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O. P. Railroad

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Click for Heirloom Tomato Seed Selection

Save Seeds - Victory Horticultural Library

matersearch.com - online tomato resources

A history of International Harvester and our farm's tractors.

Dunton Farm's Virtual Cemetery


Welcome to Dunton Family Farms
Since 1909

A Brief History

Our branch of the Dunton family traveled to America from England in the early 1600s settling in the area of Lynn and Reading, Massachusetts. A century later, Jeremisquam Island (now Westport) in Maine became home. The family migration continued when our ancestor Jason Dunton moved his young family westward to the farmlands of Iowa and Kansas. In the late 1800s, his son, Lewis Carlysle Dunton, moved his own family to the young state of Oregon. Lewis' son, Victor Hugo Dunton is the ancestor who established our farm. The following is a timeline of our business' history in reverse chronological order. It is a rich story interwoven with farm, family and local histories.


After nearly 25 years since founding the Victory Seed Company and building the Victory Seeds brand into an important part of thousands of people's annual gardens, Denise and Mike began the process of transferring the ownership and operation of the Victory Seed Company to their family friends, the Whitinger family.

Like the Dunton family was in the late 20th century, the Whitingers are a young, large, homeschooling family. With many years experience farming, gardening and associated with the gardening industry, they are well-suited to take over and build upon the Dunton's legacy.

Denise and Mike will continue supporting the preservation work in the background for years to come, and look forward to seeing the Whitingers grow the business into a household name.

2020 to 2022

Click to go to the Victory Seed Company.
 The Pandemic Years

What can we say?!?! If you are reading this, you made it through the "Pandemic Years" and there is really not much else that we need to say here about the experience.

Because everyone's public activities were so restricted, including long periods of quarantine, gardening became a hugely popular pastime.

Thank you for your support and patience during that crazy time.


Click to go to the Victory Seed Company!
Victory Seeds 19th Year!

As we continued to evolve as an organization, our goals and objectives were refined, seed varieties are donated and added to the seed bank, and work developing a network of like-minded seed producers to aide in seed multiplication is implemented.

Long-term planning is also underway to create a non-profit organization whose charter will be to educate gardeners about horticultural history, sustainable practices including organic gardening methods and seed-saving. This organization will incorporate our seed bank and variety preservation efforts.


Click to go to the Victory Seed Company!


2008 was a milestone year for our little company. We published our tenth seed annual!

It was an awesome trip. We made many, many friends, saved rare family heirlooms from disappearing, reintroduced old commercial varieties that disappeared over the decades, and from word-of-mouth recommendations, grown considerably.

Our measure of growth was never based on financial gain, but on the number of varieties saved and the number of gardens our seeds are planted in. Using this measure, we feel successful and greatly blessed.

2002 to 2006

The Family - November 2002
Nov. 2002

With the help of a lot of folks who saw value in our work, the organization continues to grow. People rely on not only our unique selection, but in the quality of our seeds as well. During this time period, we installed new order entry and inventory software to streamline workflow to accommodate increased sales. Mike's mother starts helping out on a daily basis doing order entry. One daughter marries and comes back in 2006 to join the Victory Seed team. Another daughter graduates and begins work as an RN but comes home regularly to help. Mike's father Larry takes over grounds keeping duties, hard goods purchasing, and other support tasks. In 2006, John starts as the primary trials and production grower.
2000 - 2001

The Dunton Family - 2001

Y2K came and went without the world ending. The renewed interest in gardening continued to grow. Unapproved genetically modified material was found in processed food products in the U.S., Japan, and European nations. USDA passed national organic standards in December which included a no GMO policy. The Victory Seed Company continues to offer premier products and support services and our base of loyal gardening friends (customers :) continued to grow. Our Web site grew to include a secure shopping cart system for online order taking.
1999 With the impending predictions of "Y2K" related catastrophes, as well as with the proliferation of genetically modified organisms into the food supply in the United States, awareness of heirloom and open-pollinated seed varieties increased. The Victory Seed Company benefited from this exposure and was recognized by both the media and individuals for our efforts. Mike left his information technology career to dedicate his efforts to working from the farm fulltime.
Fall 1999 Credit card payment capabilities were added to the cart system in the latter part of '99. This may seem very strange, decades into the 21st century, but the issue of accepting credit card payments was hotly debated here due to personal philosophical reasons pertaining to the subject of debt.

