Pipestone’s Stout family marks 108 years on a quarter section
PIPESTONE — Even though members of the Stout family are not quite sure why their grandparents chose to reside in Pipestone after moving to the U.S. from Germany and Sweden, they do know that they will keep the 160-acre farm in the family for as long as they can.
Tucked away in the southeast quarter of 130th Avenue in Gray Township, Pipestone County, is the Stout family farm. It’s now owned by Ted and Joan Stout, the third generation of the family. It was purchased in 1907 by Ted’s grandfather, Adolph Smallfield, from John P. Mullen.
“My great grandpa came from Germany and my great grandmother came from Sweden, but I’m not sure why they came to Pipestone and decided to purchase a farm here,” Ted explained.
The farm actually belonged to and had been passed down through Ted’s great grandmother’s side of the family, the Smallfields, to Ted’s mother, Lucien Smallfield, in 1970. Lucille then married William Robert Stout, Ted’s father.
“The original house on the property is gone, but we built a new one in 2003,” Ted said. “The original barns are still here.”
Two houses, two barns and a hoop barn to store hay now sit on the property.
“The first house was built in 1986, after we had to tear down the original house, and so my parents went to Arizona in the winter time and bought a duplex there,” Ted said. “They did that for 20 years before my dad passed away. That house was originally meant for my parents when they came back up, and then the second house was built in 2003 and that is for my family.”
Life on the farm wasn’t always easy for the Stout family. When Ted’s grandfather was diagnosed with diabetes, the family banded together to take care of the farm.
“My dad joined the Army and went away, but when my grandfather was diagnosed with diabetes he actually had to have both of his legs amputated,” Ted said. “Back in those days, they actually let men go home to take care of the farm, and so that’s what my dad did — he returned home to take care of the farm and my grandfather.”
Ted said family has been the continuous motivation to keep the farm, even through tough times.
“I was always with my dad, so pretty much that’s all I know,” Ted said with a laugh. “I don’t really have any hobbies — everyone says I should get a hobby, but I guess my hobby is work because that’s all I do.”
Ted said he plans on expanding the farm and passing it down to his son, Darrell, 23, which would make it a fourth-generation farm.
“Eventually I plan to give what was my grandparents’ house to my son, Darrell, since he’s getting married in July,” Ted said. “I got a few bills to pay, but hopefully some day he can come to the farm.”
Ted reflected on the fond memories that he had on the farm with his parents, as well as with his own children.
“My dad loved the water, so he actually built a 16-by-32 foot in ground pool,” Ted recalled. “I remember having the neighbor kids over and playing in the pool. My kids actually got to enjoy the pool for the better part of their childhood, as well.”
Having the Stout farm become a Minnesota Century Farm is something that the family had thought about doing for quite some time.
“Well, when my dad was alive, he wanted to do this, and he passed away right when the farm hit 100 years,” Ted said. “The paperwork just didn’t get filled out in time, and so we’ve always thought about doing this for him and my mom.”
Despite the ups and downs of farm life, Ted stated that he wouldn’t live any other way.
“Farming is the best life out there,” he said. “It’s a lot of hard work, and these days it does take a lot of money to continue. But we hope with hard work, we can keep this farm in the family for a long time.”