Farming the old fashioned way – Masselinks farm over a century

By Jill Fennema –

We’re not collectors,” says Robert Masselink of rural Chandler. “We just don’t throw stuff away.” A walk around their farm along the Valley Road will confirm that fact.

Bob and Esther live in the original farm house built by Bob’s grandparents in 1917. Henry and Daisy Masselink bought the farm in 1916 and the first thing they did was build a shed near the railroad tracks. Then they built a granary, where they lived until they could dig the basement for the house. They lived in the basement while they built the house – a traditional white clapboard farm house with three bedrooms.

That original shed is still standing there. “It wiggles a bit,” Bob said. “But it doesn’t go down.” The shed’s still there, but the railroad is long gone, torn out in 1980. Now a worn dirt path cutting a diagonal swath across the southern side of the farm is the only clue that trains used to rumble along there, traveling from Edgerton to Chandler.

At the time that Henry and Daisy bought the land, they had one son, George, who was two years old. As they progressed in life and farming, three more children joined the family for a total of two boys and two girls. And more buildings were erected on the homestead. One of those was a coal shed that eventually the hired man slept in.  His bed-wetting problem kept him from wanting to sleep in the house.

As the years rolled by, the Masselinks raised pigs, cattle, chickens, and sheep. While they had different types of livestock, pigs were the mainstay. They also raised corn, wheat, and other crops. The oats was threshed, of course, and the corn was picked and stored in corn cribs to dry.

The machinery was pulled with draft horses and getting together with neighbors and other families at harvest to help one another was a common thing.

For the complete article, please see the October 25th edition of the Edgerton Enterprise. If you do not currently receive the Enterprise, CLICK HERE for information on how to subscribe!

An aerial view of the Bob and Esther Masselink farm taken in 2007


Three generations of Masselinks have farmed for the past 100 years. Pictured below on the left is Henry and Daisy Masselink, the middle photo is of George and Rena Masselink, and the right photo is of Bob and Esther Masselink.

The original Masselink farm, which is located a few miles west of Chandler on the Valley Road.

George feeding the pigs around 1969.

The original Masselink home, built in 1917. This is the view from the north.

Bob’s father, George Masselink, is on the horse, which is being led by a farmhand. The strands on the saddle were designed to blow in the breeze and keep flies off the animal.

Threshing was always a neighborhood project. In this photo from 1969, farmhands and neighbors helped with the threshing because Bob and Howard were both in the service. Even when everyone else stopped threshing, the Masselinks continued to do things the old fashioned way.

The original red barn was built by Henry and Daisy Masselink. The taller white barn was moved to the farm place in the late 80’s.

Pigs have always been a part of the Masselink operation. In the background is the two-story granary that was moved to the farm from Adrian in 1987.

A more recent picture of the south side of the Masselink House

Bob purchased this windmill 40 years ago for $20. It still works! The water from the well below can be pumped with the power from the windmill.

Bob and Esther by the original farm building built by Bob’s grandfather, Henry Masselink. The building is still used for hogs. “It wiggles in the breeze, but always stays standing.” (Photo by Jill Fennema)