LLOYD & MABEL GRUBB

 

Lloyd Grubb had been a very successful farmer. He was born in 1910 and raised near Grubb Road, named after his father. In 1937, he began acquiring large swaths of land, starting with the farm adjoining his father’s. He kept buying up land until he had 889 acres, making his farm one of the largest in the Salt Creek Valley community. The government eventually took 478 acres from him- all his farmland, along with 33 buildings he had constructed himself. He was offered $68,000, an amount so low Grubb jokingly said he was surprised he didn’t shoot the man right then and there. 

Because of the size of his farm, Grubb’s oral history interview provided a great deal of information on the traditional farm practices of the Salt Creek Valley region. He was able to hire four or five laborers, but even these were usually either relatives or close neighbors fitting into the family farm tradition of the area.

They’d live around there- boys that’d want to come and help, and she’d [Mabel] fix dinner for ’em. A lot of ’em was her nephews. ‘Course when I started a dairy down there my brother worked for me some, me and her and my brother would milk twenty cows by hand.

Grubb would bottle milk and bring it to Bloomington to sell everyday. He kept up with technological changes, getting a milking machine even before he got electricity! In 1940, Grubb bought what he claimed was the first new John Deere tractor in the county. He kept the horses he had previously used for plowing, transitioning them to hauling and planting corn, and he eventually obtained a four row planter for shucking corn.

Unlike many other Salt Creek Valley farmers, Grubb was financially quite successful and had the insight to hire a lawyer and to keep the un-tillable land the government left him- realizing that after it became lakefront property it would be worth a lot to vacationers. As he describes in the clip below, Grubb savvily used the money the government deposited in his account (in spite of his refusal to sell) to buy a new farm- but not without checking with his lawyer.