Local Minnesota Raw Honey
Ames Farm was founded November 1 1994 with the purchase of 8 acres on Oak Lake near Watertown Minnesota.
This property was originally part of an 80 acre piece homesteaded by John McCormack from the USA government when Abraham Lincoln was president in 1861. It was listed in the abstract as a military bounty patent land transaction on July 1st 1861. The current farmstead, now 7 acres, was split off in 1885 for $75.00. In the early 1900's, the property went back and forth in ownership to the Tabitha Society of MN, which was a Swedish Lutheran Church group, who were the founding fathers of the well known Bethesda Hospital in the Cities.
More then once in the early history of the property, the local lumberyard, Fullerton Lumber, which is still in operation in Watertown today, had a lien on the property for unpaid debts.
Its hard to imagine how any one made a go of this place with so little acreage during an era were commuting was not easy. Numerous short term owners bought and sold the property and I can imagine some hard luck stories.
Most notable though was Herman Jahnke "a single" man whom lived here from Dec 12, 1922 until Dec 17th 1955 and was still listed as a single man in the abstract when he sold out. There is a cement door stoop still in one piece with his name on it I use for the cottage stoop.
I wonder what his life was like here and how he made it work. Did he work in nearby Watertown, perhaps? Or did he grow all of his food and barter for other goods?
The small 2 bedroom farm house has a floor heat vent upstairs with the year 1893 stamped in the metal.
I purchased the place in Nov 1994 from David and Shilon Bedford. David is a well known horticulturist whom created the Honeycrisp, Zestar and Sweet Tango apples at the University of MN.
Many of the Honeycrisp trees here are some of the original trees David planted in the 1980's before the variety was released to the public.