"Our Friends on the
Mr. & Mrs. Fred Becker
This week the Herald reporter went 12 miles southeast of Postville to the farm of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Becker in Wagner township, Clayton county. The Becker farm is one of the best in this vicinity, being located in the extreme northern part of the township.
Mr. Becker was born June 7, 1893 in Grand Meadow township, Clayton county, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry F. Becker. This farm, which is now owned by Harley Radloff, was the home of Mr. Becker for only six months. In December, 1893, Mr. Becker's parents purchased the old Dave Welton place, a property of 98 acres, and the Beckers took immmediate possession. Lester Doerring is the owner of this property today, adjoining the Fred Becker farm to the north.
Fred Becker has lived 47 years in that vicinity. He obtained an early education by attending the Eno school, which is only three-quarters of a mile from the old Becker farm. "I'll never forget my first week of school," Mr. Becker laughingly remarked. "As my parents came from Germany, I was taught to speak German, so when I started to school I didn't understand many English words. The older school boys took advantage of me, I'm afraid, because they told me to rub a ruler across the neck of the boy who sat in front of me. I hadn't been doing it very long before our teacher grabbed me and gave me a good licking." Mr. Becker attended the Eno school for 15 years and also attended a German confirmation school in Postville from September to Easter at one time.
He made his home with his parents until December 14, 1915, when his marriage to Miss Amanda Doerring was solemnized. Mrs. Becker is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Doerring, who are now living in Monona. She was born September 26, 1893, in Monona township, Clayton county. A short time later her parents purchased a farm in Marion and Wagner townships, and this was her home until her marriage to Mr. Becker. Her brother, Ed Doerring, is on the old homestead today.
Mr. and Mrs. Becker looked into the future before they married and settled down as they purchased the farm on which they are now living from Gene Turner, two years before their marriage. The property consists of 113 acres. They moved to their new farm after their marriage, settling in the old house on the farm. They weren't satisfied with the house, so in 1920 it was torn down and in March of that year builders began erecting a new house. During the months the home was being constructed, the Beckers lived on the old Becker farm, one-half mile to the north. "We built during high times," Mr. Becker stated, "but we got a good, substantial house." It is a large home, consisting of 10 rooms, modern in every respect. Until last January the Beckers used kerosene lamps, but on January 26, they were hooked up with the newly erected REA lines and since then have enjoyed electric lights.
A year before the house was built, Mr. Becker constructed a double corn crib, 24X40, and a hen house, 16X30. "Other buildings on the farm were here when we came," Mr. Becker explained, "so we haven't done any other building since we've been here. Of course, there has been plenty of repair work, but you have to expect that kind of work."
With the exception of 80 rods, Mr. Becker has a new barbed wire and hog wire fence around the property. the fence will last a long time as he used steel posts. Mr. Becker does most of the farm work himself, receiving help from his wife and daughters during the rush periods. "We just finished husking 23 acres of corn and it was quite a job," he said. "Mrs. Becker, Helen, Margenelle and Jeanette all helped with the husking. Gladys, who is only six years old, was the only one in the family who didn't do any husking, but in a few years, she says she wants to husk too." When Mr. Becker said it was quite a job to husk the corn, he referred to the excellent yield. He planted 23 acres of corn last spring and received over 2,300 bushels, or approximately 100 bushels to the acre. "It was the best in all the years I have been on the farm," he remarked. It was even better than it was a year ago as Mr. Becker's corn went about 79 bushels to the acre in 1939. During the past summer there were several rains in that vicinity which came at just the right time. "We got several rains which didn't extend as far north as Postville," Mrs. Becker explained.
Mr. Becker cut 20 acres of oats last summer, receiving 61 bushels to the acre. He got his oats in after the cloudburst in July, but was luckier than some of his neighbors, who lost many shocks when Silver Creek overflowed its banks. The only other crop on the farm last summer was one-half acre of soy beans, which yielded two tons.
Livestock on the farm includes 21 brood sows and four hogs which will be butchered for home use. On September 27 Mr. Becker sold 80 hogs. He has 14 milch cows, four heifers, five work horses, two to break next spring, and one yearling colt. The Beckers also own a flock of 300 White Leghorn laying hens.
Mr. Becker has two sisters, Mrs. Walter Knuth and Mrs. Alvin Knuth, both of whom live south of Luana. His mother passed away in October, 1936, and his father, who is now 83 years old, makes his home with Mrs. Alvin Knuth. Mrs. Becker has four brothers and one sister, Ed, Arno, Hubert and Lester Doerring and Mrs. Elmer Mohs, all of near Luana.
Mr. and Mrs. Becker's family includes five daughters, Helen, Margenelle, Jeanette and Gladys, all at home, and Ivanelle (Mrs. Lorenz Kuhse) of near Postville.
~Postville Herald, November 13, 1940
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