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Pettit farm is over 150 years old

By Staff | Sep 20, 2020

Glenn and Gladys Pettit stand outside on the farm Glenn’s ancestors purchased in 1870 from the United States government.

Glenn and Gladys Pettit’s farm near Delavan has been around for quite awhile, over 150 years.

In 1854 Glenn’s great- great grandfather Michael Springer, and Michael’s son Herman, left Germany to sail to America.

Michael was 31 years old at the time while Herman was only one-year-old when they made the trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

The family came to Delavan in 1862 and Michael bought 160 acres from the United States for $800 in 1870. Michael and his wife conveyed 120 acres to their son Herman for $1,200, or $10 per acre, in 1874.

Glenn shared more of the history of the farm, which is located in Delavan Township.

“Herman bought another 11 acres from the Chicago, Milwaukee and the St. Paul Railroad, making a total of 131 acres,” Glenn says. “Herman raised wheat, some Shorthorn cattle and milked some cows and operated a threshing business. In fact, we still have a journal of his threshing business.”

According to a story published around the time the farm became a century farm, the granary constructed on the property back in the 1800s was written about in the newspaper as being the best granary in Faribault County at that time.

“The house dates back to 1896 and is the house we currently live in, although we built an addition to the house,” Glenn shares. “A 32 foot x 70 foot two-story barn was also built around that time.”

Herman married Jane Carson in 1873. They had four children. One of their daughters, Lettie, who was born in 1883, married Benjamin Pettit in 1903.

Benjamin and his brother George operated a threshing business in the Delavan area,” Glenn says. “They threshed in the Delavan and Winnebago area from 1914 until 1926.

Lettie eventually purchased the farm. When Lettie died in 1968, her property was left to her sons, Glenn’s father Leonard and his uncle Evan.

“I graduated from Winnebago High School in 1956 and I remember coming out to the farm and helping milk cows and harvest loose hay,” Glenn says.

Before coming back to live near Bass Lake in 1972, Glenn and Gladys lived in the Twin Cities.

“I worked for Honeywell. I think I had 18 jobs in 10 different plants over the years,” Glenn recalls. “I made bombs for fighter planes during the Vietnam War. I was also on a team which made components for the rockets used in the Apollo moon landing.”

While Glenn was busy at Honeywell, Gladys was busy working at a daycare facility.

“We were living in Spring Lake Park in 1965 when a tornado came through the town,” Glenn comments. “We lost the garage but were very fortunate that we did not lose the house.”

The couple was very happy to be back in the rural area.

“We didn’t really care for living in the Cities,” Gladys shares. “It was nicer for our children to be back in this area. The kids had many more opportunities to be involved in different activities in school.”

The Pettits raised four children, Russell, Marlene, Rod and Margaret. The kids attended school in Delavan.

In 1992, the couple moved into a double-wide trailer home on the farm.

“Part of the reason for the move was to take care of Glenn’s uncle Evan,” Gladys explains.

It was a busy time for the couple.

“I worked at other places in addition to farming,” Glenn states. “I worked at Winnebago Concrete, Winnebago Drainage and Electrocraft before going to work for Telex in Blue Earth. I always had a full-time job and then I would farm at night. It was a learning experience.”

Gladys also kept busy with various jobs. She worked at Stokely’s Canning Company in Winnebago until it closed.

“I also worked at Electrocraft and Telex,” Gladys adds.

The couple both retired from Telex in 2001, just a few months apart.

“I also retired from farming in 2001” Glenn comments. “Now I rent the farm out to Doug Jenkins.”

Glenn and Gladys moved into the house in 2002, the same house that had been built in 1896.

“We did put on an addition and we did some work on the house but it is the same house which was originally built by my ancestors,” Glenn notes.

Glenn says he is not sure what will happen with the farm in the future but for now he and Gladys stay busy enjoying their children and grandchildren.

“Sometimes I get tired just thinking of all the work we did,” Gladys says smiling. “But we have had a good life and been blessed with a wonderful family.”