"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. Fred J. Heins
Fred J. Heins almost qualifies for the Heralds' "half-a-century" club as he has been living on his farm northwest of Postville for 48 years. Although it is two miles from Postville to his farm by road, the distance is only about half a mile across field from the limits of Postville corporation.
Fred J. Heins was born October 5, 1884, on a farm in Grand Meadow, Clayton county, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Heins. It was while he was living in this vicinity that he began attending rural school near his home. "I can easily remember my early school days," he related, "and two of my first teachers were James McKinley and his sister, Kate McKinley." After Mr. Heins had attended school for several years his father purchased 150 acres of property northwest of Postville on which Fred J. Heins is located today. "Dad bought the farm in 1890," he explained, "but I can't say I have been living here since then because I stayed two years with my older brother, the late Charles Heins, after my parents vacated the farm in Grand Meadow township. In 1892 I moved to this farm and have been here ever since. Empire school is only a short distance from the farm and I continued my studies for several years. Kate McKinley, who had been my teacher in Grand Meadow township, was again one of my instructors as she taught several years in the Empire school after leaving Grand Meadow township."
Mr. Heins' father passed away in 1900 and although Fred J. Heins was only 16 years old, he put his shoulder to the wheel and with his brothers took charge of the farm. Today Mr. Heins has only one living sister, Mrs. Simon Schnuelle, who is located near Postville. Three brothers and two sisters have passed away. He also lost his mother, Mrs. Dora Heins, who passed away in Postville on May 29, 1940, at the age of 89 years.
On February 27, 1906, Mr. Heins was married to Miss Anna Nuehring in Postville. Nine children were born to their union, seven of whom are living: Edna (Mrs. Walter Eberling) of Waukon, Romilda (Mrs. Kenneth Koth) of Monona, Harlen, Aurelia (Mrs. Lloyd Schultz), Rolan, all of whom live in Postville and vicinity, and Marcella and Luther, living at home. Since the untimely death of Mrs. Heins in the University hospital at Iowa City on March 22, 1940, Marcella Heins has taken over the household duties at the farm home.
In addition to the 150 acre home farm, Mr. Heins owns an 80 acre farm in Grand Meadow township, Clayton county. It is tenanted today by Arno Larson. He purchased this property in 1930. About four years prior to that time Mr. Heins bought five acres of timber land in Post township, some three miles north of his farm. It is from this timber that he gets his winter's supply of wood. "I have about ten acres of timber on the farm here, but it was getting pretty much thinned out," he remarked, "so I decided the purchase of an extra five acres of timber would be a good investment." The ten acres of timber on the Heins farm are now being used as pasture. In addition, Mr. Heins has 30 acres of other pasture land.
This year he has 81 acres of farm land under cultivation: 24 acres of corn, 24 acres of oats, 23 acres of alfalfa and 10 acres of sorgo. "The alfalfa crop has been a good one," he said, "as we have already put up 50 loads from the first two cuttings. The barn is almost full so I'll have to sell the third cutting. It's hard to say when I'll make the third cuttings, but it will probably be in three or four weeks. The corn looks good this year," he continued, "but I don't think it will be quite as good as it was last year. It may surprise you, but back in 1914 the corn crop on this farm was as good, if not better than last year's. The next year (1915) was terrible and there wasn't much corn. We turned our hogs into the cornfield and after they were fattened up, sold them. I guess we got almost as much out of fat hogs as we would have received from a good corn crop. We made more money that year than during years when there was plenty of corn. An abundance of corn, you know, usually causes a drop in the hog market."
Mr. Heins owns 26 head of livestock which are mostly milking Shorthorns. Included in the herd are also a few Brown Swiss and several Guernseys. He has about 85 spring pigs, 125 crossbred hens and 150 Buff Rocks. "We have five horses on the place," he remarked, "but most of the real heavy work is done with a tractor."
One of the most exciting experiences Mr. Heins recalls during the years he has lived on the farm occurred June 28, 1900. "We were having a bad electrical storm, so the entire family stayed up a little later than usual," he explained. "About 11 o'clock there was a terrific crash and it wasn't long before smoke began to pour into the windows on the east side of the house. I went to the window and noticed flames on the roof of the barn. We immediately ran to the barn and led out four horses, but the flames had gained such rapid headway it was impossible to save two cows and two calves. We also lost about 300 bushels of grain. The barn was covered by insurance and the barn we are using today was soon built. It is 36X70 feet."
In 1917 Mr. Heins erected the large farm house and since then many other buildings have been put up - corn crib, hog house, chicken house, garage, etc. In 1926 a fine tile silo, 14 feet in diameter and 32 feet high, was built. Mr. Heins likes farming and it can be said he is one of the capable farmers in Allamakee county.
~Postville Herald, August 28, 1940
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