Honoring Centennial/Sesquicentennial Farms in DeKalb County
Original Date of Purchase: 1870
Current Owners: Florence Hipple, Jerald & Susan Hipple
Farm History: In 1870, Civil War veteran, John Henry and Lucy [Ensminger] Hipple traveled from Perry County, Pennsylvania, to rural Waterman. Two of John’s sisters were already living in Waterman: Anna Kirkpatrick [husband Smiley] and Sarah Carnes [husband David]. They traveled with the William Henderson Family and they all spent their first year together in a sod house on Hipple’s new farmland.
John and Lucy then built a farm home off Preserve Road and had six children. Later, their four sons inherited and worked the four connecting family farms. Their youngest son, Edgar, built the farmhouse on Rt. 23, married Sadie [Fraser], and they had three children: Fraser, Helen, and Edgar Ensminger Jr. Both Fraser and Edgar Jr. began farming after high school.
Edgar Sr. was a founder of the Soil Improvement Association (DeKalb County Farm Bureau), which began in 1912. He was an SIA Director for 16 years representing Clinton township on the Farm Bureau Board. In 1917, the DeKalb County Agriculture Association was formed and Edgar Sr. was one of the first nine directors of DeKalb Ag.
Edgar Jr. married Florence Owen in 1941, and they had two children, Judy and Jerald. After graduating college in 1970, Jerry began farming and married Susan Wood in 1971.They moved onto the farm, and have four children: Aaron, Stacy, Timothy and Adam.
Today, Adam and Jerry work the farm, growing corn and soybeans. Adam, GeriKay and daughter Audrey are the fourth generation to live in the 1904 home built by Edgar Sr. and are the fifth generation to farm.
Jerry and Sue built a new ranch home nearby. Florence is still in her own home. Their children and six grandchildren from California and Michigan love visiting the farm.
Two of their farms were certified as Illinois Centennial Farms in 1970 and 2010; one of those is also a Sesquicentennial Farm.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Centennial & Sesquicentennial Farms Program honors generations of farmers who have worked to maintain family farms for 100+ years. The DeKalb County Farm Bureau recognizes these local farms and families – the tenth in a series of features. To have your farm featured, contact the Farm Bureau.