"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. August Held
One of the prominent farmers in Ludlow township is August Held, the subject of this week's story. His life's history, as well as that of his wife's, is of considerable interest as they have both spent their entire lives in Ludlow. August Held doesn't quite qualify for the Herald's "half-a-century club" as he has only been located on his farm since 1913, but he has lived 50 years in Ludlow township.
He was born August 8, 1890, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Earnest L. Held, on the Held homestead in Ludlow township. the homestead is now occupied by Mr. Held's brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Flage. This property adjoins his farm to the north. In fact, 40 acres of the homestead now belongs to Mr. Held which almost entitles him to membership in the Herald's club. As Mr. Held was born in August, his parents decided it would be appropriate to name him after the month. They evidently made a wise choice as Mr. Held likes the month so well he chose it for his wedding month and also purchased and moved to his own farm during the same month.
He was married to Miss Esther Shafer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Shafer, on August 15, 1913, and immediately following the ceremony they moved to their new property. The farm was formerly owned by James Ewing, who lived on the place for many years. As Mr. Held had been on the adjoining farm during his youth he knew the Ewing land was exceptionally fertile so he did not hesitate when he had an opportunity to buy it. "When we moved to the property, the only building to amount to anything was the house." Mr. Held explained. "It didn't take us very long to get to work and there was plenty to do, especially in the construction line." The farm house was fixed over and one of the first jobs to be completed was the drilling of a well, 155 feet deep, near the house. Shortly after the well was drilled the Helds erected a dairy barn, 32X42 feet in size. These two jobs kept them busy the first fall, but the next year they continued their building work and other necessary farm buildings were constructed.
Last spring [their son] Clifford Held gave all of the buildings a coat of paint, which added to their longevity and also added considerable to their looks. Today the farm consists of 180 acres. The property was originally 140 acres, but after being on the farm for twelve years, Mr. and Mrs. Held decided to enlarge their holdings and they purchased an additional 40 acres to the north, which was formerly part of the farm of Mr. Held's parents. The new land was heavily wooded, so Mr. Held immediately went to work clearing it off. the trees were cut down, but Mr. Held did not grub out the stumps and it is used today as a pasture. Mr. Held does not work the property alone today as he has the assistance of Clifford in partnership with him.
About eleven years ago there was need for more water, so Mr. Held had another well drilled on top of the hill, quite a distance from the farm house. This time the drillers had quite a job as it was necessary for them to go down 317 feet before striking water. Another barn was needed for young stock and a place to store hay, so a barn 30X60 feet with a lean-to, 18X60 feet, was put up near the new well. Just a few days ago Mr. Held and Clifford made the second cutting of alfalfa which is now stored away in the barn.
They have one of the largest acreages of corn in Allamakee county this year and are anxiously watching the weather, which was unfavorable for many weeks during August when it rained so often. "We put in 55 acres last spring," Mr. Held stated, "and from 60 to 75 per cent of it seems to be safe from frost already, but it almost got down to the freezing mark several times last week and had us worried for a while. Fifteen acres on the bottom land is already safe from frost, but the other 40 acres need a little more warm weather. It is his opinion that the corn this year is not quite as good as it was last year. "In 1939 we only had 15 acres," he continued, "but it was the best corn year I ever saw. We husked from 75 to 80 bushels an acre last fall. This year's crop will be a good one, too, but it won't run quite that high out here."
The only other crop on the Held farm is alfalfa, which covers 30 acres. The remainder of the farm is pasture, a few acres of waste land and about 12 acres of timber. "Last week we sold 42 pigs at seven cents," Mr. Held said, "and we have only eight sows left." One of the valuable assets of the farm is 71 head of livestock which includes five cows, 27 calves, 24 Hereford steers, 12 yearling steers and three horses.
Mrs. Held's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Shafer, are still living and are located about two miles north of the Held home. She also has four brothers, Ben, Paul, Carl and Ed Shafer, and one sister, Mrs. Paul Fiet, all of whom live in the Ludlow vicinity. Mr. Held's parents have both passed away and he has one sister, Mrs. Ben Flage.
~Postville Herald, September 18, 1940
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