"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Colvin
Since the spring of 1902 Mr. and Mrs. Frank Colvin have been located on their farm about nine miles northeast of Postville. During the 38 years they have lived on their farm they have seen many changes, one of which is the improvement to highway 51 which passes across their property, almost under their doorstep.
Frank Colvin was born in Scales Mound, Ill., September 23, 1875, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Colvin. He spent the first 12 years of his life in Scales Mound and vicinity, where his father made a living at several trades. Richard Colvin was a butcher, carpenter and finally a farmer. After attending the public schools of Scales Mound, Frank Colvin went to work at an early age. When his parents moved to Elizabeth, Ill., in 1887, Mr. Colvin's father took a job with a crew of men who were engaged in the task of building a railroad. It wasn't long before Frank joined the railroad crew, driving a team of horses. After being a teamster for a time, the section boss put Frank to work carrying water.
The next year Frank accompanied his parents to Delaware county, Iowa, where they settled on a 400 acre farm near Manchester. It was a large farm and a tremendous amount of work was necessitated to operate the property. So Frank put his shoulder to the wheel and worked four years with his father. At the end of that time the Colvins decided to purchase a farm of their own so they came farther north in Iowa and finally decided on a 160 acre farm north of Luana. For six years the Colvin family made their home in this locality, finally selling their property and buying a farm northeast of Postville. (It adjoins the farm of Frank Colvin today and is now occupied by the Frank May farmily.)
Mrs. Frank Colvin is the former Miss Sophia McShane. She was born near Volney, December 22, 1880, on the McShane 80 acre farm. She spent her early life on this property and obtained an education by attending the old Red School nearby. "How did you meet Mr. Colvin?" the inquiring Herald reporter asked Mrs. Colvin. "Oh," she laughed, "that's a foolish question. We just met at a party." A short time later, on March 23, 1900, they were married in Waukon.
Immediately following their marriage they purchased a 40 acres property, one mile east of where they are now located, across the Yellow river. Two years later they sold out and purchased the farm on which they are living today. The Colvin farm consists of 94 acres. They purchased their property in 1902 from Dave Douglas of Waukon, whose son, Will Douglas, was living on the place. In 1918 they rented their farm house to Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Clark, who had just returned from Oregon, and spent four years at Mr. Colvin's father's farm nearby. However, during these four years the Colvins worked their own property as well as the elder Mr. Colvin's farm. In 1922 they returned to their own farm and have lived there continuously ever since.
Mr. and Mrs. Colvin became the parents of three boys. Only one son, Leo, of Elkader, is living today. Lon and Floyd have passed away.
"Last year's corn crop was probably the best we ever had." Mr. Colvin stated. "We had about 21 acres of corn and we got about 80 bushels to the acre. On one plot of four acres which we marked off we got 407 bushels of corn. That's over 100 bushels to the acre." Veteran farmers in this vicinity know that Mr. Colvin has some of the most fertile land in Allamakee county. His field on the river bottom, just to the south of the house, has produced near record yields on many occasions. This year he has 18 acres of corn and 19 acres devoted to hay. All the rest is pasture land.
During the summer, after school is out, the Colvins have their grandchildren, Billie and Don Colvin, of Elkader with them. The two youths have a fine time with their grandparents and help with the work on the farm.
When we came here in 1902 about the only buildings on the place were an old barn, well house, and farm house," the Colvins explained. During the last 38 years by dint of hard work the Colvin farm has been highly improved. In 1906 a barn, 26X46, was erected. But four years ago, when highway 51 was blacktopped, highway workmen decided to straighten the road and it was necessary to tear down the barn. This was done and a new barn, 26X60 feet, went up in place of the old one. Other farm buildings were moved and repaired and today the farm is one of the most substantial in Allamakee county. "It was quite an inconvenience," Mr. Colvin remarked when explaining about the new road. "We had to move fences, hedges, buildings and a lot of other things to give the highway the necessary 100 foot right-of-way."
Livestock on the farm includes 35 head of cattle, five horses, a pony (quite a favorite of Billie and Don), 28 hogs, 125 Rhode Island Reds and 125 baby chicks of the same breed, and 11 geese. At the present time the Colvins are milking 10 cows. As Mrs. Colvin and the two boys help Mr. Colvin with his milking duties; it doesn't take them very long to accomplish the job.
"During the years we have been on this farm, we have only had one real bad year." Mr. Colvin remarked. "That was in 1908, shortly after we came here. On June 20 a hail storm got our crop, but it was early enough in the year for us to plow again and plant millet. So by fall we managed to get some feed for our livestock."
Mr. Colvin has three brothers, Jesse Colvin and Ed Colvin of Waukon and Bert Colvin of Woodward. He also has two sisters, Mrs. Ben Davis and Miss Phoebe Colvin of Waukon. Two brothers and a sister have passed away.
Mrs. Colvin also comes from a large family. She has four brothers, Henry McShane of near Monona, Irving McShane of near Rossville, Geo. McShane of Waukon and Glen McShane on the home place; and three sisters, Mrs. Herbert McCracken of near Rossville, Mrs. Joe Geno on the home place and Mrs. Cullen Henderson of near Forest Mills. One sister has passed away.
~Postville Herald, July 10, 1940
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