Farm's early owner built first smithy in county

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Ginny Hall | March 28, 2014

The Jones farm is located in Section 16 in the town of Linn on the north side of Linton Road. It is just west of the intersection with Zenda Road. Their barn quilt is called “Sunflower Star.”

The 1857 plat map indicates that the owner of this property was Patrick Cullen, who owned 160 acres. The 2010 plat book shows the Jones property as 147.12 acres. Some of the acreage on the north side of the farm facing Lake Shore Road now has several private dwellings.

The 1882 “History of Walworth County” indicates that Patrick Cullen was the first blacksmith in the town of Linn.  He built the first smithy in Walworth County. Patrick emigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1846 and came to this county soon after. He bought this farm in 1849. Ten years later, he was serving as the town justice of the peace. Patrick died on July 4, 1864, at the age of 73. His daughter, Anna, was the wife of Arthur Kaye, owner of Kaye's Park. 

The 1873 plat book shows that E. Cullen is the owner of this farm. In 1891 it is listed as Edward Cullen. Edward was  Patrick's son. Edward served the township as an associate supervisor in 1876. 

The 1893 “Portrait and Biographical Record of Walworth and Jefferson Counties” indicates that Edward served for six years as a blacksmith in a foundry at West Point, N.Y.  He returned to his father's farm for two years.  Next he worked at the Franklin Forge in New York City and at the Morgan Iron Works. Next he worked as a blacksmith in San Francisco for two years. The next nine years he spent as a prospector before returning to the farm in May 1863. In November of that year he was drafted but paid a substitute $300 so he could remain on the farm because his father was not well.

He married Elizabeth Kelley on May 3, 1864. They had five children: Laura A., Frank J., George Philip, Walter Herbert and Harold Edward. Edward had a herd of 30 dairy cows and several “fine blooded” horses.  Laura was listed as one of the best horse women of Walworth County. She also was an excellent musician.

In 1907 the plat book shows that the farm was called The Homestead. The owner is shown as W.H. Cullen, most likely Walter Herbert.

In 1921 the plat book shows the owner of this farm as O.J. Smith. The 1930 plat book has the owner as C.J. Smith.  Another book, which is listed as at least 1937 and before 1942, shows the owner as O.J. Smith.  In 1948 the owner is shown as Alvena Smith.

The Jones family bought this farm in 1960. In the 1966 plat book the owners are listed as Robert, Marion and Robert O. Jones. In the 1982 book only Robert O. is shown as the owner. That continues until the 2010 book, which shows the owners as Robert O. & Christine L. Jones Trust.

It is a working farm with cows, calves and crops. For the last 30 years they had a business of selling cocoa mulch. It was here that they raised their two children. Their four grandchildren also live on the farm.

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