This beautiful old brick residence is still standing today in Section 6 of Whitefield Township.
It is over one hundred years old, having been built before 1873.
Presently it is the home of Mrs. Ethel Doyle.
The 80 acres of farm land now owned by George E. Mattern has been in the Mattern family since October, l874. It is approximately seven miles west of Henry and about three miles east of Whitefield Corners.
The earliest record of its ownership goes back to February 10, 1818 when Theopolus Doekman (or Dockhome) became owner of the original quarter of 160 acres of which the Mattern farm was at that time a part, according to the records at the Lacon Court House. He deeded the property to John Abbot June 3, 1818. Following John Abbot, the owners were:
Aaron Crane - January 4, 1819
John West - July 25, 1819
Lyman C. Smith - September 9, 1842
David C. Davis - December 10, 1842
Ben Shelton - November 1, 1848 for tax deed
William H. Mann - January 25, 1850
Richard Lloyd - June 18, 1867
John Mateer and Isaac A. Green - December 17, 1867
The quarter then was divided February 20, 1868. John Mateer got the S1/2 and Isaac A. Green, the ½. Evidently the property had not been paid for by October 24, 1874 so Richard Lloyd still held the deed. George Peter Mattern then purchased the property on that date, October 24, 1874, from Richard Lloyd.
When George Peter Mattern died in 1898 at the age of fifty-four, Edward B. Mattern, their adopted son, who was now twenty, farmed the land for his mother, Karoline until Edward's oldest son, George Edward was twenty-one years old in 1921. Mrs. George Peter (Karoline) Mattern had moved to the town of Henry in 1910. Her son, Edward B. purchased a farm near the then town of Whitefield in 1921. George Edward, George Peter and Karoline's grandson, then took over the farming of the Mattern homestead. In April, 1926 George Edward bought the farm from the only heir, Edward B. and his wife, Anna.
It was on this farm that eleven of the twelve children of Edward B. and Anna Mattern were born. It was also on this farm that Edward B. took up the trade of taxidermy, self-taught by mail, through the "Northwest School of Taxidermy" of Omaha, Nebraska. From what had started as a hobby on this farm grew to a full time business after moving to Henry in 1924.
George Edward, who had begun his farming as a bachelor in 1921, was married to Gertrude Kapraun in January, 1925. To them were born seven children, all raised on the old homestead.
George Edward and Gertrude and their three oldest children lost almost all of their belongings when their large farm house burned in March of 1929. A chimney spark caught on the shingles early on a windy morning causing the house to burn to the ground. At the time, the youngest of their three children was just one month old.
Kind neighbors, the Henry Merdians had an empty house just north of the Mattern property. They sold it to the Matterns who had it moved onto the foundation where the burned house had stood.
The farm at one time was quite a place with white picket fence across the front along the road. It had in addition to the big house, two barns, a crib, two silos, a machine shed, a large hog house, a large chicken house, a brooder house for baby chickens, and a workshop which also housed taxidermy equipment. There were four huge maple trees and a box elder tree lining the front yard along the road; six nice tall pines and about four cherry trees in the front yard. In the back yard were more trees, including an orchard and a grape arbor. A huge beautiful maple tree shaded the southeast corner of the house near the summer kitchen. Of course when the house burned this tree was a part of the fire's toll. Age and time have taken their toll of the original homestead as it does all things - human and otherwise. And the fire did its share. The place has few of its original buildings and trees left as it used to be in the 1900's.
Mrs. Virgil Bogner
Great-granddaughter of George Peter Mattern
In the early 1800's Thomas Landers immigrated to the United States from Tipperary, Ireland. He first settled in the East and after a few years set out to seek his fortune in the "New West." He was employed in the construction of the early railroad and it was this connection that brought him first to Putnam County.
He served in the Civil War and after returning to Illinois, he purchased land.
In 1866 Thomas and his wife settled on a farm located in Whitefield Township. They reared three children; Dennis, Kate and Mary. Thomas passed away in 1932 at the age of ninety-one.
Dennis, the only son, farmed the land and later acquired the farm which now consists of 276 acres in Sections 2 and 11, Whitefield Township. Dennis married and became the father of two daughters who own the farm today. They are Miss Mary Ann Landers and Mrs. John (Eleanor) Sears of Henry.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Haun are presently living on the farm.
Mrs. Eleanor Sears
Clark Swift Farm
Philander Swift was born in Rochester, New York in 1800. He came to the "New West" in the early 1840's, making the journey by wagon, before his son, Clark, was two years old. When the family reached Marshall County, they settled in Whitefield Township. He had been engaged in merchandising in the East, however, he gave his full attention to agricultural pursuits when he came to Marshall County.
Philander died in 1865, leaving a widow and eleven children. His son, Clark, who was nine at the time of his death, upon becoming of age purchased the "homeplace." Later, he purchased 80 acres in Section 5 of Whitefield Township, Clark married Electa Fosdick. Two children were born; Bertha and Merton. Merton married Miss Jennie Wheeler of Putnam and continued to live on the old home farm.
Merton and Jennie had two sons, Percy and Clare. Percy's daughter became Mrs. Edwin Noder of Henry. Presently, Mrs. Noder and her son, Larry, are the fifth and sixth generations to own and operate the Swift farm.
There are no buildings existing on the land presently.
Mrs. James Harmon
(daughter of Mrs. Noder)
Richard Waughop, born October 8, 1830, owned and operated a farm in LaPrairie Township. Being a very religious man he drove several miles to attend services regularly at the Christian Church in South Whitefield. In 1865 he sold his farm in LaPrairie and in order to be near the church of his choice bought a quarter section of land in Whitefield Township across the road from the church. Mr. Waughop and his wife, the former Mary Catherine BonDurant, with their two children, Clara B. and Isaac W., moved into a small house located on this farm. It was here two years later their second daughter, Marcie A. was born.
Mr. Waughop planted many trees of different varieties to beautify the farm and about 1870 he built the big barn and the large frame house, now owned and occupied by his granddaughter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Earle Blackwell. It was in this house Mr. and Mrs. Richard Waughop's second son, Richard Leslie was born August 18, 1872. He lived his entire life of 78 years on this farm.
Richard Leslie acquired ownership of the farm from his father. His wife was Miss Estella Deck of Henry, and it was in this same house their three daughters, Irma (Mrs. Flavil Bland) of Bethany, Illinois; Vada (Mrs. Earle Blackwell) residing on the home place; Miss Verla Waughop of Peoria, Illinois; and a son, Richard William, who died in infancy, were born.
After the death of her father, Richard Leslie Waughop, Vada Waughop Blackwell became the third generation owner of the farm, and, like her father, has thus far, lived here all her life, and proudly displays her Centennial Farm sign near the road at the end of the lane of maple trees planted by her grandfather, Richard Waughop, more than one hundred years ago. The farm is located in Section 28 of Whitefield Township.
Mrs. Earle Blackwell