"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Louis Lubka
Not many farmers in the Postville vicinity can better the record of Louis Lubka, who lives four and a half miles northwest of town. Mr. Lubka has lived on his property long enough to qualify for the "half-a-century" club, and has a few years to spare. In fact, he has lived on the same farm for 61 years.
Mr. Lubka was born on a farm near Sauk City, Wis., on October 25, 1885, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Lubka. His father and mother were both born in Germany, emigrating to the United States in their youth. Until 1889 his father worked as a farm hand near Sauk City, then in 1889 the Lubka family moved westward to Iowa. The Lubkas wanted a farm of their own, so they looked the country over in this vicinity, finally deciding on 80 acres northwest of Postville. Mr. Lubka made the purchase from Leonard and Lewis of Decorah and his family moved into a small log cabin on the property. The only other buildings on the farm were a few straw sheds and as the years went by they were replaced by more modern buldings. After living in the log house for several months, Mr. Lubka decided it wasn't a suitable home, so it was torn down and a new farm house went up in its place.
Louis Lubka, the subject of this sketch, was but four years old when his parents came to Iowa. This fall he will observe his 65th birthday anniversary. He isn't as spry as he used to be, but he is still in the harness and can do more work today than a good many men many years his junior. He has one brother, Carl Lubka, who is living in Postville. Two other brothers, Will and John, have passed away.
Along before the turn of the century, Louis Lubka started going to Oak Hill school, which was located just a little less than a mile west of the Lubka farm. Although it was a good many years ago, Mr. Lubka still remembers his early school days and one of his teachers, Norris Allen. As the years went by his father enlarged the Lubka property by buying 52 acres of adjoining land.
When Louis Lubka was married in 1900, the farm consisted of 132 acres. His bride was Miss Ann Stopperan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stopperan, also natives of Germany. She was born March 11, 1881, in Clayton county on what is today the Lloyd Block farm. After her marriage to Mr. Lubka on November 27, 1900, her parents continued to reside on their Clayton county farm for several years. Finally they decided to retire and moved to Postville, where they passed away.
The Charls Stopperan family was a large one as there were eight children, as follows: Carl, John and Will, who have passed away. Fred Stopperan of near Postville, Mrs. Sophia Meyer of Postville, Mrs. Fred Bareis of Castalia, Mrs. Henry Bareis of Cresco, and Mrs. Lubka.
Mr. and Mrs. Louis Lubka moved to the farm of Mr. Lubka's parents after their marriage. Next November they will observe their 40th wedding anniversary. During these years they have never lived any other place, being located all of the time on the Lubka farm. In 1900 Mr. Lubka's parents purchased the Nels Thomas farm, just one mile to the east, in Allamakee county, and lived there for many years. It was on this farm that Mrs. Fred Lubka passed away. After her death Fred Lubka lived for three years with Mr. and Mrs. Louis Lubka, then moved to the Carl Lubka farm near Bethel, where he passed away at the age of 84 years.
Mr. and Mrs. Lubka became the parents of six children: Elmer of Postville, Clarence of Castalia, Roy who lives on an adjoining farm, Hazel (Mrs. Arno. Backhaus) of near Postville, and Merle, living at home. Another daughter, Violet, passed away.
The Lubka farm today consists of 182 acres. When Mr. and Mrs. Lubka were first married the farm included 132 acres, but Mr. Lubka purchased 40 acres of land adjoining his farm on the south. A short time later he bought an additional 10 acres on the southeast. The farm is located in two counties, 100 acres in Bloomfield township, Winneshiek county, and 82 acres in Post township, Allamakee county. So when tax paying time rolls around Mr. Lubka pays taxes in both counties. "The highest tax I ever paid was $204, but I guess the $102 I paid this year was the lowest I ever paid," Mr. Lubka remarked. Only 20 acres of timber and pasture land are located on the farm. The rest of the farm can be cultivated. This year Mr. Lubka was allowed 65.3 acres for corn and oats. He has 27.4 acres planted to corn, 28.9 acres to oats and barley and about two acres to soy beans. "We don't have very much corn planted this year," the veteran farmer explained, "but I can remember when we really used to put in corn. One year we planted 42 acres of corn, but I guess that is the most we ever had."
"We've had our poor years, too," he continued. "In three successive years I would say we had crop failures. Although I'm not just certain of the years, I think they were 1932, 1933 and 1934. In 1932 the grub worms got the crop. The next year a hail storm came along and struck most of the farm. Out of 60 acres of oats and small grain we harvested only 390 bushels of oats. As I remember it, 1934 was the dry year and because of the drouth we didn't get much of a crop." In spite of three successive bad years, Mr. Lubka and his wife have weathered their bad luck and last year enjoyed their best crop in 40 years. "Hybrid corn has improved the yield and I would say that corn crops on an average are better today than they were when I was a boy," he explained.
There are 28 head of cattle on the Lubka farm. They have 12 milch cows, four heifers, two steers, one bull and eight calves. They also have five horses, 150 crossbred chickens and 300 baby chicks of the same breed, seven lambs, six ewes, 56 pigs and 19 fall pigs and sows. Their 16 year old son, Merle, helps work the farm and he is much interested in 4-H club work. He has one heifer and one steer, which he is grooming for 4-H contests.
Mr. and Mrs. Lubka's son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Lubka, moved off the farm March 1 to their own place at Donnan Junction. When they moved they took 16 head of cattle, five brood sows and five sheep off the home place.
The Lubka farm home is a large one, consisting of seven downstairs rooms and five upstairs rooms. It has been remodeled and kept in good repair, as have other buildings on the property.
~Postville Herald, July 3, 1940
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