It was determined, however, that we would not be able to compete for business, either mail-order or web-based, without the ability of accepting electronic payments.


1999 Seed Catalog
 Victory Seeds first catalog.

With the groundwork complete, Mike and two eldest daughters began creating the first Victory Seed Company website, as well as the 1999 catalog, on a February weekend get-away trip to a cousin's beach house on the Oregon coast.

Two portable computers and a slow dialup connection were used. Word of mouth was the main form of advertising.

At this point in time, the online catalog was static and orders had to be placed using checks or money orders using the postal system.

1998 Passionate about history, genealogy, heirloom plants, and the issues of safe and pure food, a plan was developed for creating an organization that worked to prevent the erosion of the diversity of cultivated plants (biodiversity), along with maintaining seeds that were not genetically altered through laboratory methods (non-GMO).

The name Mike chose, the Victory Seed Company, originated from a couple of reference points.

With the end of World War II and the Victory Garden campaigns terminated, farming began to quickly evolve into the industrialized business that it is today. Victory Gardening was perhaps the final period in over 10,000 years of the agricultural history of mankind, where vast numbers of people were part of their own food production cycle. Although the trend for the demise of the family farm began earlier in the 20th century, this Victory Garden era clearly ended of our agrarian society.

The name is also in homage to Mike's great-grandparents, Victor Hugo Dunton, (whose mother was well read and fancied the work of the author, Victor Hugo) and his wife, Eda Vick Dunton. They are who built the house and started this multi-generational family farm.

1997 Personal planning led to the active decision to differentiate between wants and needs, simplifying all aspects of life, and the elimination of all debt. It was determined that work needed to be integrated into life -- family, farm, fun, hobbies, passions, etc. Developing a plan to support a large family with conventional farming on 30 acres was quickly ruled out.
1996 Dunton Farms built a web page on the family history organization website and offered holiday packages of walnuts and filberts as well as a marketing tool for promoting local sales including fresh eggs, cattle, hay and seasonal produce. You can see it at archive.org by clicking here.
1988 Sale items were limited to small scale quantities of grass hay, Hereford cattle, eggs, walnuts, filberts (hazelnuts), and some fresh fruits and garden produce. Gardening and seed saving efforts carried on, the old plants on the farm carefully preserved. Income remains restricted to local sales and is supplemental to Mike's off-farm career in information systems management to support the family.
1988 Mike and Denise Dunton purchased and took over operation of the farm. Relocation from Petaluma, California included moving artichoke plants, Mike's collection of medicinal herb plants, and their collection of seeds. Mike worked off the farm as an IT Manager in order to subsidize the farm and pay off the mortgage.
1982 John Lewis Dunton, Sr. passes away. Grandma does the best she can keeping up with farm and garden chores with help as family has time.

Hereford Cattle - 1978

Registered Hereford cattle, grass hay and nuts were the main cash crops.

Mike, in spite of having lived the early part of his life in the "suburbs," made it known that he wanted to live on "the" farm someday.


1972 - John Retires

After 42 years as a rural mail carrier, John Dunton retires. He started as a substitute mail carrier in 1930, accepted a full-time position as a clerk in 1950, and in 1967 became the rural carrier for "Route 2." He carried mail along this route until his retirement. In his spare time he farmed, camped, and loved to fish.


Jofn Dunton Family - 1966

The John Dunton Family. Notice that this is taken in front of the same cherry tree as in the 2002 picture above.

Early Gardening Shot

Mike, the founder of the Victory Seed Company, was brought home to the farm from the hospital so that his mother could recuperate. The farm was imprinted as home!

Growing up, Mike gardened with his mother, both sets of grandparents, and his great-grandfather which fueled a lifelong passion for seed-saving, raising produce, medicinal and culinary herbs, and all things "homesteading."

