|Coming up the lane to the home place.|
My husband’s maternal family, the Buchholz’, owned hundreds of acres of farm land in central Illinois' Ford County since settling there in the mid-1800’s. Rons’s grandfather and namesake, Ronald Buchholz, was the last in a long line of family farmers. He retired in 1980. The livestock and chickens had already been sold, and local sharecroppers Ray and Jimmy took over farming the corn and soybeans. Ron’s parents, James Bailey and Barbara Buchholz Bailey retired to the farm in the mid-1980’s. Jim reveled in his retired life as a “gentleman farmer” until his passing in 1995. Barbara succumbed to Alzheimers and spent the rest of her days in a nursing home in Springfield, IL. Ronald lived until he was 95. A cousin sold her acreage to a corporation over ten years ago. The beautiful old farm house has remained, loved but unoccupied, except for occasional family gatherings since 1995.
For many, many years in Melvin, generations of Buchholz’ were not only farmers, but entrepreneurs in the small town, and pillars of the community. The building housing Melvin’s general store and “opera house” even had the Buchholz name carved in stone on the façade. It was demolished about 10 years ago, a depressing harbinger for the town of Melvin as well as for Bailey/Buchholz progeny.
|Amandus Buchholz (Ron's Great Great Grandfather) in his general merchandise store.|
|Ron on the farm in the mid-80's.|