Fermilab History and Archives Project

Carlson/Ford Farm: Site 41

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Carlson/Ford Family History

Seth Carlson was born in Sweden in 1885. He immigrated to the United States in 1907 and found work in Batavia. His wife, Anna, was born in Sweden in 1890 and immigrated to the United States in 1912. They were married in 1916 and had two children: Erving (b. 1919) and Mariann (b. 1928). The Carlsons rented farms in the area prior to buying the farm on Feldott Road (site 41).

The Carlsons had lived previously on the Kuhn farm just west of the Fermilab site at the intersection of Wilson Street and Kirk Road. They lived there for ten years before moving to site 41 in 1946.  The previous owners of site 41 could not get into their new home for several months, so Seth bought a new “chicken house” for his family to live in while they waited for the other family to move out. They brought cots, a stove, and dishes, and Anna hung curtains around the windows. This was their home until the previous owners moved.

The Carlsons’ farm was about 27 acres. Seth grew corn on the property, but he also did land surveying and tile installation for water runoff. Seth was popular with the other farmers in the area because he installed their tiling, which kept their fields drained after heavy rains. Seth took pride in his work and did it all by hand for a number of years until he bought a back-hoe to help with the digging. He sometimes hired men to work with him because this job involved such hard physical labor.

Raising chickens was another activity. Mariann would wake up early to feed the chickens and she collected their eggs at night. Her other chores included mowing the lawn, washing her parents’ car, picking grapes, and tending to her mother’s flower garden. Mariann attended Buelter School. Her brother, Erving, helped with chores on the farm when he was not working at the Batavia bowling alley, setting pins before the installation of modern automatic pin setters.

Seth Carlson retired in the late 1950s and sold his farm to Floyd and Maryann Ford, who had married in 1946 and also lived in Batavia. The Fords hauled freight and delivered mail to area post offices. They had two children, Leroy (b. 1947) and Mary Katherine (b. 1952). Seth and Anna Carlson moved to a house on Anderson Boulevard in Geneva. Seth died in 1976 and Anna passed away in1979. Mariann lives in Batavia and has attended the Farmers Picnics.

The Fords did not farm as much but they leased some of their land to local farmers. When the Fords sold their property to the state of Illinois in 1969 they moved back to Batavia. Floyd passed away in 1988 and Maryann still lives in Batavia.

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Ellen Anderson Kames (l) and Sister Hilda (l) and Anna Carlson Alma (l), Hilda and Seth Carlson
  Carlson Homestead  

Farm Families

Farm Families