Starting the Family Farm With a Quarter Section

Granddaughter remembers the story of how her grandfather started their family farm in the late 1800s

| Good Old Days

My grandfather, Soren C. Anderson, received the "patent papers" on his land donation claim September 29th, 1888. They are signed by President Grover Cleveland, and entitled him to 153 and 99/100th acres for his family farm. It was not a full quarter section of 160 acres because the land was just five miles from the "correction line." Grandpa raised wheat and corn, as well as some cattle and hogs. After a number of years he began to buy up nearby land until he had four additional quarter sections.

This is how it came about that in 1911 my father, John Hoien, rented two quarter sections from my grandfather. The land was about six miles west of Conde, South Dakota. I was born on that farm in 1914. We had a large, two-story L-shaped house with a roofed side porch filling in the L. Our barn was only a small she but when I was 4 years old a large barn with a big haymow was built. One day when it was nearly finished, I was playing in the yard, barefooted, when my father called to me, saying, "Go and wash your feet real good in the horse trough." I did and Father came and carried me to the new cement that had been poured for the driveway between the stalls in the barn. He carefully set me down in the wet cement, with his hand pressing my feet deep into it. When he lifted me up he said I could wash my feet again. So my footprints were always there in the barn. I was quite proud of them and when other children came to play with us I'd take them to the barn to show off my footprints. .

It was about a year later on a dry, extremely hot summer day that we saw black clouds forming in the northwest. Soon Father came running to the house shouting, "A tornado is coming!" He then hurried to the barn to close the big haymow door. Mother gathered us children into a back bedroom where we clung to her. We could hear the awful rumble of the wind that shook the ground as the funnel approached. Although it was daytime it became very dark, and I remember Mother quietly praying for God to protect us. Suddenly there was a screeching, grinding sound, the house shook and then all became quiet and rain began to fall. We looked out and Father came, saying it was all past now. Then we saw that the corner porch post had been wrenched out of our side porch! There were five buildings on our farm and that was the only damage to any of them. One header box had been lifted off of its wheels and smashed, and we found a few dead chickens, but we all felt that God had heard Mother's prayers for protection.

Eunice Hoien Dahlgren
Sweet Home Oregon

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 



February 15-16, 2020
Belton, Texas

Join us in the Lone Star state to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds