Just a Little History
Happy New Year everyone! I’ve decided to start writing a blog!
If you don’t know me already, please let me introduce myself. My name is Kim Vassaur-Freeman. Many of my hunting clients call me the Duck Diva, which suits me just fine.
I’m a landowner with several thousand acres of prime farming ground in and around Altheimer and Wabbaseka, Arkansas. My husband, A.C., and I farmed this land for 27 years. Nineteen years ago, we started leasing our land to other farmers.
My headquarters is located just off U.S. Hwy. 79 at The Elms Plantation Lodge in Altheimer. Established as a non-slave holding plantation by A.C.’s ancestors immediately following the Civil War, the circa 1866 mansion is a sight to see. It’s set amongst boundless acres of farmland in a 100-plus year-old pecan grove on the bank of a well-stocked fishing lake. The hunters who stay with us enjoy a century and a half of rural roots steeped in hunting, history, and hospitality.
Speaking of history, many of the hunters who visit us are curious about the manor house and its background. Here’s a short version of the story. I’ll tell a longer one in a future post.
Benjamin Altheimer (for whose family the town is named) owned some 15,000 acres in the area. He acquired the manor house from my husband, A.C.’s family during the financial collapse of the Great Depression. Altheimer renovated the house at that time but only owned it eight years before he died in the home from a fatal heart attack. He was just 48 at the time.
In 1946, A.C.’s grandfather, Richard Barnett, who had served as Altheimer’s farm manager, was able to purchase the property from the Altheimer estate, bringing it back into the family that originally built the place. A.C. and I inherited the manor house and the land after his grandfather died in 1992.
I have a heart-felt passion for the farm, the lodge, and the wildlife we manage on our properties. My love of this place and the God-given resources we’ve been blessed with enables us to create a sustainable and balanced environment for the millions of waterfowl that pass through this area on their annual migratory route. It’s no accident the that birds show up on our land year after year. We have ducks because we take care of the land. We give birds the water, the resting places, and the feeding habitat they need.
And the birds remember! Hundreds and hundreds of generations of migrating waterfowl remember where they flew and where they stopped. They become imprinted to return to the same fields they fed from the year before. Actually, now that I think about it, they’re a lot like our hunting clients. They’re imprinted to book their hunts from us year after year. They come back because they know we’ll take good care of them with the (Scotch and) water, the resting places, and the feeding habitat they need.
That’s it for this first installment of the blog. Let me close with a friendly reminder:
I’m your Duck Diva, and I call the shots.