Northern Colorado family celebrates 100-year farming history | TheFencePost.com

Northern Colorado family celebrates 100-year farming history

James Redmond
For The Greeley Tribune

One-hundred years ago, Claus and Hilda Johnson bought a farm in Eaton, Colo. During Labor Day weekend, three generations of their descendants gathered in celebration of the family's history.

Relatives from as far as California and Florida gathered at the Johnson farm in Eaton to celebrate with food, hay rides and other festivities.

For some cousins, like Steve Nelson, it was more than 50 years ago when they visited the family farm last. A lot changed in that time, but as Nelson walked the farm with his cousin Marvin Johnson on Sept. 3, he said he still recognized the trees he played under as a child.

The people look the same, too, Nelson said. He recognized Johnson right away.

Before the more than 100 family members had time to eat a late brunch on Sept. 3, the two cousins strolled around the farm. Johnson explained how the newer farm equipment worked and pointed out all the old equipment Nelson might recognize from his last visit in the 1960s.

Marvin's brother, Barry Johnson, runs the farm now, but Marvin grew up on the land and still comes out to help his brother from time to time, he said.

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When Claus and Hilda farmed the land 100 years ago, they grew sugar beets on 120 acres of farmland, Barry said. Now he and his family farm sugar beets, corn and wheat on about 400 acres of land.

"Ever since Claus came here, sugar beets have been an important crop to us," he said.

Claus and Hilda both immigrated to the U.S. from Sweden, fleeing famine. Hilda had family in the Weld County area, and Claus came to Colorado to work in the mountains, according to Susan Stamp, one of the couple's granddaughters. But Claus left the mountains, Stamp said, and tried his hand at farming in Weld County, where he met Hilda.

After working for another farmer for a while, Claus saved enough money to buy the land and farmhouse, originally built by Benjamin Eaton, Stamp said. Since then, the Johnson family has continuously farmed the land for 100 years.

Stamp said she remembers visiting the farm as a child before it had modern amenities, such as an indoor bathroom.

"It was an adventure," she said.

Paula Johnson, Barry's wife, laughed thinking about life on the farm years ago.

"I don't miss those adventures," she said. "I like push-button laundry." ❖

Learn about Weld County history

To learn about some of Weld County’s historic sites, go to bit.ly/2wyYoU0.

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