The History of our farm
The farm, or Sunrise Farm as we know it now, began in 1942 after our Grandparents land nearby was annexed to become part of Camp Swift. After Pearl Harbor, and declaring war on Germany and Japan, our country became embroiled in war preparation. Before WWI and prior to WWII our country had slipped into an isolationist mindset. After war was declared changes began rapidly and, using imminent domain, some 45,000 acres of small farms were quickly incorporated to form Camp Swift. J. D. and Elgitha Owen lost their home, dairy and small farm to the war effort. They were given a short period of time to vacate and with heavy hearts they began to search for nearby farmland.
A tract of 515 acres, adjacent to the new Camp and fronting on, the then proposed, State Highway 95, between Elgin and Bastrop. The farm was somewhat larger, but some of the property had been annexed into the Camp. The farm had been owned by a doctor and his wife for years and was now held in their estate. It had been sharecropped for many years and an old clapboard house was situated on the property.
The small, ragged house, built around 1875, was to serve as a home until a new one could be built. Our mother, Fay Pannell, our Uncle, Andrew Owen and Grandfather and Grandmother, Joseph Dolphus (J.D.) Owen and Elgitha Smith Owen all lived in the small house. Our Mother Fay and daughter, little Peggy, were housing there temporarily, while our Father, Harold Pannell was in the Navy.
With the depression slowly grinding to a halt with massive government spending on the war effort, money was still very short. Fortunately, our Uncle Andrew was a gifted carpenter and had training as a worker in the Civilian Conservation Corps, C.C.C. during the depression, as our Grandmother told him she had $400.00 and wanted a house.
With her input hand drawn plans were agreed on, and work began. Using lumber on hand, used materials and discarded bricks from the “cull” pile at a nearby brickyard a small three bedroom brick house with hardwood floors was built. Our Mother, Fay, was a hard worker, and became the carpenter’s helper on the job. Peggy stayed underfoot and did all she could to slow the project, but she was her Uncle Andrew (Johnny’s) pet, so he never tired of her.
Shortly after the house was build, Andrew, enlisted in the Navy, and along with his three brothers, joined the war effort.
After everyone returned safely from the War, Harry, Jack and Robert, “Bub” pursued families and careers. Harry and Jack became heavy equipment operators, Bub went to work at Union Carbide and our father became a conservation contractor. Prior to the war, he had worked for Brown & Root in the construction of Lake Travis. A bulldozer operator, he never lost his love of heavy equipment and that was to become the work he pursued is whole life.
We Build & Sell
The Strongest, best & best looking, handmade chicken coops & tractors. Always with
free delivery and set-up (within 50 miles of the farm).
- Better Business Bureau
- National Poultry Improvement Program (N.P.I.P)
- American Poultry Association -Matriarch, Fay Owen Pannell, age 97 Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities
- Marans Club of America