Once a dairy farm, now goats roam Tall Grass Farm

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Ginny Hall | March 21, 2014

Tall Grass Farm and its barn quilt, “Circling Swallows,” is located on Lake Lorraine Road northeast of Richmond, Wis. The farm gets its name because it is located in between the Kettle Moraine Forest area and the tall grass prairie.

According to information submitted to the Barn Quilt Committee by current owner Susan Miller, the first European to live on this farm was Ole Oleson. He was a Norwegian who came in the 1860s. However, looking at the 1857 plat map, it indicates that the owner was a Johnson.

The 1873 plat book shows the owner as Jas. Oleson. In 1891 the owner listed was C. Oleson and in 1907 the owner was shown as A. Oleson etal.

Miller wrote that the family of Henry and Mary Schultz owned the farm for three decades beginning in 1917.  That is confirmed in the 1921 plat book, showing Henry Schultz as the owner. In 1930 Wm. Schultz is listed as the owner.

Miller says that some of the farm buildings were erected during the time of the Schultz ownership. This included the grainery and the milk house, necessary for the family's dairy.

The barn and silo were built in several stages during the 19th and 20th centuries. The main part is of German construction using a mortise and tenon system. It is without nails or bolts or a ridge pole.  The addition uses a balloon frame, nail system and a ridge pole. The silo is of poured concrete.

The Carl Jensen family bought the farm in 1947. That family lived here for at least two dozen years. Children in the family used the milk house as a play house. Area farmers used their grainery to store some of their grain.

The farm had absentee owners for more than 20 years. As a result the buildings were not properly maintained until Sam and Susan Miller bought the property in 1994.

They gave the farm its name, Tall Grass Farm, and began breeding Angora goats. Susan Miller continues to raise the goats and uses their wool to produce beautiful mohair products. Fiber festivals are held twice a year, but because this year's snow cover will make parking impossible, the spring event, usually held in April, has been canceled. For more information on future events, go to MohairConnection.com.
Ginny Hall, a historian from Delavan, is author of the “Walking around ...” and “Meandering ... ” books, which highlight the history of Walworth County communities.

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