"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. John Walch
John Walch belongs to the list of pioneer farmers in this vicinity as he has been located 43 years on his farm five miles southeast of Postville in the Luana community.
He was born March 1, 1882, on a farm one mile east of Luana, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Walch, Sr. He attended rural school near his home and early in his youth began doing farm duties with his father. "Ever since I can remember, I have been doing farm work," he told the Herald writer, who interviewed Mr. Walch as he was busy milking cows. "I like farm work and wouldn't care to move away from this place."
When Mr. Walch was 14 years old his parents sold their farm east of Luana and purchased the property owned and operated by Mr. Walch. They made the deal with Herman F. Schierholz and moved immediately to their new property. It has been the home of John Walch ever since, with the exception of a year spent in Luana.
The Walches began a building program, erecting a hog house, corn crib, chicken house, wood shed, machinery shed, etc., in the months following their arrival. A new barn had been erected three years before they purchased th eplace by Mr. Schierholz and it is stil in use today.
"Our house is one of the oldest buildings in this vicinity," Mr. Walch said. "We have been told that it was built 92 years ago by William Mott, who later became postmaster of Luana. The house, of course, has been repaired and remodeled many times during the 92 years and makes a comfortable home for us."
Mr. Walch's parents lived until 1923 on the place, passing away within one week of each other. His father died Jan. 23, 1923, and his mother on Feb. 2, 1923. As his father had not been able to do any farm work in his advanced age, John was forced to work all of the land by himself. He had another difficult task to perform, too, as his mother had been in il health for many years and was unable to do the household duties and the cooking.
"I managed to do the housework and cook the meals for a number of years," Mr. Walch explained, "but it was quite a job for me."
On April 12, 1923, Mr. Walch and Miss Frieda Miene, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Miene were married. They are the parents of four children, Laura, 16, Ewald, 13, Lillian Ann, 11, and Harlan, who celebrated his 8th birthday anniversary last Thursday.
Mrs. Walch was born in Germany on Dec. 15, 1894, and for ten years lived in that country where she attended school. With her parents she came to the United States, the family first settling at McGregor with Mr. Miene's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Miene, Sr. The Mienes lived at McGregor for three years, then moved to a farm northwest of Castalia, where they were tenants for a short time. For nine years they lived on a farm four miles south of Postville. Mr. Miene purchased a property of 160 acres just south of the Walch farm. Mr. Miene passed away Feb. 21, 1927.
Mr. Walch has two brothers, Ed and Frank Walch of Rockwell. Mrs. Walch has two sisters and three brothers - Meta and Velma, who live with their mother on the nearby farm; Henry Miene of Waukon, William Miene who is on a farm adjoining the Walch property; and Fred Miene, who lives with his mother and does the farm work.
Corn husking had been started last week on the Walch farm when the Herald representative made his call. "Our corn wil run about 65 bushels to the acre," Mr. Walch stated. "It's a little better than it was last year, if you can imagine that is possible. We have 26 acres devoted to corn."
Last July Mr. Walch put up 1,280 bushels of oats off 30 acres, which was an average slightly over 40 bushels to the acre. His other crop was soybeans, "We got 27 loads off six acres, which we put up for hay," he explained.
Livestock on the farm includes 127 hogs, nine cows, 6 calves and 3 horses. As Mrs. Walch was ill last spring they didn't rase any baby chicks. "We do have about 150 old ones thought at the present time," he said.
"Yes, I like the farm," he continued, "and in 1921, before my parents passed away, I found out that I'm no good away from the farm. We moved to Luana that year, but the next year we moved back out here. It sure was a relief to get back to work."
At this point of the interview Mrs. Walch supplied some interesting information regarding her husband's ability in the kitchen. "When I was sick last spring John did the housework and also took care of the cooking. He can bake bread as well as any woman and my sisters say he can make doughnuts better than anyone they know. Three years ago when Velma had scarlet fever she got to thinking how good some of John's doughnuts would taste, so John quit whatever farm work he was doing and came into the kitchen to don an apron. He cooked the doughnuts and then put them on the porch of the Miene house, where they were quickly taken inside and eaten.
As a further testimonial of Mr. Walch's ability in the kitchen, Mrs. Walch remarked that their son, Ewald, has one ambition - "to bake bread like pa!"
~Postville Herald, November 30, 1940
'Our Friends on the Acres' index