January 04, 2019

This article and the photo are courtesy of Ron Leake, president of the Ralls County Historical Society.

Undated article from the Perry Enterprise

The Mystery Farm in last week’s issue was one of the old landmarks of Ralls County and was identified as the Harvey Black farm by S.J. Hart before the paper was off the press. Mrs. Mary E. Pierce of Vandalia wrote in, Mrs. Marion Wicks of Vandalia called in and it was also identified by Mrs. Ike M. Ely, George Bailey, C. Vaughn and others. Mr. and Mrs. Black moved from Perry to the farm on Friday, May 13, 1949.
This farm is located on farm-to-market route P southwest of Center and is now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Black and son, Albert and her father, Dan T. Tice. The farm was owned by the late Mrs. Dan T. Tice for at least thirty years and had been in the Allison family for many years previously. It is also known by many as the Dr. Cole farm. It was originally a square 320 acres, 160 on each side of the road, but a number of years ago the late O.E. Smith bought 5 acres for a lane to one of his houses.
This place has been a community landmark for so long that we thought our readers would be interested in some of the old history of the farm. Dr. R.S. Cole of Greene County, Illinois, was contacted by the owner of the farm, a man named Morrell, in 1875. He had seen an advertisement that Dr. Cole wanted to trade for some Missouri land. Morrell offered to pay the expenses of Dr. Cole to come and see the farm. Dr. Cole came to see the farm and bought or traded for it immediately. He was so well impressed with the good corn crop on the land that he took a sample back to Illinois to show. He had great difficulty in convincing the Illinois farmer that the corn was grown in Missouri.
A two-room log house stood nearly on the present location, in which the Cole family lived while the new 9-room house was built. It was constructed by a contractor named Chesley for the sum of $3,000.00 which included the painting. The lumber was hauled by wagon and team from Hannibal and the stones in the solid foundation and the front step were brought from a quarry on Spencer Creek and dressed by hand. All of the material and workmanship were of the best quality as is shown by the house today. The outside appearance is practically the same with the exception of the new glassed-in porch, service porch on the north and the stoop entrance on the south. The house was originally of 13 rooms but four rooms on the back were torn down a number of years ago. In the barn on the north are timbers over 100 years old which stood on the north edge of the farm. The house, which is distinguished by the cupola on top, has nine rooms.

NOTE: The above article was copied from an article appearing in an old Perry Enterprise in a scrapbook owned by Clara Lee Johnson.