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Settlers' Eve Picnic Dinner and Dance July 7

On Saturday night, July 7 at  6 pm Garfield Farm Museum will hold a Settlers’ Eve Picnic Dinner and Sunset Contra Dance to observe the anniversaries of the farm's settlement and the museum's founding.     

One hundred seventy seven years ago on July 7th, Sam Culbertson bought a scythe in Geneva IL in preparation for his move onto his Illinois prairie claim the next day. That small piece of seemingly insignificant routine of daily life, confirms July 8th as Garfield Farm's settlement birthday. A true needle in a haystack find, Sam Culbertson's simple account book of his way west from Pennsylvania in spring of 1835, has been found through genealogical research by museum operations director William Wolcott.      

Six years later, on July 8, 1841, the Timothy Garfield Family would move onto Culbertson's farm to take possession of the 440 acres Sam had sold them. With this great coincidence of dates, Garfield Farm Museum is celebrating with a Settlers’ Eve Picnic Dinner and Sunset Contra Dance on Saturday July 7th. The museum is also celebrating its 35th anniversary and the evening will raise funds to help restore the 106-year-old dairy barn's roof.  

After a picnic dinner in the courtyard of the Atwell Burr House Visitor Center, the Scantlin’ Reunion will play on fiddle, dulcimer and penny whistle as leader Donna Benkert instructs and calls the dance steps to traditional 1800s reels, squares and circle dances.      

Tickets for the evening are $75 and sponsorships of $50 are being accepted. The funds will go towards the largest barn at the farm, a 1906 Wisconsin style dairy barn that has been long overdue for a re-roofing. The barn was built as dairy farming was expanded at the farm. Hannah Mighell Garfield, widow of  Robert M. Garfield, took over management of the farm in 1901 and with the assistance of her brother-in-law, John Harvey, undertook the building of this 88-foot long barn.

Tickets to the evening are $75 each of which a portion is tax deductible. Reservations are required by calling 630 584-8485 or e-mailing Garfield Farm Museum is a historically intact former 1840s Illinois prairie farmstead and teamster tavern being restored as a working 1840s farm museum. The museum is located in Campton Hills, IL of ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road.

For more information about Garfield Farm send an e-mail message to: or call 630/584-8485.