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Posted By: Carol Saldivar (email)
Date: 5/16/2010 at 15:39:11

Iowa Press-Citizen, pub Iowa City, Johnson, IA, Thursday, 30 Oct 1975 by Claren F. Dale (Copy to Pottawattamie County, IA)

Large photo of Francis Glaspey in the driver's seat of his combine; caption: Francis Glaspey "A fella's got to keep what he's got"

HILLS - Francis Glaspey combined corn this week.

Nothing unusual about that! With near-perfect weather for fall harvest, it has been rare to find a farm where someone wasn't working in a field. Glaspey felt particularly good Tuesday steering the combine down the rows of corn. Good to be outdoors working the land.

Saturday [November 1, 1975], he will be 90.

Stopping to clean the machine, Glaspey commented, "I'm not as fast as I used to be, but I'm glad I can still get out in the field and run a mcahine. Sometimes when I start up, I have to think what to do first, but I just take it easy and I get along alright."

Glaspey farms with his son, Bob, north of Hills, on Highway 218, the first set of farm buildings north of town, east of the highway.

Glaspey, known as "Keagons", is taking his birthday as a matter-of-fact, the same as he takes the wad of chewing tobacco in his cheek..."a dirty habit, but I enjoy it"... his four years of country schooling, "boys need more education now", or the straw hat he wears summer and winter.

He doesn't plan anything special for Saturday except some work around the farm and his expression to sum up life's routine, 'a fella's got to keep what he's got."

"Two years ago, I went up to Iowa City to get a new driver's license. They said I couldn't see quite good enough, but if I come back the next day, the examiner would give me a special test. I just never went back. I figured if they didn't think I could see enough to drive a car, I didn't want to be out there driving."

He's the same about his left eye, sightless for a number of years. "I guess it was a cataract. Maybe if I had got to it earlier, or they had the machines and the people they got now, I could see through it.

Glaspey is a native Iowan whose father came from New Jersey after fighting in the Civil War. For years, Glaspey thought he was born in Shenandoah [Page/Fremont Counties], but learned from records that his birthplace was Pottawattamie County.

At 18, he filed a homestead claim in Canada, but he didn't get it. Then he filed a claim in North Dakota and established ownership. He worked the farm for 14 months, then returned to Iowa and traded the Dakota land for a farm near Hills.

He traveled and worked widely in the West and Central states. His nickname came in Minnesota where he worked for Mr. Keagons who failed to pay Glaspey. People began to call him 'Keagons'.

The Glaspeys have been raising soybeans for more than 50 years, long before corn became the golden grain. Soybeans were largely used for hay.

Bob Glaspey is somewhat amazed and proud of his father, "Dad was always for machines. We got one of the first combines, a used one pulled by a tractor. I thought we should wait and see how they worked out, but he was all for trying one. We eventually got a new one."

The elder Glaspey has no recommendations for long life or good health. He began chewing tobacco when he was 40 but never smoked cigarettes, although he used to smoke an occasional cigar. Glaspey figures his health and education probably came as much form hard work as anything else. He says, "never spend a nickel on anything that isn't necessary." He has few regrets.

He doesn't feel disappointed for lack of education, he believes good education is necessary. His wife, Carrie, is now living in a Kalona nursing home. Neither father nor son admit to being accomplished cooks. Several times a week, daughter Velma Ruegsegger comes from Iowa City to cook and help keep house, but "it's not the same" says the elder Glaspey.


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