out even in hard times.

Congratulations again!

drMolly, the BeanQueen said...

Kathy - what a wonderful thing. My parents "farm" of 52 acres is the remaining remnant of a post-Civil War land grant, but has not been in the same family for all of that time, so would not qualify. It is on the west side of WA state and "smack-dab" in the middle of homes. No farming around there anymore. It is a lovely place in itself, but no longer a "real farm".
I do envy you some.

Kathy said...

Thank you, my "doctor" friends, for your well wishes and for letting me know you visited today. It made my day! And thanks for sharing your interesting comments.

It *was* hard work to establish a homestead, but I've come to appreciate the independence that land ownership afforded a man and his family.

Leah said...

CONGRATULATIONS. Such wonderful news. To know that your farm is now an official "Idaho Century Farm" must give your family great pleasure. It was indeed hard work for you to complete & submit the paperwork. To have been a tiny part of your project makes me happy.

Your farm is a very important part of Idaho's history. And it goes without saying, the farm and house are very photogenic.

Chris said...

Congratulations! If you have needed verification for the sixties, I could have commented! I was there, gilded your bed, and saw crops in the field. :-)

Kathy said...

And your affidavit might have worked, too, Chris. I commented in my cover letter that having taken a homestead, they could hardly afford not to farm it. And with government control and subsidy, you don't have options. Ah -- such is the way of grants and awards.

Hallie said...

I'm very excited for the ceremony. We'll have to plan a celebration event. I like the farm shot from the north--a different angle than I recall seeing before. I also love the golden sunlight In the second photo.

Kathy said...

The ceremony needs some thought, that's for sure. We should make a display. Pictures for sure -- maybe a slide show. And we have other items we can use as well.