Gallia farms earn centennial status

Staff Report

GALLIA COUNTY — Each year, the Ohio Department of Agriculture recognizes new century or bicentennial family-owned farms in Ohio, and Gallia County is represented among the estimated 1,100 historic farms registered across the state.

Currently, there are six registered Gallia County century-old family owned farms, according to ODA’s online database.

Among the registered century-old family owned farms in Gallia County are farms owned by George Woodward (established in 1819), James Glassburn (established in 1842) and David Carter (established in 1878.) The three farms added this year are V.J. and Mary Niday (establish in 1904), Elliott-Massie Farm (1914), and Lawrence Burdell family farm (established in 1915).

Lawrence Burdell said his family farm has been in his family for about three generations and was recognized for the Ohio Bicentennial and Century Farms program on June 26.

The original farm was about 40 acres and now is up to 225 acres with all original land still owned and most of it farmed. The original farm owners raised cattle, chickens, corn, cream, eggs, hay and wheat. The current farm owners raise bees, beef cattle, corn, hay and silage.

The house, cellar and cellar house is 130 years old and still standing. D.E. Burdell was the founder of Harris Grange and became deputy of state grange master. F.W. Burdell was one of the people that went to Columbus to testify on behalf of starting the Gallia Soil & Water Conservation District. Lawrence Burdell became president of Ohio Federation of SWCD’s, served on Gallia SWCD’s Board of Supervisors for 27 years, awarded Conservation Farm Family from Gallia SWCD, and awarded Supervisor of the Year from the state. His brother Frederick has a bee farm with 1,000 hives and has presented at several educational events to support the bees and pollinators to younger generations.

The Burdell family has agreed to host Gallia County’s Farm City Day on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lawrence Burdell’s family farm.

V.J. and Mary Niday, of Gallipolis, said their farm has been in their family for four generations and was recognized for the Ohio Bicentennial and Century Farms program on June 26.

The original farm was about 125 acres in 1904 when the early Nidays (Victor Jerome and Mary Graham Niday) purchased the farm. At present, the farm is up to 330 acres including all original acres. A dairy was added to the farm in 1918 with Jersey cows and continued to be a part of the farm operation until 1993.

The original frame barn is believed to have been built in the 1880s. The house was built in 1911 and powered by a Delco plant. The stone building that housed the acetylene lighting system still sits to the rear of the home. The original house on the property was torn down and the lumber used to build a summer kitchen for the Niday family to live in while the new house was being built.

Victor Jerome Niday served in the Ohio House of Representatives in the 1930s. His son, Victor Paul, was Gallia County treasurer for five years, assisted by his wife, Margaret Donnally Niday. Grandson Victor Joe earned his FFA State Farmer Degree in 1952 along with their son Victor Richard, who had received several FFA awards while in high school. Grandson Paul Dean Niday served as Gallia County Commissioner for two terms and served on the school board for Gallipolis City Schools for two terms.

Vic and his wife, Mary Walker Niday, took over the family farm in 1977. Vic has worked the farm his entire life except the time spend in the U.S. Army from 1959-1962. Vic and Mary met when they were both 4-H club advisors and in 2012 celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They have received honorary awards, 4-H Alumni Award, and with their daughter Cynthia M. Niday Menzer received the 4-H Hall of Fame award in Gallia County.

The Nidays keep an affiliate membership with the Gallia Soil Water Conservation District in which the Niday’s were awarded Conservation Farm Family in past years.

Vic and Mary served three times as Farm Bureau delegates to the state convention. They are a part of the U.S. Quilt Block Trail and their home was on the tour for Ohio’s Bicentennial and quilt block dedication. Victor and Mary enjoy photographing and documenting Gallia County’s barns. During the Bicentennial celebration, they presented their project to many groups. They have agreed to present again during Gallia County’s Farm City Day at Lawrence Burdell’s family farm.

The Ohio Bicentennial and Century Farms program is a voluntary program administered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which has recognized families who have owned their farms for 100 years or more since 1993 and bicentennial farms since 2003. For a complete list of Ohio’s bicentennial and century farms or to register a family farm, visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website at

Call Gallia SWCD for more details at (740) 446-6173, ext. 119.

Staff Report