Family Farm Heritage

Posted: April 20, 2022

Honoring Sesquicentennial Farms in DeKalb County

Wesson Farm
City: Leland
Township: Victor
Original Date of Purchase: 1849
Current Owner: Kent Wesson
Acres: 160 (less 2 acres donated to establish Victor Cemetery)

Farm History

The Wesson Family has deep roots in America. John Wesson arrived from England in North America in 1645. His descendant James W. Wesson moved west and settled in Victor Township, DeKalb County. He purchased 160-acres in 1849 north of Leland, the southeast quarter of Section 17, located on Leland and Wesson roads.

This was the original homestead on the Wesson Farm located in Victor Township dating back to the mid-1800s.

Wesson School was built in 1852 on the west side of Leland Road across from Victor Cemetery. James helped construct the country school where the Wesson children attended for nearly a century.

The Civil War called James’s son, Silas (S.D.) Dexter, to enlist. He was in Company K, 8th Illinois Calvary Unit from Sept. 1861 until he mustered out on July 17, 1865. S.D. kept a diary during his service to the Union Army. Many Leland school classes read and studied this personal record of the Civil War. S.D.’s unit was one of the first to see action at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Today, the Wesson’s Victor Centre Farm still has the old red barn and crib plus a modern machine shop, and feeder cattle building.

When S.D. returned to Victor Township, his calvary horse “Old Charley” came too. Old Charley was also a war survivor. Company K originally had 1,200 horses. Old Charley was 1 of 12 horses to survive. A plaque marking Old Charley’s final resting place is mounted on the Wesson barn courtesy of the county’s Historical Society.

With S.D. home, he married Magdalene Suydam and they had 11 children. Their son Wilder then purchased the family farm raising corn and hay for their livestock. Son Heston Wesson and his wife Wilma subsequently purchased the farm. Their sons, Kent, Norman, and William all farm in Victor Township today.

The fifth generation of Wesson brothers continue to farm today – Kent, Bill and Norman.

This five generation Sesquicentennial Farm continues to be an active farm with corn and soybeans as the primary crops along with feeder cattle. Kent recalls how train cars carrying cattle would be unloaded in downtown Leland, and then be driven up Leland Road to the Wesson Farm. There could be 9 or 10 train cars to load or unload. Today there is a cattle shed on the farm with modern facilities. The Kent Wesson Farm continues its active interest in Black Angus feeder cattle.

Kent and Karen have 5 children and 14 grandchildren. They say it’s comforting to know their farm will continue in the hands of 6th and 7th generations and beyond.

Kent and Karen Wesson are pictured with their grandchildren, the 7th generation of Wessons.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Centennial and Sesquicentennial Farm 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 third in a series of features. To have your farm featured, contact the Farm Bureau.