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Farm Names

Many of the farms in McLean County may have been made into subdivisions by now, or become part of larger corporate concerns, but in 1915 the Illinois legislature passed a law that made it possible for each farm to have a registered, unique name. The law became effective in March of 1915, or at least was published in the Pantagraph at that time and by November of that year some 80 farms in McLean County had registered their unique name.

It was said in one article that women farmers were among the first to name their farms.

C Jeannette Jones of Lexington Township named her farm "Masglas." "Fairview" was the name of Eva M Walton's farm in Dale Township. Susan Hall of Dale named her farm "Belleview." Susan Hall was the wife of Judge Homer Hall in Bloomington. They lived at 1202 Jefferson Street. The farm in Dale Township, on the 1914 plat, was a 165 acre farm and the Halls owned another farm adjacent of 75 acres. When Mrs. Hall died in 1955 her estate included over a 1000 acres of land. Halls had only one son, Harry Hall, who died later in 1955 as well. He was a realtor and was the manager of the Hall estate farms and a horse show judge.

A handful of the names of farms in Bloomington Township were noted in the Pantagraph: "Fairmount," owned by William Saddler; "Brookside," owned by W W Hall; "Pinehill," owned by Christian Garver; "Maple Lawn Farm," owned by F W Benjamin and "The Maples," owned by James Orendorff. Fred Blum chose the more descriptive title of "East Lawn Pure Bred Stock" for his farm in Bloomington Township. In Normal Township just one farm name was preserved by the Pantagraph: Jacob Mohr named his farm "Plain View."

Sometimes we mock the imaginative naming of subdivisions in our cities because they seem inappropriate for the lack of the lakes, hills, or oaks that appear in their names. I wonder if any of these names are taken from the original farm names and share a deeper history than we know. Somehow, I doubt it.


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