"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Paul E. Topel
Many of our friends on the acres have been married over 50 years and Mr. and Mrs. Paul E. Topel are not an exception to that statement. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary January 31, 1940.
Mr. & Mrs. Paul E. Topel, 50th anniversary, January 1940
Mr. and Mrs. Topel reside six and a half miles northwest of Postville on the road to Frankville. The farm on which they are living is in two townships, twenty acres lie in Ludlow township and 67 acres in Post township. The Topels also own a 175 acre farm in the northwest corner of Post township. On this farm live their son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Topel, Jr., and their two children.
Paul E. Topel, Sr., was born November 7, 1868, in Pomerania, Germany, a son of Mr. and Mrs. August Topel. When old enough, he entered school and received an education. When he was 13 years old he was confirmed; at the age of 16 he decided to emigrate to America. He worked a year in the stock yards at Chicago, then came farther west, locating near Postville. For eight months he worked as a farm hand for the late Simon Opfer in Ludlow township. Then he worked a year for the late Rob Waters, also in Ludlow township (the farm is owned today by Mrs. Mabel Waters.) The following year found him working for the late W.H. Carrithers near Myron. (Ralph Bachtell lives today on this farm.) "I received $216 for my year's work on the Carrithers farm." Mr. Topel remarked. Then he added, "I had $200 of the money saved at the end of the year. Just think of that, I only spent $16 all year. But, of course, I got my room, board and washing for nothing and didn't get to town often enough to spend any money." Mr. Carrithers was Ralph Bachtell's, Euclid Marston's and Mrs. Lafe Tague's grandfather. "Only a few weeks ago Lafe Tague said he found a diary written by Mr. Carrithers." Mr. Topel stated. "In it he had written that I was a good worker." After working another year as a farm hand on the R.H. Waters place in Ludlow township, Mr. Topel purchased 40 acres of land in the northwest corner of Post township.
On January 31, 1890, Mr. Topel was married to Miss Tillie Kamin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kamin, natives of Germany. the Kamins came to Allamakee county in 1871. It was from Mr. Kamin that Paul Topel purchased his property in Post township, paying $1,000 for the 40 acres. From time to time he purchased adjoining land until his holdings totaled 175 acres. During the first 25 years he owned the property, he cleared off heavy timber from 100 acres.
From 1890 to 1900 the Topels lived in a two-room log cabin. Temporary buildings were constructed on the property, such as straw sheds, log buildings, etc. Then in 1900 Mr. Topel built a modern, large nine room house. It is the house which is being used today by Paul Topel, Jr. and family. Other modern buildings were constructed and today the farm is one of the best equipped in northeastern Iowa. In the summer of 1918 Mr. Topel installed a complete waterworks system for his farm home. He drilled a well on top of a ridge a quarter of a mile from the buildings, erected a windmill and constructed a large concrete reservoir with a capacity of 400 barrels. A pipeline, six feet under ground, leads from this reservoir to the farm buildings and distributes the water to the varous buildings, house, barn and hog house, with a hydrant in the yard which may be used for fire protection; the automatic pressure is 45 pounds to the square inch, enough to throw water over any of the buildings.
Mr. and Mrs. Topel have five children: Mrs. E.S. Beall of Independence; Mrs. Henry Dotseth of Decorah; Arthur Topel of Farmersburg; Ralph Topel of LaCrosse, Wis.; and Paul Topel, Jr. they also have nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
In about 1920 Mr. Topel purchased the farm on which they are living today. At that time they were residing on the Post township farm and the second farm was acquired for Arthur W. Topel, a son. This property of 87 acres cost $17,000. Arthur moved to Farmersburg after several years of farming and the farm was rented for several years. By this time Paul Topel, Jr., was doing a good job of working the other farm, so Mr. and Mrs. Topel, Sr., moved to Postville where Mr. Topel operated the Hall Roberts' Son feed mill. After three years in town, the Topels moved back to the farm. With the exception of two years in LaCrosse, where they lived because of Mrs. Topel's illness, they have always resided in Allamakee county.
They do not have any livestock on the farm where they live. The farm house was entirely remodeled and it is modern in every respect, but other buildings on the small farm are not used a great deal. On the Paul Topel, Jr., farm, dairying is the main business. Thirty head of dairy cows are milked twice a day by electric milking machines. A total of 108 spring pigs were raised last summer, but about 50 were sold in January. Each pig averaged about 250 pounds.
Mr. and Mrs. Topel, Sr., have been actively associated with church work for over 50 years. At the present time they are members of the Community Presbyterian church in Postville. Mr. Topel has charge of a Brotherhood class of men - a task he has ably performed for 30 years. He is also an elder, a position he has served for 47 years. In June, 1938, Mr. Topel was sent to Philadelphia as a delegate to the general assembly of the Presbyterian church. Of course, Mrs. Topel accompanied him and they took in many sights in the east during their four weeks' journey.
~Postville Herald, February 14, 1940
~the photo is from their 50th anniversary write-up in the Postville Herald, January 24, 1940
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