Huehl Centennial Farm

By dhowell - Posted on 03 January 2008

The Earl Huehi farm at 4100 Fletcher Road, Chelsea has been designated a centennial farm. The 13-room house gleams with its white aluminum siding—but it had a log cabin beginning. It is situated on more than two acres of lawn which is well shaded most of the day by 11 Norway maples.

They know the maples were purchased from a nursery in Monroe in 1915 and cost $1 apiece.

Earl Huehl's ancestors have farmed the land since 1839 when the original 120 acres were bought by John Huehl. He was born in Prussia. There he married Adelaide Dresselhouse. They finally took up land in Freedom Township on Section 17.

John Huehi Sr. was a poor man but he wasn't afraid to work. He improved and cleared land for the log house.

In his biography appearing in "The Portrait and Biographical Album of Washtenaw" published in 1891, he tells of the struggles of early settlers and how he used to walk to Ann Arbor about 15 miles away to sell eggs and butter and farm produce.

There was also the time he joined a group of farmers and walked to Chicago. The journey took seven days. The men looked for work and slept in fields and farmers' barns en route. They worked on the canal in Chicago and received a dollar a day. The trip cost 50 cents and they earned badly needed money.

The biography states that the Huehls were members of the Evangelical Association of Freedom and active in church affairs. "In politics Mr. Huehl was an ardent Republican, dating back to Abraham Lincoln's second term of office," it states.

At one time the farm had 195 acres—now there are 194. An acre was given to the Freedom Township Cemetery Association. This area is behind one of the barns, and there Earl's grandmother is buried beneath a sandstone slab. She wanted to be buried on the farm but her husband didn't share this desire. He is buried down nearby in the Freedom Evangelical Cemetery. Mrs. Earl Huehl says that in recent years there has been only one burial in the little cemetery.

John G.'s son, John F., married Elizabeth Finkbeiner and they raised three children. Their daughter, Mrs. Carl (Irene) Morhardt lives in Owosso, their son Norman lives in Arcadia, California, and Earl and his wife, the former Mildred Gieske, and their two sons, Dennis, 10, and Gerald, 8, live on the farm.

The frame barn which John erected before his death is still in use with its hand-hewed timbers 40 and 50 feet long, held by wooden pegs. The house was built by Earl's grandfather in 1887.