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Delaware honors 5 families for 100 years of farm ownership

Slideshow: The farms must include at least 10 acres of the original parcel or gross more than $10,000 annually in ag sales.

December 19, 2019

6 Slides

The Delaware Department of Agriculture is honoring five farm families for farming the same land for a century or more.

“I don’t think many people realize how few farms there are across the U.S. that have actually have been in the same farm family for 100 years,” says Michael Scuse, state ag secretary. “For us to have 148 farms after today, that is a tremendous accomplishment for any state, let alone a state the size of Delaware. I want to commend these families for being able to keep the farm in the family.”

The Delaware Century Farm Program was established in 1987 to honor farm families who have owned and farmed their land for at least 100 years. The farms must include at least 10 acres of the original parcel or gross more than $10,000 annually in agricultural sales.

Delaware Century Farm families receive a sign for their farms, an engraved plate, a certificate and legislative tributes.

Patricia Warren Carlson and family

The Carlson family is recognized for its 477-acre farm located in Mispillion Hundred.

In 1876, John M. Warren was the highest bidder at $3,600 purchasing his deceased father’s 477-acre farm after finding that no deed was ever recorded for his father’s farm.

When John M. Warren died in 1880, the farm passed to his nine children — Charles, Angelica, Sarah, Florence, Ada, Mary, Ella, Albert and Cora. 

In 1941, Albert’s son, also named Albert, obtained full ownership of the farm, which was left to his wife, Elva, in 1982 before entering a family trust in 2011.

Upon Elva’s death, the farm passed to her daughter, Patricia Warren Carlson, who subsequently placed the farm into her trust.

Over the past 100 years the principal crops have been corn, wheat, barley and soybeans. Research conducted by the family has traced the land’s history to a land grant issued by Delaware’s colonial proprietor, William Penn.

Wayne and Nancy Carmean and family

The Carmean family is recognized for its 50-acre farm located in the Indian River Hundred.

In 1919, John Carmean purchased this 50-acre parcel for $1,350. Carmean and his wife, Stella, had seven children — J. Oscar, Bonard, Hester, Gladys, Delbert, Herman and Barbara.

Upon John’s death in 1966, Stella transferred her interest to her seven children and her children’s spouses. On Jan. 21, 1977, Wayne, Delbert’s son, and his wife, Nancy, purchased the farm from the remaining family members.

The farm has produced grains during the Carmean family’s ownership, including corn, soybeans and wheat.

Granville and Dorothy Conaway and family

The Conaway family is recognized for its 114-acre farm in Dagsboro Hundred, near Georgetown.

Minos Conaway purchased the original 115-acre farm at a sheriff sale in 1894 for $1,000. When Conaway died in 1910, the farm was passed to his widow, Virginia, and their six children — Raymond, Fred, John, Minos, Elsie and Larry.

In 1942, Raymond and his wife, Vertia, purchased the farm from his mother and the remaining family, except for 1 acre that was transferred to Cecil Reed (Hattie Reed).

In 1957, Raymond and Vertia transferred the farm to their son, Granville, and his wife, Dorothy.

The family has grown corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, watermelons, timber and broilers. Today, the Conaway family has grown the operation to encompass nearly 2,000 acres. 

The Truitt family

The Truitt family is recognized for its 133 acres known as Lin-Lo Farms in Seaford Hundred.

In 1900, Harvey Truitt purchased 133 acres and 94 perches from Ann Williams for $1,500.

Following Truitt’s death, the farm transferred to his wife, Mary, then to their son, Fred, and then to Harvey and Mary’s grandson, Howard Melvin Truitt. 

After Fred’s death in 1967 and Mary’s death in 1982, Howard became the farm’s sole owner.

In 1983, Howard transferred the 133-acre and 94 perches to Lin-Lo Farms Inc., of which Howard and his two daughters, Linda and Lois, are members.

Over the years the family has grown a variety of crops including fruits and vegetables, wheat, corn, soybeans, barley and hay. The family has also raised chickens, cows and hogs, and have expanded the farm to more than 400 acres, with a focus on grain.

The Webb family

The Webb family is recognized for its 34-acre farm in Cedar Creek Hundred, west of Ellendale.

The family has owned the 34-acre wooded parcel since 1898, but it is believed to be part of a larger parcel that the family has owned since before 1884. Records show that upon his death in August 1884, Henry Deputy transferred eight farms totaling 1,124 acres to his widow, Sarah Ann, and their five children — William Henry, Samuel, Anna, Jane and Mary — and it is believed that one of these farms contains the 34-acre woodlot. However, the family cannot yet verify this.

In 1898, Samuel Deputy and his wife, Mary, transferred the 34-acre woodlot to his older brother, William Deputy.

When William died in 1920, the 34-acre woodlot, along with other land, was divided into five contiguous tracts of land and given jointly to his sons — William Henry and Charles Frederick.

In 1962, the five tracts of land were split between the brothers and their families. William Henry and his daughter, Viva Webb and son-in-law W. Truitt Webb, received tracts 1 and 2; and Charles Frederick and his wife, Vina Deputy, received tracts 3, 4 and 5, with tract 5 being the 34-acre woodlot. 

In 1964, Charles Frederick transferred the three tracts to his niece, Viva, and her husband.

In 1991, the entire farm was placed into a family trust. In 2018, the entire farm was transferred to Webb Family Farms LLC, which is comprised of Viva’s four great-granddaughters.

The original 34-acre woodlot has remained in forestland throughout the family’s ownership producing timber.

Source: Delaware Department of Agriculture, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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