"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Schutte
A well improved, valuable farm property is the Chas. Schutte farm at Ridley, located about four miles southeast of Postville. Mr. Schutte belongs to that select circle of farmers who have lived on one farm for more than a half century as he has spent 57 years on the land where he is now located.
He was born on April 11, 1879, in Bloomfield township, Winneshiek county, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Helmuth Schutte. At that time his parents owned a 40 acre farm, which is part of the Fred Blumhagen property today. When he was three years old, his parents moved to Henderson Prairie where they lived a year on the farm which is now owned by Otto Fischer. In 1883 his father purchased 113 acres of heavily wooded land in Grand Meadow township, Clayton county, from John Dempsey. It was here that the Schutte family settled and lived many years. It is the farm on which Chas. Schutte lives today.
The Helmuth Schutte family consisted of four boys and four girls all of whom are living today: (Anna) Mrs. Henry Blumhagen, and (Elizabeth) Mrs. Chas. Weihe, both of Postville; (Mina) Mrs. G.B. Atwater of Wilmar, Calif.; (Susan) Mrs. E.E. Corson of LeRoy, Minn.; Charles, August, Louis and Fred, all located in or near Postville.
Helmuth Schutte and his sons went to work clearing timber and brush off the land. There was so much timber that Mr. Schutte gave a considerable amount of it away to neighbors. All they had to do was come and get it. Gradually the land was cleared and developed. Then in a few years, Mr. Schutte purchased additional land from George Tuttle until his holdings were 179 acres. In 1893 the Schuttes built the barn. It was a difficult task as rock was hauled from the Hardin stone quarry to make the foundation of the barn. Timber had been cut from the woods during the winter time and with the purchase of additional lumber, the barn was soon completed. Other buildings were constructed on the property and the farm house, itself, was remodeled.
Hard work and careful management made the farm a profitable one. In 1905 Mr. and Mrs. Helmuth Schutte retired, moving to Postville to spend the remaining years of their lives. Mr. Schutte passed away in 1926 and Mrs. Schutte nine years later, in 1935. The homestead has been in the capable hands of Chas. Schutte since their retirement.
"I can remember the summer that Dad rented some land on the old Cayton place," he related, "We had 100 acres of corn planted on the two properties and it was quite a job to keep it all plowed. I'll never forget how my brother, Louis, and I worked that year. Louis was the only one in the family who could handle one of the horses. Fannie was her name. When he was driving her, she was all right, but the minute one of us would take the reins she would kick everything to pieces. So it was Louis' job to drive old Fannie and Barney. I drove the other team and the two of us plowed the entire 100 acres of corn. He had a 14-inch walking plow and mine was a 16-inch walking plow. We walked plenty that summer, getting up long before it was light and working every day until long after dark. Louis got along fine with Fannie, but he met his Waterloo one day. Fannie got a spell and when she got through kicking she had cleaned up the corn plow."
Mr. Schutte continued the interesting story of his early days on the farm. He said: "My three brothes and I all attended school together in the winter time, but we didn't have time to go at any other season of the year. I believe two of my sisters were also attending school at that time. The schoolhouse was located about a mile northwest of here on what is now the Harvey Lenth farm. Some of the time the school was pretty crowded and I can remember that there were 23 pupils in attendance at the same time. We often sat three in a seat. My first teacher was Mary Conway of Luana.
About a year after his folks retired, Mr. Schutte was married to Miss Ida Sander. To their union six children were born: Ethel (Mrs. Lawrence Meyer) of Ossian; Arthur of Hampton; Harry and Charles Jr., who live near Postville, and Robert and Reuben, who are living at home. In 1927 Mrs. Schutte passed away and on March 8, 1928, Mr. Schutte was married to Ida Schultz. They have one daughter, Doris Ann, living at home.
In 1921 Mr. Schutte decided to further improve his property by erecting a new and modern house. Workmen immediately tore down the old building and in its place an eight room two story home was soon completed. It is a square building, measuring 32X32 feet, modern in every respect. Even before the REA sub-station was built at Ridley, the Schuttes enjoyed a good lighting system in their home as gas lights did the job very well. Late in January the REA project was completed and the Schutte home was one of the first farms to be electrified. The sub-station is located on the Schutte property, immediately to the west of the farm house. Many other changes and improvements have been made since Chas. Schute has been on the farm. Adjoining buildings have been rebuilt, repaired and new ones have been erected.
The farm has been kept in step with the modern times, but the taxes have also advanced. To illustrate the increase, Mr. Schutte pulled a tax receipt from his pocket, which he just received. "When Dad and Mother were on the farm, 35 years ago, the taxes were about $50 a year on the place," he said, "but just look at this. Taxes this year for the first half amounted to $140.07. In a year's time that is almost six times as much."
The farm today consists of 160 acres as 19 acres across the road to the south of the farm house have been sold. Mr. Schutte has six head of good horses and a tractor to work the land. Last year he planted about 36 acres of corn, realizing a yield of about 60 bushels to the acre. He also harvested about 1,000 bushels of oats and 200 bushels of barley. He has from 150 to 200 Wyandotte and White Rock crossbred chickens on the place; 115 to 120 hogs and 40 head of cattle.
~Postville Herald, April 3, 1940
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