Family Farm Heritage

Honoring Centennial/Sesquicentennial Farms in DeKalb County

Mullins Farms

Location: Shabbona
Township: Shabbona, Sections 7 & 18
Original Date of Purchase: 1853
Current Owners: Mullins Families
Acres: 175

Farm History: Robert Mullins was born on a farm in Woodall, Yorkshire, England in 1811. He married Sarah Ulyett in 1834. In 1852 Robert and Sarah emigrated with their family to America, settling in Shabbona, Illinois. They moved here with their seven children and a group of other English families from Yorkshire. Robert’s initial purchases of farmland were located in Shabbona Township, west of Shabbona.

Robert & Sarah Mullins emigrated from England to Shabbona, Illinois in 1852.

Three of Robert’s sons farmed in the local area but the oldest son, George, acquired the original tracts of farmland. Additionally, George became an extensive landowner increasing his farmland to as much as 522 acres in the early 1900s. He and his wife Mary Ann had eight children. Two of their sons, William and Robert A., acquired the family farmland. Robert A.’s son, Leslie, Sr., and then his son, Leslie, Jr. were next in line for ownership. Bill Mullins purchased the two tracts of farmland in 2005 from his cousin, Leslie, Jr., and siblings amounting to 175 acres on County Line Road.

Robert Mullins, Sr. and his sons Robert, Jr. and Will are shown with their horses and stately dairy barn in 1880s.

Now the Centennial Family farmland is owned by the Mullins, LLC, with primary partners being Bill and Bonnie; Suzann Alde and her adult children Ren, Emily and Robyn; Beth Hanson and her adult children Melissa and Robert; and Robert “Robb” Mullins. Seven generations have owned the farm ground.

The Mullins Dryer Farm is located in Shabbona.

The Mullins family also owns other Centennial/Sesquicentennial Farms following the Martha Spray Mullins lineage from Matthew to William to Martha Spray (Howard) Mullins to Bill Mullins and finally the Mullins, LLC. They are the Windy Hill Farm est. in 1864 of 230 acres where Howard and Martha resided for 67 years and where Robb now lives; the Dryer Farm est. in 1913 of 110 acres, named after Mullins Grain Elevator; and the Quilhot Farm est. in 1854 of 80 acres. Robb currently farms the land with family member and partner Keegan Maxwell, husband of Emily Alde Maxwell.

The Bill and Bonnie Mullins family of Shabbona has a rich heritage with seven generations of farmland owners, including their adult children Suzann, Beth and Robb and grandchildren.

In regards to the original Mullins land, both of Bill Mullins’ grandfathers dealt with infrastructure issues with the railroad cutting diagonally through their farmland and then later the construction of the new highway, Rt. 30, which made farming the land challenging.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Centennial & Sesquicentennial Farms Programs 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 12th in a series of features.