"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Fred H. Koenig
This week the history of another farmer, who belongs to the "half century" club, will be related in this column. He is Fred H. Koenig, who was born and reared on his farm five miles northwest of Postville. Mr. Koenig just observed his 54th anniversary and has always lived on the Koenig farm.
His parents were Mr. and Mrs. William F. Koenig, who lived the early years of their life in Germany. In 1868 they left their native land, crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the United States. At that time they had one daughter, Louisa, who later married Charles Kaiser of Monona.
The Koenig family journeyed as far west as Garnavillo, where they located on a farm owned by Henry Wiechman. Mr. Koenig worked as a hired hand for three of four years, then he rented a farm near Froelich. In 1878 the Koenig family moved again to a farm southwest of Castalia, which Mr. Koenig rented from Mr. Winklie.
Then, in 1884, the Koenigs decided to buy their own farm. Mr. Koenig soon closed a deal with Harvey McClenahan for 140 acres of land, paying in the neighborhood of $40 or $45 an acre. It is this farm on which Mr. and Mrs. Fred Koenig and family are living today.
The William Koenig family consisted of eight children. Two have passed away, Mrs. Charles Kaiser, and (Rosina) Mrs. F.C. Ruckdaschel. All of the others are living today. Louis, who is located on a farm east of Castalia; Mrs. Minnie Poesch and (Mary) Mrs. Geo. Schroeder, both of Postville; Will C. Koenig, who lives across the road from the Koenig homestead; (Lena) Mrs. Reuben Christofferson of Cedar Rapids, and Fred Koenig, the youngest member of the family and the subject of this sketch.
"Although our farm really consists of 140 acres, we have an additional 10 acres of woods," Mr. Koenig explained. "The woods do not adjoin the farm, being located about a mile to the northeast of the farm."
Several years after being located on their farm, Mr. and Mrs. William Koenig purchased another farm of 120 acres one mile north of their place. With the help of a hired man, who lived on the new property, Mr. Koenig worked both farms. This arrangement was followed successfully for a few years, then Mr. Koenig sold the farm to his son, Louis, who worked the farm to the north. Louis sold it about 17 or 18 years ago and today it is the property of Mrs. Helen Moon. It is rented by Vic Meyer.
The Koenig homestead was imptoved by hard labor. The land had been quite will grubbed before the Koenigs arrived and htis work was continued. Buildings on the property were all replaced as the years went on and in 1888 Mr. Koenig replaced the small, frame, story and a half farm home. In later years the house was further improved. Mr. Koenig's parents have both passed away, his mother in 1915 and his father in 1928.
In 1912 Fred H. Koenig took over the management of the property, which is one of the most valuable farms in Winneshiek county at the present time.
On January 24, 1917, he was married to Miss Alma Schlie and to their union six boys were born: Harlan, who is farming one mile west of the home place; Leonard, who lives at home and works out at various times; LaVern, Milton, Loren and Earl, all living at home.
In 1917 Mr. Koenig bult a large barn, 36X76 feet, in which there are 20 stanchions. A silo was erected in 1926, and a galvanized iron machine shed, 22X48 feet, in 1934. Livestock on the farm includes 23 cows, five horses, 82 spring pigs and about 250 White Leghorn and Crossbred chickens, which are cared for by Mrs. Koenig. "With that many chickens we get plenty of eggs," Mr. Koenig remarked. "On some days we get about 175 eggs, but of course we don't always get that many."
Mr. Koenig and his sons have most of their corn already planted this year. When they are through with this work they will have 25 acres planted in corn. An additional four or five acres will be planted in cane for silage, and 26 acres will be in oats. "Last year was one of the best corn years I have ever seen," the veteran farmer stated. "On one field of six acres we realized about 700 bushels of corn, wich is an average of approximately 100 bushels to the acre. The other corn on the farm didn't approach that field, but it was above average."
In direct contrast to last year's crop, Mr. Koenig did a little reminiscing. "After enjoying a good crop of corn in 1914, we came the closest to having a total failure in 1915 of any year I have been on the place. It was so cold that summer that we had at least one freezing moring in every month. We couldn't husk corn that fall. But we got by that year by buying corn. In 1933 a hail storm stuck the corn, causing great damage, but I had hail insurance which came in mighty handy. I always carry hail insurance because the risk is too great without it." There is considerable pasture land on the farm for the Koenig livestock, with approximately 45 acres of pasture land.
Mr. and Mrs. Koenig have one grandchild, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harlan Koenig. "In my 54 years I have never moved," Mr. Koenig said in conclusion, "and I hope I never have to."
~Postville Herald, May 22, 1940
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