Three Gallia County Families Receive Historic Farm Designations
Photos courtesy Gallia Soil and Water Conservation District.
In spring 2015, the Gallia SWCD helped three families register their farms in the Ohio Bicentennial and Century Farms program. The Burdell, Elliott-Massie and Niday families join George Woodward (farm est. 1819), James Glassburn (farm est. 1842), and David Carter (farm est. 1878) as Ohio Century Farm owners in Gallia County.
Lawrence Burdell’s farm has been in his family since 1915. His grandfather, David Burdell, was founder of Harris Grange and served as Deputy of State Grange Master. F.W. Burdell, Lawrence’s father, gave testimony to help with the initial organization of the Gallia SWCD. Lawrence served as President of the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and on Gallia SWCD’s Board of Supervisors for 27 years. He was recognized as the SWCD Supervisor of the Year and the family received the Conservation Farm Family award at the Farm Science Review. The family raises beef cattle, bees, corn, hay and silage on their 225-acre farm. They hosted the county’s Farm City Day in 2015.
The 124-acre Elliott-Massie farm was founded in 1914 by Ira Elliott and later transferred to his son, Walter, in 1931. As a tobacco-grower, Walter would take a day to drive 250 miles in his Model T in order to get a good market price for his and the neighbors’ crops. His daughter, Kathryn Massie, inherited the farm in 1990. She was honored as the Gallia SWCD’s Woman of the Year in 2011. Her husband, Noel, served on the Gallia SWCD Board of Supervisors, and is now an associate member. Kathryn and Noel’s sons, Rob and Tim, help keep the farm going. Kathryn, Rob, and Tim all serve on the Gallia County Jr. Fairboard. Tim served as a vocational agricultural teacher and was principal of Gallia Academy High School.
Victor Jerome Niday, who later served in Ohio’s House of Representatives, and his wife, Mary Graham Niday, started their family farm legacy in 1904. Their grandson, Vic, spent his entire life working on the farm, except during his U.S. Army stint, 1959 to 1962. He and his wife, Mary Walker Niday, took over farm operations in 1977. The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2012. They received the 4-H Alumni Award, and with daughter Cynthia, the 4-H Hall of Fame Award in Gallia County. They are SWCD affiliate members, have received the Conservation Farm Family award, served as delegates at the Farm Bureau state convention, and are part of the U.S. Quilt Block Trail. Their hobby of photographing and documenting the county’s barns was showcased at the Farm City Day in 2015.