IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Fred W. Meyer


Two miles west of Postville, about a quarter mile north of highway 52, is located one of the finest farms in the state of Iowa. It is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Fred W. Meyer and is often referred to as "the show-place of Allamakee county."

Old time residents still call it the Topliff farm as it was Elias Topliff who first settled in that location. Mr. Topliff obtained the farm in 1847, just two years before Allamakee county was organized. He was a prominent citizen of those days, taking an active part in the formation of the county. Early settlers elected him as the first county treasurer and a few years later he became the first judge in Allamakee county. When he died in 1860, his son, John N. Topliff, Sr., purchased the farm from the estate. John Topliff, Sr., operated the farm for 30 years and it was on this place that Dr. Ray F. Topliff, Postville, was born.

In the fall of 1890, Ludwig H. Meyer, living near Garnavillo, purchased the farm for his son, Fred W. Meyer. On March 5, 1891, Fred Meyer and his bride of a month moved to the farm. They have lived there continuously ever since, and will round out 49 years of residence next March. One son, Victor L. Meyer, and one daughter, Miss Ora Meyer, were born on the place and today they assist their parents with the farm work.

In 1902 Ludwig Meyer turned the place over to his son who has been responsible for a series of improvements which make it one of the most valued properties in this vicinity. Fred Meyer is often referred to as "Topliff" Meyer by his friends, although he prefers to be called "Fritz".

In reality the farm is two farms as Mr. Meyer has split up the property. A renter, Ray Schara, operates the adjoining place, which is located a short distance from the Meyer home. Each year when Mr. Meyer pays his taxes he goes to the courthouse at Waukon, then journeys to Decorah to complete the payment. This unusual procedure is necessitated because his farm is located in two counties. The house and 87 acres are in Winneshiek county, while the barn and 170 additional acres are in Allamakee county. The home farm, occupied by the Meyers, consists of 140 acres.

"In all the years we have experienced but one crop failure," Mr. Meyer explained. "That was in 1915. In three weeks the hogs ate up the entire crop. Two years later the corn was poor, but we managed to make it last." Mr. Meyer has been "hailed out" only three times in 49 years. In 1916 Mr. Meyer took advantage of low prices and built a large, modern brick house in which the family resides today. He has also constructed 10 other buildings on the farm for chickens, hogs, machinery, etc. After using a farm light plant for many years, the house was connected with a high-line which was constructed in 1921. At the present time he has 16 Brown Swiss milch cows, four heifers, 250 English White Leghorn chickens, 84 spring pigs, three horses, a colt and several roosters.

In 1863, when the railroad was being built, the property was divided by the road. So, in recent years Mr. Meyer has sold his land on the south side of the tracks. He more than made up for this loss of acreage by purchasing land north of his home. He originally paid $55 an acre for his farm, then in 1911 paid $110 an acre for additional land. In 1919 he bought 20 acres, paying $175 an acre.

One record Mr. Meyer is extremely proud of - he sold the first cream ever delivered to the Postville creamery on April 1, 1891 - and since that time has never missed receiving a monthly cream check. With his son, Victor, he farms the land, using two tractors for the heavy work. For 18 years he has owned a corn picker and also owns a thresher and silo filling equipment.

~Postville Herald, November 23, 1939


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