Going back as long as I can remember, we have gone to College Corner for the Easter Egg Hunt. The Hetrick Farm has been our families’ Saturday-before-Easter destination for over a century.
In the early 1800’s, David S. Hetrick settled in Bath Township, Franklin County, on a land grant farm. In 1903 it was his grandson, Charles, who purchased and moved onto what would become Hetrick Farms in Union County, West College Corner, Indiana. Charles Hetrick farmed and bred sulky harness racehorses for the county fair circuits in Ohio and Indiana. As well as crops and animals, Charles and his wife Florence raised their family: Pearl, Mable, and Harry. All three attended Union School in College Corner, whose unique feature to this day is that half the school is in Indiana and half in Ohio. There are two front doors with “Indiana” over one and “Ohio” over the other. When Harry was ten, the old farmhouse burned. It was replaced by the present house, seen in this painting, in 1915.
Harry attended Purdue University, graduating in 1926. He met and married Ceacle Whitton, whose family had moved from Scott County, Kentucky to Rush County, Indiana. My Uncle Harry and Aunt Ceacle settled on the farm in 1928 and modernized farming by replacing horses and mules with tractors and mechanized equipment. They also raised hogs and beef cattle, and three children. Donna, Linda, and Charles attended Union School. All three graduated from Purdue University and chose careers in teaching or industry. Harry retired from farming in 1976 allowing others to plant and harvest the corn and soybeans. He died in 1990, and Ceacle (the lady in the blue dress and white apron by the back door in the painting) a year later. Charles bought his sisters’ shares in the farm, acquiring 2/3 interest in the farm.
Florence VanNess Hetrick was my great-grandmother, and Pearl Hetrick Fudge my grandmother. Pearl Fudge maintained 1/3 interest in the farm, which was sold to Charles upon my mother’s death. Coming full circle, a “Charles Hetrick” owns Hetrick farms. Presently, the efforts of the McDill family allow the property to remain a working farm.
Charles Hetrick has since worked with Purdue University Department of Forestry’s Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center to plant tree seedlings. A total of 10,000 have been planted in order to study pollination and growth patterns over a 15-year period. In 2014, 132 acres of wooded and untillable land, including the hardwood research tree plantings, were acquired by The Nature Conservancy as part of their Forest Bank Program.
This picture reminds us that the family farm has been a part of this nation’s well-being for many generations. The cornerstones of faith and family have held this nation together through war and famine: a nation’s strength is only as strong as its basic unit—the family. I was one of the lucky ones. Six generations, maybe seven, have celebrated the Easter egg hunt at Hetrick Farms. The families of my grandmother, my mother, my three girls, and my grandsons have all attended this annual event with me – representing five generations in my lifetime. This picture paints the fond memories of families united by love of God, love of country, and love of others. Our family has been blessed by the family farm. America has been blessed by our farmers!