1946 Liberal School Photo



World War II put pressure on the resources of the nation. Victory Gardening was a philosophical campaign that was widely promoted by the government and industry as a means of conserving these resources for the war effort by promoting the concept of individual responsibility for producing at least a portion of their own food. Unfortunately, as soon as the war was over, many people quickly quit gardening.

John Lewis Dunton, Sr. took over ownership of the farm after his mother (Eda) passed away in 1944. The young family moved into the V. H. Dunton house. He continued working with the postal service, farming the home place and also doing custom farming work (combining, haying, etc.).



John and Marjorie marry in 1939. They purchase the property at what is now the intersection of Molalla Avenue spur and State Highway 213.

The house that they lived in until 1944 is no longer standing but two old Bartlett Pear trees, and many spring daffodils, mark the spot.

East View of the Victor Hugo Dunton House - mid-1930s

V. H. Dunton Home
Liberal, Oregon
Circa 1935

South View of the V. H. Dunton House

Farm life in the 1930s was very typical and included beef and milk cows, chickens (for meat and eggs), fruit trees and gardens for sustenance along with grain, hay, flax, and tree nuts as cash crops.

After his father's passing, John Dunton helped his mother manage the family's farm.


Victor & Eda Dunton - Easter Sunday 1934


Victor and Eda (Vick) Dunton, Easter Sunday, April 1, 1934.

Tragically, a few weeks after this photograph was taken, Victor was killed while performing duties as a Special Deputy Game Warden at the Willamette Falls in Oregon City on May 6, 1934.

Foul play at the hands of two poachers was suspected and rumors circulated but it was officially ruled accidental. Although he use a wallet that was chained to his belt and carried his revolver in a secured holster, both were missing and neither was ever recovered.

1925 Victor Hugo Dunton moved the house, using oak log rollers, pivot poles and horses, about three miles to the acreage he had purchased across the street from the church in Liberal, Oregon. It took several days and they lived and cooked in the house as it was moved.

John graduated from Molalla High in 1930 and started working as a substitute mail carrier.

We hope to petition for "Century Farm" status in 2025!

Circa 1918

The Victor Hugo Dunton Family

The Victor Hugo Dunton family about 1918. My Great Aunt Willma (standing in back), recalled that Grandma was really ill that day. Since the sitting fee had been paid and the appointment made, they traveled to Calvert's Studio in Oregon City for the portrait.

 Family Farming - 1916

Farming has always been a family experience. This photo was taken in 1916. It is of Victor with his children John and Mildred seated with him. A cousin, Alfred Butterfield manning the implement in tow.


Grandma Eda's brother was written up in the new "Molalla Pioneer" newspaper (this is actually a clipping from Volume 1, Issue 1). From his store here in Liberal, in sight of the farm, he was selling spring garden seeds to the folks here in our community.

This is the tradition that our family continues but on a larger scale and over a much greater geographical area.


Liberal, Oregon Baseball Team - Circa 1910
Liberal, Oregon Baseball
circa 1910

Victor Hugo Dunton, son of Lewis, marries Eda Caroline Vick and establishes our farm.

At least two years prior, Victor began building our house on the 15 acres his father sectioned off for him when he "came of age."

While replacing layers of old wallpaper in the living room in 1990, a postcard with a 1907 cancellation was found under the first layer.


Liberal School - 1907-1908 School Year

Prior to marriage, Victor taught at the Liberal School. His sister Gladys was the instructor for the 1912-1913 school year.

This is the same school John Dunton attended. Mike's father attended the Liberal School until it was closed in 1950 in the middle of his 5th grade year and students were transferred to the Molalla Primary School. The building was sold and served as a private residence for many years until it was torn down in about 2000.

1900 The Church at Liberal is moved from the corner of Vick Road to its new home in Liberal. Eda Vick Dunton's uncle Jakob Elmer is the pastor.

Lewis Carlysle Dunton Family

Lewis Carlysle Dunton was born in Maine and raised in Iowa. In 1903 he moved his family to a farm near Molalla, Oregon, on what is now Molalla Avenue, just a few miles to the southeast of our farm.

Copyright 1996 - 2023 by Dunton Family Farms