Allan Overhiser: Michigan State Horticultural Society 2017 Distinguished Service Award Recipient
Henry and Sarah (McKee) Overhiser move to Allegan County Michigan from
Indiana in 1860 with 3 children. In 1863, they settled on the north side of 107th Ave. between 62nd and 64th Streets in Casco Township. Henry cleared a home site in the maple forest and started subsistence farming. Five more children were born in Michigan. In the 1870's Henry started growing fruit as did many other farmers in the area. Fruit growing continues to be the main focus of the farm operation.
William Albert Overhiser and Alta May were the second farm family. Alta
died in childbirth in 1891. None of their 3 children lived to adulthood. William Albert married a second time to Daisy Galbreath in 1896. They had one child, William McKinley. In 1915 William Albert died from a gun accident. This put William McKinley in charge of the farm at age 19. The big house burned to the ground the last day of April 1927 and the big barn burned in 1941.
William McKinley and Edna Trowbridge Overhiser ran the 60-acre fruit farm
for 45 years. Bill and Edna raised 6 children on the farm. They spent winters the last 25 years of their married life in Florida. As a child, Bill learned to fish while spending winters in Florida. His parents owned and operated the Palma Sola Hotel on the Manatee River west of Bradenton. As an adult, William continued to fish and would spend one or two weeks at Loon Lake NW of Baldwin between the cherry and peach harvest. Their oldest son Albert Wayne helped operate the farm when he was not working as a truck driver. Albert and June started running the farm in 1960.
Albert Wayne and June Evans Overhiser lived on a 40-acre fruit farm
around the corner from the original farm. Albert drove the truck and farmed and June was a school teacher for 40 years. Sons' Martin and Charles attended MSU and were not interested in farming. As fate would have it, a surprise son (Allan Wade) was born in 1960. While attending Western Michigan University, Allan, decided he wanted to follow the family fruit farming tradition. After college Allan and Kim were married and worked the farm with Albert and June. After Albert retired Allan became the fifth farm operator.
Allan Wade and Kim Myers Overhiser now have around 40,000 cherries,
peach, plum, pear, and apple trees. They own and/or lease 400 acres within a one-mile radius of the original farm. These orchards are planted on the highest 250 acres to reduce spring frost and freeze damage. Their son Aaron was born in 1996. In 1998, Alex, Adam, Kelsy, and Kortny (quadruplets) were added to the farm family. During the harvest season, many of the family members can be found working at the retail/u-pick headquarters at the NW corner of 109th Ave. and 64th Street.