Each year Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm is hosted by a different family farm – learn more about our 2018 host farm’s history!
Junion Homestead Farm History: 150 Years
Over the last 150 years, the family has kept wonderful records of the history of their homestead farm – read this wonderful story they have shared with us!
JUNION HOMESTEAD, est. 1868
Lambert Junion was born on January 28, 1816 at Corroy-Le-Grand Belguim. He married Marie Julinne Raison, a girl from a village not far away called Sart-Risbart. They had four children. On the 15th day of February, 1856 they left Belgium for America. They sailed on the Vessel Colorek and arrived at the Port of New York on the 25th day of March, 1856. They took along their oldest son named Xavier and left the three other children with the grandparents. Xavier was 12 years old. Along with his parents they settled in the Luxemburg Township, Kewaunee County in 1868. Lambert died November 20, 1891 at the age of 75. Julinne died October 9, 1900 at the age of 82.
The Second Generation
Xavier Junion married Josephine Mottard, a Belgian girl that came from Beauvlihain, Belguim. They had eleven children, six boys and five girls: Theophile born September 9, 1869, Mary – January 18, 1871, Louise – June 20, 1873, Clementine – July 12, 1875, Joseph – January 19, 1877, Fabian – February 22, 1879, Adel – March 13, 1881, twins Norris and Charles – December 6, 1882 John – April 25, 1884, and Josephine – May 13, 1886.
A log house 25×30 feet was built and also a 80×40 feet basement barn with stone walls two feet thick. The horses were kept in this barn that were needed to work the 320 acres of land the family had purchased with hard work. Pigs, chickens, and cows also occupied the barn. Around the year 1891, daughter Mary married and an addition on the house of logs was almost finished, also of logs. Mary married Joseph Joniaux and they danced in the new addition (24×18 feet). More girls married, boys grew up and needed farms of their own, so Xavier divided the 320 acres he owned; 80 acres for Norris, 80 acres for Charles, 80 acres for Fabian, and 80 acres for Joseph – which became the Homestead, as he was the one chosen to care for his parents. Theophile and John never married, so they remained on the farm to help out. Xavier died May 28, 1916 at the age of 72 and his wife Josephine died February 21, 1920 at the age of 70.
The Third Generation
Joseph Junion was the third generation on this farm. He married Juliet Everard on November 4, 1903. Though their farms were separated, the three brothers (Norris, Charles, and Joseph) worked the land together, each with their own livestock. A sawmill was on the farm, for sawing lumber for their own use. Joe, John, and Theophile also did custom sawing for other people. The sawmill was powered by a steam engine and was stationed by the waterway. A deep hole was dug to capture water from melting snow and rain. Later on tractors were used; first a Hart Par then a Tition. With the use of the sawmill, more buildings were built on the farm. Joseph and Juliet had two children. Collette, born August 2, 1912 and Lawrence born July 3, 1915. Joseph Junion died August 12, 1934 and Juliet Junion died April 9, 1948.
The Fourth Generation
In 1937 Juliet Junion turned the farm over to Lawrence. Lawrence’s sister Collette had married Ben Koss on June 22, 1932 and they remained on the farm to help. Lawrence married Magdalene Deprey on June 19 , 1940 at St. Peters Catholic Church, Lincoln. They moved into the original log house built so many years ago. At this time, Norris Junion’s farm was for sale, so Collette & Ben bought the 80 acres in the spring of 1941. They milked approximately 14 cows by hand, and raised pigs & chickens. A gasoline engine was used to pump water to the barn and to light lanterns. They had two work horses and, in 1942, bought a used McCormick Deering 10-20 tractor. In 1943 electricity came to the farm. The barn was remodeled, gutters were put in along with stanchions for 34 cows. They bought 108 acres of land from Jule Joniaux in the town of Red River, adding to the Homestead’s 80 acres, on October 25, 1948. Combines were something new, so they purchased a 6 foot Massey Harris clipper pull type combine. No more shocking grain. Surge milk machines and milk coolers made farm life easier. A Ford tractor, plow, and wheel weights were purchased for $1,658.41 and the 10-20 was traded for a used Massey Harris 101. In 1955 they traded it for a new John Deere 70, which cost $3,830. In 1963 a Minneapolis Moline was purchased.
Besides farming, Lawrence owned trucks and did trucking for Larson Co., hauling green beans, peas, and sweet corn for 22 years. As time went by, Magdalene’s asthma became worse, Jim had a job, and Larry was drafted left for Vietnam on July 16, 1965 – so the herd of cattle was sold on June 6, 1966. The family began crop farming, also growing peas and beans on contract for the Larsen Co. and Green Bay Canning. Lawrence retired the trucking business and got a job in Algoma at Badger Northland and Calumet Co. delivering Liquid Manure tanks until his retirement on April 12, 1982.
There was quite a change now for Magdalene, as she began running the farm. In spring, the cultivating was done during the day and Lawrence returned home from work to find the fields ready for planting. They purchased a John Deere 45 combine, Magdalene learned to operate it and did most of the harvesting of oats and winter wheat. Fall plowing was done mostly by her also and weekends by both Magdalene and Lawrence.
