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"Published Record - Bottomland farm survives a century of floods."

Title: Bottomland farm survives a century of floods.

Name of publication: Marshall Democrat News.

Date published: Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Additional Information: This article was the sixth in a series of articles on the seven Saline County Century Farms that were honored in a ceremony for being in the same families for over 100 years.

Contains information on the names of:

Anna "Annie" Maria Pittman - married Abel J. Van Meter.

Charles Pittman - Never married.

Clara Margaret Weaver - married Billy Edward Dennis.

Delores Ann Weaver - married Terrence Joseph Sadewhite.

Dorothy Sue Weaver - married John W. Teeter.

James "Jim" Frederick Weaver - married Joyce Tobin.

James Herbert Weaver - married Agnes Melies.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 - Marshall Democrat Newspaper, Marshall, Saline County, Missouri:

Jim Weaver and his three sisters, Dorothy Teeter, Delores Sadewhite and Margaret Dennis remember growing up in the house in the Missouri River bottoms near Malta Bend, which even after the flood of 1993, has still never had water inside the main floor.

"All of the floods, since we've been born, never have entered the first floor," said Teeter. "We are in the bottoms, but the house is the highest point of any house in the bottoms," she added. The house has had water in the basement, but floodwaters have only lapped at the steps.

The 160-acre Weaver farm, which was purchased in 1899 by their grandmother's bachelor uncle, Charley Pittman, was recently honored as a Saline County "Century Farm" for having continuously been in one family for over 100 years.

Jim was nine months old when they moved into the house in 1938, along with his older sister, Margaret. Twins Dorothy and Delores were born in the house.

Although they don't remember him, according to the family stories their great Uncle Charley was "eccentric." He never went anywhere without a bandana around his neck and never tied his shoes. He also tied the doors to his car open, "so if he got in a wreck he could get out," said Joyce Weaver, Jim's wife.

At one time there was a store in the house, after the town of Lanesville, west of the house, was moved because the river had cut into the town. Pittman didn't run the store -- apparently someone else did -- but he lived above it, they said.

Pittman's sister was Annie Pittman Van Meter, who along with her husband, Abel, donated land for what is today known as Van Meter State Park. Weaver said he recently found out that Charley also donated land for the park.

Family stories say Pittman died in 1937 underneath a shade tree while taking a nap.

"There was a bench or a table that he took a nap under every afternoon and one day he just didn't wake up," said Weaver. 

The Weaver's father, Herbert, made his living off the one farm, where they raised livestock and corn. 

"For a long time, that is all Dad had to farm -- that one farm. He raised a lot of hogs and made more money off the hogs, feeding the corn," said Weaver. "That's the way he supported us, with livestock," said Weaver. 

"He always said the hogs saved him during the depression," added Teeters. At that time all the farmers had livestock, unlike today when many farmers are specialized. 

Weaver remembers his Dad having a team of mules, but doesn't remember him taking them to the field. "He used to feed with the mules," he said. 

At one time the farm was divided into 10 different fields for the livestock, but what fences were left in 1993 after the flood have since been cleared. They sold off the hogs in the 1970s and cows in the 1980s, said Weaver. 

Weaver said they got electricity in the house in the early 1940s, and running water became available in 1948. "That is when they dug the basement and put the bathroom on," he added. 

Their mother, Agnes Weaver, lived in the house until the flood of 1993, when health problems and flood waters across the road made it necessary for them to move her out. "Nobody wanted her on the other side of that water," Weaver said. She stayed at her children's homes until they found a place for her to rent in town, said Sadewhite. 

"She told everybody that she wanted to be on the farm, but the flood moved her to town," Teeter said. 

Their father died in February of 1993. "We were glad he had farmed all of those years, gone through all of those floods, but did not have to witness the 1993 flood," said Teeter. 

Although it didn't damage the house, the flood of 1993 did change their land, including taking between 11 and 15 acres out of production, because of the 15 feet of sand that was poured onto the ground where the levy broke west of the farm. 

The water hole is on someone else's farm, taking 27 acres out of production on that farm. "They got the hole and we got the sand," said Teeter. After the flood, they had 65 acres deep-plowed mixing the sand on top of the ground with the gumbo dirt below. 

"We had 65 acres of sand, we re-leveled it and deep plowed it," Weaver said. 

Of the ground that was still in production, in many cases the yields were better. 

"Virtually the whole bottom was better after the flood than it was before because of the fill dirt that came in," said Weaver, adding that some of that is disappearing now. 

They recalled other floods that have hit the Malta Bend river bottoms. 

"Other floods, other people have lost, but we had never lost until 1993," said Teeters. 

"Before 1951, there were a lots of little floods in '47 and '42," said Weaver, "but it was '51 and '93 that were the big floods that everything was destroyed," Weaver said. 

Before the flood of 1951, there were several small floods, but the waters receded in time to still plant a crop. 

Weaver is now retired and his oldest son, Jim, farms the family's ground.

The house on the Weaver farm, designated a "Century Farm," is located in the Missouri River bottoms near Malta Bend.

This photo of the Weaver children was taken in front of the house in the Missouri River bottoms. From left, Margaret, Delores, Jim and Dorothy pulling the wagon. The 160--acre farm was recently named a Saline County "Century Farm."

This photo shows Jim swimming in his front yard during the flood of 1951. The house has never had floodwaters in the main floor, and is thought to be the highest house in the bottoms.

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