Fermilab History and Archives Project

Kames Farm: Site 50

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Kames Family History

The M. Anthony Kames farm dates back to the late 1800s. The son of Nicholas Kammes, who had come from Luxembourg in 1840, M. Anthony changed the spelling of the family name and bought some of the property from a son of Darius Bartholomew in 1905.  M. Anthony had married Katherine Feldott, daughter of Johaan and Theresia Feldott, in 1887.  They built their house in 1917 and had two sets of twin daughters among their eight children. Their son, Edwin married Ellen Anderson, daughter of Louise and Anton Anderson, in 1923 and M. Anthony lived with them until he died in 1933. Ed and Ellen owned the farm until 1969 when they moved to Waterman after the state of Illinois bought their property. In 1976 the Kames family retired from farming and returned to Batavia.

The Kames’ had a dairy, poultry and grain farm on 180 acres. They used workhorses, Dolly and Babe, to help with the labor until they switched to a tractor in the late 1950s. Their son, Donald, learned to drive a truck when he was 10 years old but driving the tractor was more exciting and more important on the farm. There is a legend that a meteorite hit their hog pasture and they were unable to break up the large rock or the ground it impacted. Neighbors ice-skated in winter on the pond that filled the crater.

Everyone knew their neighbors and all the families because they all went to the Round Grove School across the street together. They all worked and played together. There was so much hard work to do that it was exhausting and if one farmer became ill, his neighbors came over to do his field work in addition to their own. One of the family’s proudest achievements was building their ceramic tile silo.

In 1948, Donald married Margaret Drendel. Peg recalls living near her in-laws at the McGary home at Site 73 from 1949-53. There was no plumbing in the home. There was no heat until they installed a furnace in exchange for rent. Then they moved to Keil Road in West Chicago and lived there until 1995 when the DuPage County Airport acquired their home. Now they are retired from farming and live in Geneva. They had five children and their son, Stephen, helped Ed Kames tend the Waterman farm for some years.

The Kames house and barns on Batavia Road are still in their original locations.


Click on individual photographs for more information.

Kames family Back: Joseph, John Mary, Theresa, Edwin and George Front: Evelyn, M. Anthony, Katherine Feldott, and Emma Hockey at Kames field Adeline, Rose and Margaret Miller, Arlene and Marlene Kroning - Kames field, early 1940s
Kames home on Batavia Road Kames barn with ceramic tile silo Kames homestead on Batavia Road
Maury Hassel on horse with his father Harold Hassel on Kames farm John Komes. Kames barn, late 1940s Boys playing ball. Kames field, 1940s

Farm Families

Farm Families