Orchard Lake

Stock Farm


  • The farm itself
  • Herefords in Indiana
  • A look at a few of its owners through the years
  • Orchard Lake today

1. Orchard Lake Stock Farm

The farm is a concept

  • Acreage and parcels varied wildly over the years
  • Recorded "officially" under the Orchard Lake name in 1939
    • 1801.58 acres
  • The only constant is the piece where the buildings stood
    • SW 1/4 & W 1/2 NW 1/4 Sec. 6, Twp. 27N R. 8W
    • Coussens homestead is located on this piece
    • That's the ONLY parcel also in the "official" description

My big surprise

  • Newton Co. contains two major soil associations
    • Glacial Outwash Plain
    • Prairie
      • Loess
  • I assumed Orchard Lake was prairie; I was wrong
  • That said, it's pretty fair ground

It's (mostly) sandy glacial outwash!!

The Friedline Connection

  • Fred Friedline cited as builder of many structures there
  • He also designed and built Sunny Crest, my farm
    • It shares a unique feature with Orchard Lake
  • We know for sure he built some of it
    • John Friedline's scan of horse barn construction




Oil House at Sunny Crest

Some views

$10 1957 Aerial

1966 Aerial

"McCray Farm"

2002 Newcomer

2. Northern Indiana and the Hereford Industry

It's hard to overstate the importance of this area to the development of the Hereford breed in the United States

Herefords in our area

  • Tippecanoe County
    • Shadeland Farms (Hawkins/Earl)
  • Benton County Cattle Barons
    • Thos. Atkinson, ca. 1824
    • Fowler, Earl, Raub, Sumner, Boswell etal.
    • William S. VanNatta
  • Iroquois County, Illinois
    • Lemuel Milk (into Newton County)
  • Newton County
    • McCray, Conrad, etal.  

McCray bought his first registered Herefords in 1905 from Wm. VanNatta

(VanNatta was Moses Fowler's herdsman)

Perfection Fairfax Pedigree

3. Bigger-than-life owners

  • Warren McCray
  • Daniel F. Rice
  • Eli Lilly & Co.
  • Richard Gumz
  • Henry Coussens

Warren T. McCray (1865-1938)

Purchased SW 1/4 Sec. 6, 1901, $55/acre

McCray definitely had some skeletons

Here is an exhaustive story of McCray's downfall

Ade elevator, constructed ca. 1914 by Friedline

Elevator at Effner 4/19/24

Purchased all of "official" Orchard Lake, 1939, @$33/acre

The Rices were busy folks

  • Huge grain trading operation
  • Farmers - both Wheaton and Lexington KY
  • Thoroughbred Breeders
    • Their horse Lucky Debonair won 1965 Kentucky Derby
  • Philanthropists
  • Epic battle over the Rices' estates

With Lucky Debonair

Richard Gumz (1903-2001)

Purchased in 1972, $667/acre

Fred Gumz's legacy

  • All five of his sons became big muck farmers
    • Victor farmed in Pulaski County
    • Richard was the "most successful"
    • Elmer farmed along the Kankakee near South Bend
    • Arthur's holdings were in Pulaski and Jasper counties
    • Marcus farmed in Wisconsin; was very well-known
    • His descendants are still farming today

Richard Gumz's vast enterprise

  • 50+ transactions in Newton County alone, over almost 50 years
  • Grew mint and potatoes near Enos
  • Introduced mint in Newton Co. in 1963
  • Was at one time largest mint grower in USA
    • Began on the"Burbank Farm" near North Judson, 1940
  • Bought Orchard Lake in 1972
  • Worked locally with Marvin Miller family, Butch Derflinger

Meeting in Chicago during WWII

Henry Coussens

Purchased in 1986


  • Formerly farmed in Granger/Mishawaka area
  • Purchased Orchard Lake etal. in 1986
    • Portion of Section 6 was only part that is "original"
  • Few buildings were left at that point; they were deteriorated
    • Worked to save Pavilion
    • Commissioned statue of Perfection Fairfax

4. Orchard Lake Today

Orchard Lake

"Castellated" silo

Perfection Fairfax Grave

Old pump/power house

Mint Distillery

Thank you!!

  • Many thanks to:
    • Richard Gumz
    • Steve Gumz
    • Henry Coussens
    • Butch Derflinger
    • Beth Bassett