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MATTER FARM HISTORY
Oak tree above is a 200+ year old tree in our pasture
Farm History: About
ESTABLISHED IN 1856
Now 7 generations of Matter farmers
The photo: Benjamin Matter (7) and Alexander Matter (5) in front of ther great-great-great-great-great-great uncle's headstones. Here lies Jospeh Matter 1862-1864 and Alexander Matter 1872-1872.
In 1854, Joseph Matter and his brothers came to America from France first settling in New York. In 1856, after spending time in Wisconsin, Joseph came to Minnesota. He and his family built a homestead 1 mile of what is currently downtown Delano. At the time there were no roads, homes, or railroad line in the area. Only thick growth wooded land that had never been touched. This area was known as 'The Big Woods'. Delano, MN was incorporated in 1876, many years after the earliest pioneers arrived in the area. Joseph Matter married Sophia. His brothers settled in the same are west of the Crow River. One brother built a homestead on what is now the Highland Ridge housing addition of Delano. Joseph and his brothers cleared the thick woods to make was for farmland. All this was done with axes, handsaws, and the help of teams of horses to clear the massive logs.
The photo is of the original st. Peter's Church build in Joseph Matter's wheat field.
In 1864 Joseph's 2 year old son, Joseph jr., sadly died. Joseph jr. was buried on the top of an elevated knoll in his wheat field. Soon after Joseph spent 9 months in the civil war with the 2nd Minnesota Heavy Artillery unit. Upon his return from the war in 1865, Joseph, his brothers, and fellow countrymen built the first St. Peter's Church in Delano upon the same knoll as his son was buried. Joseph was an extremely innovative and progressive farmer for his time. In 1869 a bell was purchased for $200 to be hung from the bell tower. The church was torn down in 1901. What remains of the knoll today is the St. Peter's Cemetery. Joseph, Sophia, and their children's headstones can still be faintly read in the original part of the cemetery.
Picture is the Matter Farm in 1957
Two World Wars and numerous other major world events have played their course since this farm's beginning. Our family, now 7 generations later is still farming. From it's humble beginnings of farming with draft horses to the small, family run farm it is today. On occasion we find traces of our heritage in the soil. Recently a plow unearthed an old hammered steel horse shoe. Undoubtedly the same shoe used by the draft horses that pulled our ancestor's wood framed plow so long ago.
Picture: Paul Matter and his son Alex Matter (3) in the current dairy barn.
The Matter farm has always centered around being a small family farm with deep respect for the land, our ancestors, and the animals we care for. We have stayed small and will remain a small family run farm. We choose to invest in quality before quantity. Current culture is once again realizing the value of the small farmer and questioning where their food comes from. Emphasizing the need for those small local farmers to restore a healthy, clean diet. No matter what challenges are brought forth, farmers will find a way to thrive and provide. Farm to Table is a great next step to keeping Matter farm thriving and connecting with the local food demand.
Farm History: Team
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