Don, Janie, Jerry & Paul Faxon
Janie’s paternal grandparents, Adolph and Hulda Anderson, came to Wyoming from Illinois in 1905. Adolph arrived first on the immigrant train and established the homestead. Hulda joined him a couple of years later. Adolph passed away from appendicitis, but Hulda held onto the farm by renting the land and operating a boarding house until her son, Raymond, was old enough to take over. Don’s father, Cheney Faxon, came from Nebraska in 1920 and bought a relinquished homestead on the Northend. His mother, Hazel Shoemaker, was born on Emblem bench. The Faxon family lives on and farms both the Anderson and Faxon homesteads.
Don and Janie graduated from PHS, wed in 1951 and carried on the farming legacy. From Adolph and Hulda’s 80 acres, they expanded it to 3000 and raised livestock. Don’s love for farming was immediate; Janie insists that he never wanted to do anything else. They remember the time when life on the farm existed with little mechanization. Their parents operated thrashing crews that traveled from one farm to the next until harvest was complete. Everyone came together–Janie prepared meals for the crews with her mother and the other women. They’d make tables from saw-horses and boards and create a wash-station in the yard.
Within the community, they are active in the Presbyterian Church. Janie served on the Rocky Mountain Manor board for six years; Don served on the Fire District Board for six and the Shoshone Irrigation Board for twelve. They raised five children on the Northend homestead; they’ve since relocated to the Anderson homestead and farm 150 acres.
Their son, Jerry, continues to farm Cheney Faxon’s homestead. He went to electronic school in Phoenix, Arizona for two years then opened a repair shop in town. In 1976, he reconnected with his roots and started farming with Don. His son Paul, the fifth generation of farmers, served in the Marines before joining the operation. Presently, Jerry and Paul operate 970 acres and grow sugar beets, pinto beans, malt barley, alfalfa seed, forage hay and grass seed.
Jerry developed a love of the land by spending quality time on the tractor with his grandfathers, Raymond and Cheney. Paul enjoyed the livestock and remembers when his dad first let him drive the truck to feed the cows. The sense of responsibility he felt infused a long term love of the farm. To them, each day requires optimism and a little spirituality to counter the uncertainties involved. Harvesting a crop on the land that’s been in their family for years has created a strong sense of place. This attachment has kept both the Anderson and Faxon homesteads in the family for five generations.