Harvest Heritage: Cravens Farm


BUFFALO, Ill. (WCIA) — Their ancestors came from England, but fought against the British in the War of 1812. As a reward, President Martin Van Buren gave them some land in central Illinois.

Cousins John Hawkins and Jim Cravens both live near Buffalo in eastern Sangamon County and operate their family’s sprawling farm with the Cravens cattle operation.

“Our family settled this area around Buffalo Hart in the late 1820’s. In the next seven or eight years, I think it will be 200 years,” Hawkins said. “We’ve added on little sections throughout the years and it’s a nice operation, a good family farm.”

“My father always asked me ‘What are you going to do when you grow up?’ And then he said ‘You’re going to farm.’ And you did what your parents told you,” Cravens said. “You enjoyed it, and once you started it, you know its in your blood. When springtime comes, you think that’s what you should be doing. And fall and harvest, and you just continue to do it. It’s not a job if you enjoy it.”

“I have two sons that are farming with me, and hopefully we pass it on, and we have grandchildren, and hopefully we’ll pass that on too. So that’s what the future looks like. It gives you a good living, but it also taught you, probably the one thing that everybody needs is, you have to learn how to work. And from this, you have goals and when you achieve those goals you reap the benefit,” Cravens continue. “You’ve got to have faith. You’ve got to have faith that its going to rain, you’ve got to have faith that it is not going to freeze when you don’t need it. And you’ve got to have faith that you are going to do as good a job as you can and the ground takes care of you. We’re very fortunate in this area. The ground takes care of you.”

“And that I would add that we’ve got to give a lot of credit to our grandparents, Hawkins said. “They knew where to settle. You couldn’t find better farmland here in central Illinois.”

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