The Shellenberger Family
In 1657, Hans Shallenberger was born in Bern, Switzerland. He married Anna Rudi in 1685. One of their children, Ulrich, travelled to America, arriving here in 1727. In 1748, Ulrich bought this farm from the King of England for 29 pounds. The deed to the property was signed by William Penn’s sons, Thomas and Richard. After all these years, our family is still in possession of that deed to this farm, which has been passed on through 8 generations of Shellenbergers.
This barn, a typical Lancaster County “bank barn,” was built in 1846. My grandfather, Daniel, was one of the first farmers in the area to install electricity for lighting and milking purposes. The ground level was used for dairy production. The upper part was used to store hay and straw and to hang tobacco to dry.
In 1985, Carole and I bought the farm from my father and my two uncles. In December of 2005, we made our last mortgage payment. For our celebration, Robin, Carole and I took a long victory lap on the tractor, toasting with a Corona.
I raised sheep for several years, and, at the peak, had about 100 head, selling the lambs for the Easter market. I even had a large Greek family from York who would come and butcher them here in the milk house.
For 14 years I grew tobacco. In 1992, I stopped growing tobacco and switched that acreage over to sweet corn, field corn, soy beans, and Christmas trees.
In 2007, our daughter Robin married Joshua Jeffers, right here on the farm. At the time, firewood sales were a significant part of my business during the winter months. In 2016, as Joshua’s love for woodworking grew, we decided to take the wood business in a different direction. In 2017 our lumber milling operation began and I have since retired from growing crops.
The farm has been in the family since 1748. Following Joshua and Robin, their children, Lily and Connor, will be the 10th generation to own it. We would like to believe that Ulrich would have been happy with the way things turned out!
- Donald Shellenberger