Three Bicentennial Farms Recognized in Clark County
Two families in Clark County recently received Bicentennial Farm designations at the Clark County Fair.
In 1811, John Black purchased land in Pike Township from the United States, with a deed from President James Madison.
The first house in Pike Township still stands here, along with an original bank barn.
Crops and timber were harvested on the farm. After 1900 through the mid-1970s, the farm was used to graze feeder cattle.
John Black was the great-great-grandfather of Marianna Black Kesler. Marianna eventually inherited the farm, which was later transferred to her son Eric.
Eric was a member of the Northwestern High School FFA chapter. He and his wife Karen reside on the farm, which has hosted many visits from school children.
Today, Eric and Karen grow corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay, and raise Black Angus beef cattle.
Karen, who was instrumental in researching the farm registration, said that her mother-in-law, Marianna Black Kesler, would be proud for her family to receive the Ohio Bicentennial Farm designation for their farm.
Within Ohio’s Bicentennial Farm families, the Hardacres are in a rather unique position of owning two Bicentennial Farms, both dating back to 1811 land grants from the president.
Their farms – Hardacre Farm and Bethel Ridge Farm – were started by different family lines which eventually connected through marriages.
Hardacre Farm was founded by the owners’ paternal great-great-great grandfather, Hugh Wallace. The farm, owned by brothers Richard and Dale Hardacre, is now 60 tillable acres with another 25 acres in pasture and woods in Bethel Township. While engaged in milk production in the past, the family had received numerous quality awards through Miami Valley Milk Producers and Milk Marketing Inc. for Hardacre Farms.
Corn and soybeans are grown by Richard, while the lower pasture and East Fork Creek are used for grazing. Future plans are for the farm to remain in agricultural use for the next generations of the family.
Bethel Ridge Farm was founded by the owners’ maternal great-great-great grandfather, Daniel Leffel. This farm is 135 acres in Bethel and Pike Townships, owned by Richard and Bonita Hardacre.
A house and barn built around 1852, plus a natural water spring are prominent features on this farm. Crops include corn and soybeans, and replacement heifers are pastured. Richard and Bonita are members of the Clark County Farm Bureau, and have been longtime supporters of local 4-H programs.