Eames family keeps roots planted in county

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Ginny Hall | August 16, 2013

The Eames farm is located at W4028 Potter Road in the town of LaFayette.

Frank and Pat Eames purchased the farm in 1972. The Eames ancestry dates back to the Mayflower landing in Massachusetts. From there, the family later moved to New York before heading west.

According to Albert Beckwith's “History of Walworth County,” Frank's great-great-grandparents, Havilah E. and Philatheta Eames, came to Walworth County in June 1843.

When the Eameses bought the farm, the barn was in “tear-down condition,” but it has been restored to retain its authenticity.

It is a bank barn supported by hand-hewn timbers. The barn originally was used to house cows. Later it was lengthened to house draft horses. 

Old World Wisconsin barn builders have dated the barn as built between 1860 and 1880.  This is based on saw marks.

The wood for the barn was probably obtained right on the farm. The barn style shows the northern European/eastern United States influence. The barn quilt is the “Underground Railroad” pattern.

Frank's great-grandfather was Francis H. Eames Sr. He married Jenette Smith. Their first son, Francis H. Jr., was born July 29, 1872, in Spring Prairie Township. 

Francis H. Jr. married Jane Bradley on Aug. 12, 1897. This union produced two sons, Clifford Bradley and Claude Francis. The latter was fondly known as “Mud” Eames in his later years. 

In 1899, Francis purchased a one-third interest in the Elkhorn Independent. Claude was the father of Frank. Both of these men also were owners of the Elkhorn Independent.        

The 1857 plat map shows the owner of this property as H.H. Sterling. He owned 160 acres.

In 1873, 1891 and 1907, the owner as shown in the plat books was George Cain. He came to the area in 1846 and was a member of the Old Settlers' Society. He was a commissioner for the Troy drainage ditch and served as treasurer.

He was appointed as a member of the Elkhorn fireman's company in 1895 and served as an Elkhorn trustee in 1896. 

The 1921 plat book indicates that the owner of this property was James Hodges. In 1930, the owner was listed as B.P. Eldred.

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