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Heritage farm is home

By Staff | Dec 29, 2017

Craig and Barbara Peterson stand by their Heritage Farm sign along with their son, Kent, and his sons Grant, Noah and Adam last fall.



DAYTON – Life on the farm has been suitable for many of the descendants of the Rock Hanson family. Fast-forward 150 years and now it’s the fifth generation to call the farm their home that Hanson homesteaded south of Dayton.

Hanson’s great-grandson, Craig Peterson, and his wife, Barbara, are the current owners and fourth generation of the farm where their son, Kent Peterson, and his wife, Abby, and family now reside.

“It’s been a nice life out here on the farm,” said Craig Peterson, who has followed suit of the generations prior to him and has moved off of the farm into Dayton.

The barn was built in the early 1900s for Christian and Christina Peterson’s operation, which included a Shorthorn cattle herd.

Kent Peterson said he finds himself lucky to be the fifth generation to live on his family’s farm.

“I am blessed to have great family support,” said Peterson. “Especially from my wife. She uprooted from her family farm to move here. She knew it was a dream of mine.”

Craig Peterson said Hanson was born in Denmark 1835 and came to the United States several years later with his brothers, James and Lewis Hanson.

After stopping off in Princeton, Illinois, James Hanson bought a farm. Rock Hanson decided to join him buying 80 acres in 1867.

Peterson said they came by covered wagon together that year and the brothers worked together to build a house before winter came.

Peterson’s grandfather, Christian Peterson, came from Denmark at the age of 16 and worked as a hired hand for Rock Hanson. Christian Peterson eventually married Hanson’s daughter – and Craig Peterson’s grandmother – Christine.

Christian and Christina were instrumental in building the farm up. To this day, it remains very much the same.

Craig Peterson said his grandfather, Christian Peterson, was a breeder for Shorthorn cattle and the barn that was built for his operation in the early 1900s is still standing on the farm today, as is the home.

According to Craig Peterson, the first home that was built in 1867 was eventually moved and another home was built in 1906. That’s now the home of Kent and Abby Peterson and their sons Grant, Noah and Adam.

During that time of the early 1900s, Indians were still present in the area. Craig Peterson said he remembers being told stories that his grandmother would feed the Indians.

They weren’t the only passersby that would take advantage of some of the Peterson family’s hospitality. Hobos, he said, would also stop by and ask to stay in the barn and for some food.

Craig Peterson said Christian Peterson was part-owner of a threshing machine with other area farmers. The ownership of the machine didn’t come lightly, however, as he said they had extensive agreements made up with by-laws and rules.

Several acres were added on to that original 80 acres first purchased in 1867. Throughout the years, however, that land had been split and sold off, but Craig Peterson said they have worked very hard to bring a lot of that land back into the family.

“It’s been an honor to be able to have the farm to pass it on and to be passing it on to the fifth and sixth generation,” he said.

The farm, which has been given the name “Pleasant Hills Farms” over the years, is considered home to not only Kent and Abby and their sons, but for several family members.

“It’s the place for the family reunions,” said Craig Peterson. “All out-of-state family enjoy coming to Iowa and visiting the farm.”

Many of those family members also rallied together for the day the farm officially was awarded its Heritage Farm status during the ceremony held last August at the Iowa State Fair.

“My brother Mark Peterson, from Atlanta; my sister Rita Thompson, from Eldora; sister Sue Swanson, from Boxholm, and several cousins attended with us,” said Craig Peterson.

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