"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Fred Blumhagen
Fred Blumhagen, who lives four and a half miles northwest of Postville, more than qualifies for the "half-a-century" farmers' club. He was born and reared on the Blumhagen farm and has spent over 66 years on the property.
Both of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. August Blumhagen, were born in Germany, coming to the United States in the late 60's. After their marriage in Clayton county they located on the old Fred Williams farm, south of town. They farmed several years on this property before buying a farm of their own. They made the purchase from Frank Lennon and moved to their property March 1, 1874. At that time the Blumhagen farm consisted of 80 acres. It was a heavily wooded property, requiring a great deal of backbreaking labor to clear. Very little machinery and a lack of adequate tools made grubbing work very difficult, but August Blumhagen went to work and grubbed about 30 acres by hand. The last grubbing to be done on the property occurred in 1901, when another four and a half acres were cleared.
On April 19, 1874, Fred Blumhagen, the subject of this sketch, was born. There were four other children in the August Blumhagen family: John, Minnie and Annie, who have passed away, and Sophia (Mrs. Alfred Baird) who is living today in Portland, Ore.
When the Blumhagen family moved to their property their home was a log cabin. After living in it for several years, Mr. Blumhagen tore it down and erected a small home. All of the buildings on the farm have been replaced in the years Fred Blumhagen has lived on the property. "When I was about 15 years old we put up a new house and then in 1926 I built an addition on the south side, so the house comprises nine rooms today." he explained.
Mr. Blumhagen has a keen memory for dates and gave a brief history of the farm building activities. "In 1903 we put up a barn, which cost approximately $400. Then in 1920 we built an addition to the barn on the south side. Just to show how wages and materials advanced during those years it may be of interest to you to know that the addition cost $1,000." A well house was constructed in 1908; a machine shed, 24X50, in 1918; a granary, 14X24, in 1912; a cattle shed, 20X40, in 1914; a chicken house, 40X16, in 1924. The latter two buildings are tile structures.
Mr. Blumhagen's father and mother have passed away, his mother in 1918, and his father in 1926.
Fred Blumhagen was married to Miss Bertha Krogman on April 3, 1907, and they have continuously resided on the property since their marriage. Mrs. Blumhagen is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Krogman. She was born November 25, 1876, in Gross-Goehren, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany. She was the member of a large family as she had four sisters and three brothers. When she was five years old a disastrous fire broke out in Gross-Goehren and the entire village burned, with the exception of the schoolhouse and two homes. "Mother had a brother by the name of Carl Schroeder, who was living in the United States, near Postville, who had often asked my parents to leave Germany and live at his home." Mrs. Blumhagen related. "So my father and mother decided to make the long journey. I don't remember much about the voyage, but we arrived safely and lived on the Schroeder farm for a year. (Ben Erickson is on this farm today.) "A year later Dad purchased 40 acres and we moved to our own farm. A short time later he bought an additional 20 acres. That farm is occupied today by Henry Karmaus."
Her mother passed away in 1904 and her father in 1914. Mrs. Blumhagen and her sister, Minnie (Mrs. Henry Muchow) of Fergus Falls, Minn., are the only surviving members of the Krogman family. The others, who have passed away, are as follows: Mrs. Carl Schultz of Luana, Mrs. John Nise of Lime Springs, Mrs. August Schara of Dubuque, John of Castalia, Henry of Postville and Charles of Prairie du Chien, Wis.
Mr. and Mrs. Blumhagen have one son, Elmer, who assists in the operation of the farm. To the original 80 acres, Mr. Blumhagen has added another 80 acres, so his holdings total 160 acres today. He purchased 40 acres of land adjoining his property on the west from the late George Allen and in 1928 bought 40 acres to the north of his property, across the road, from W.H. Hein of Postville.
Livestock on the Blumhagen farm includes about 50 head. They have 16 cows, 15 of which are milking today, 15 calves and the remainder are young stock, steers and heifers. They also have 11 sows and 81 pigs, about 250 White Leghorn chickens and 300 baby chicks, and five horses.
"Last year's corn crop was a good one," Mr. Blumhagen remarked, "as our corn on 28 acres went about 75 bushels to the acre. Our oats weren't so good, though, at it was too dry during the summer. We threshed 800 bushels on 25 acres."
In the summer, during the busy season, Mr. Blumhagen and his son have Carlas Schultz help them with the farm work. When the Herald reporter visited their farm last week they were busy plowing corn. They take good care of their crop as they plow it four or five times to keep the weeds down. From the appearance of their farm it is easy to come to the conclusion that they take good care of everything - their yard is neat and the buildings are all in good repair. Mrs. Blumhagen, like many women, spends considerable time with flowers and potted plants. She has many plants in their home and many flowers are growing today in her garden.
~Postville Herald, June 12, 1940
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