They had three children: Jim born July 31, 1941; Larry born May 17, 1946; and Peggy born August 31, 1959. In 1996, the 1955 John Deere 70 tractor was restored. Jim took it to Valmy, Wisconsin for display at the Northeastern Wisconsin Antique Power Association, to Door County and to Heritage days in Luxemburg. Lawrence & Magdalene farmed for 50 years and on October 1, 1990 they moved to Luxemburg.
The Fifth Generation
Peggy Junion is the fifth generation. She married Anthony (Tony) Knorn of Rib Lake, Wisconsin on September 18, 1982. They moved onto the farm October of 1990. Tony cash cropped the farm for two years while working out on Morris Seifert’s farm and Peggy worked at Bellin Hospital. At this time, they had three children; Amanda born on September, 16,1985; Megan born on September 25,1989; and Amber born on November 23, 1991.
They purchased the farm January of 1993. They started remodeling the barn March of 1993. They remodeled one side of the barn with tie stalls, put a barn cleaner in, built a new milk house, rewired the barn, installed a bulk tank, vacuum line, and milked cows with bucket milkers and a stepsaver for the first year.
They purchased a herd of cows on May 29, 1993 from Lamont Burkhalter, of Tomah, Wisconsin; 29 cows and 6 bred heifers. They hired Dave Ducat to transport the cows home. The barn stood empty from June 6, 1966 until May 29, 1993; eight days shy of 27 years.
The last weekend of April 1994 they started remodeling the second side of the barn, removing the old concrete and stations. Half of the herd had to stay outside and they had to milk in two shifts. The first night the cows were outside they received four inches of snow. New tie stalls and a pipeline milk system were installed. Now the barn held 36 cows. In 1995, they cemented an outdoor bunk feeder in the cow yard. In 1996, they installed a manure auger and a 900 gallon bulk tank to replace the 400 gallon tank.
On February 5, 1997 the garage and shop burned down. They lost two tractors, tools, parts inventory, and many miscellaneous items totaling a loss of about $100,000. On April 7 the construction of their new 60×100 shop and machine shed began, by Walters Builders. On April 12, they began building the two stall car garage. March 27, 1997 they began remodeling the south end of the barn, which was used as machine shed. They put an additional 12 cow stalls and 2 maternity pens in, they put the manure auger out the south end of the barn. May of 1997 they were chosen “Farm of the Month” by Tri-County Publications. In December 1997, they were selected by Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee to host June Dairy Month Breakfast on the Farm, which was held July 5, 1998.
On March 28, 1998 they went to an auction in Shawano and bought an IH 986 tractor. On April 19, 1998 they signed a contract for a 20×80 Harvestor Silo to be built in May. Tony & Peggy’s fourth daughter, Mikayla was born on September 21, 1998. In December of 1998, Peggy stopped working at Bellin Hospital, choosing to be a stay at home mom and help on the farm.
In 2001, they began raising their own heifers (prior to that they were custom raised). Early in 2004 the 2+2 was purchased and, in spring of 2004, Amanda graduated high school. That fall, Amanda attended UW-Platteville to study Animal Science/Pre-Vet.
On April 28, 2005 Peggy’s father, Lawrence, passed away at the age of 89 after a three year battle with cancer. In December of 2005, they began making plans to build a compost barn and parlor. They toured a few compost bedded barns in Minnesota before making their final plans. In 2006, they put up the first 20×100’ Harvestor Silo and also purchased a used Patz TMR mixer.
September 2007 excavation and construction for their compost bedded pack barn, parlor, and manure pit began. The last week of November one side of the barn was ready for cows, but the parlor wasn’t completed. For about one week, they ran cows back & forth from the new barn to the old barn for milking. On December 3, 2007 they milked the cows in their Dairymaster swing 12 parlor for the first time.
In May of 2008, Megan graduated high school and Amanda graduated UW-Platteville, taking a job at Milk Specialties company in Boscobel, Wisconsin. In fall, Megan began school at UW-Madison to study Dairy Science. March of 2009, Amanda came back to the farm as herd manager.
On January 5, 2010, Peggy’s mother Magdalene passed away at the age of 89. Amber graduated high school in May of 2010. In August, Amber started school at Paul Mitchell The School Green Bay for cosmetology. Amanda married Jesse Dolphin on August 28, 2010. On December 20, 2011 Tony & Peggy’s first grandchild was born, as Amanda and Jesse welcomed Jace into the world.
In May of 2012, Megan graduated from UW-Madison and took a job with Genex breeding cows. 2012 was also the year they started plans for the transition barn and a feed pad was made for silage bags. Megan married Kyle Zeman on June 29, 2013.
On January 23, 2015, a second grandson (Jolin) was born to proud parents, Amanda & Jesse. June 2015, the second barn was constructed and the first cows moved in. December 2015 Megan changed career paths, taking a job with Semex as a District Sales Representative. In 2017, Mikayla began attending UW-Platteville (Dairy Science)! On August 25, 2017 Megan and Kyle welcomed their first child, Tony & Peggy’s first granddaughter, Eliza – the newest member of the 7th generation.
In 2018 they are celebrating their farm’s 150th anniversary! To celebrate, they are hosting the 2018 Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm.
Thank you for joining us for Breakfast on the Farm in Kewaunee County – Father’s Day 2018!