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The Portsmouth Daily Times
Online, March 1, 2015
Frank Lewis, Author


Americana. That word encompasses a wide range of subjects, people and places, but there may be nothing more Americana than the family farm, especially one that has been in the same family for nearly 200 years.


Firman “Marvin” and Martha “Marty” Wiehle, operate the second oldest continuous-owned family farm in Scioto County according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Century Farms list. A Century Farm or Centennial Farm is a farm or ranch in the United States or Canada that has been officially recognized by a regional program documenting the farm has been continuously owned by a single family for 100 years or more.


The Wiehle farm is located at 4866 Ohio 335, and it has been in that family since Elias Coriell rode to Chillicothe on a horse and purchased it back in 1819.


“We raise corn, hay, wheat and mainly our staple is cattle,” Wiehle said. “My wife helps me quite a bit on it and my son, Keith, has a farm out at Minford but we just work together on both farms.”


Keith is a fifth grade science teacher at Minford where Marvin has been the groundskeeper for 40 years and where he also drives the Career Technical Center bus. Prior to working at the school, Wiehle worked at the steel mill in New Boston.


Weihle says it is his family’s plan to keep it in the family for the generations ahead. He and Martha have two children and five grandchildren (four boys and a girl). While their daughter, Kelly Coriell has the same last name as Marvin’s mother, she married into an unrelated Coriell family.


“We’re going to keep this in our family until we can’t take care of it,” Wiehle said. “We want to pass it on to the next generation - and the next, yeah.”


Wiehle said there has been a lot of changes on the farm since it first began to be operated. “From horsepower to modern equipment,” as Weihle describes it.


Does he still work the farm every day?


“Oh my, yeah,” Wiehle said. “I go out every morning and work on the farm, then go to school, and come back and do it again.”


Wiehle said his family used to rent out some of the land the farm sits on but now they don’t rent any of it.


“Pretty much we just take care of the family farm, a hundred acres,” Wiehle said. “We take care of it and enjoy what the good Lord has allowed us to have.”


The oldest family-owned farm in Scioto County is the Francis Patten Farm established in 1796. In addition, the Kline farm was established in 1848; the Brisker farm in 1848; John Simon’s farm in 1864; the Rick Williams farm established in 1880; the Alberta Brown farm from 1882 and the John Adkins farm which began operating in 1899 are all Century Farms.


The oldest registered Ohio bicentennial farm is located in Adams County and dates back to 1772, when King George III deeded more than 500 acres to family patriarch Alexander Smiley. It is the only Ohio bicentennial farm established prior to our nation’s independence, and it continues in the Smiley family today.


Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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