"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mrs. Ray Waters (Mabel Waters)
Another well known farm woman, Mrs. Mabel Waters, is the subject of this week's sketch. For 30 years she has been located on her property about seven miles north of Postville in Allamakee county. As Miss Mabel Letchford she was born in Frankville township, Winneshiek county, the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. T.R. Letchford. She spent the early years of her life on the Letchford farm, obtaining an education in the rural schools near her home.
On November 25, 1909, she was married to Ray Waters and the newlyweds moved immediately to the Waters farm, north of town, where Mrs. Waters is located today.
The history of the farm is exceptionally interesting as it is one of the first properties to be settled in this vicinity. Jacob A. Brown was the first person to own the land. He purchased it August 1, 1851, from the government of the United States. According to papers in possession of Mrs. Waters, the property consisted of 100 acres at that time. Mr. Brown sold the farm to William Yount on February 13, 1852, who in turn made a deal with Griffin Fryer on February 26, 1853. Mr. Fryer owned the land for exactly two years as the next owner was David W. Lyons, who bought the farm on February 26, 1855. He didn't keep the property very long as the records show that John Lyons purchased it March 12, 1855. Mrs. Waters believes John Lyons was a son of David W. Lyons.
John Letchford, grandfather of Mrs. Waters, acquired the farm from John Lyons on December 7, 1868. The next owner of the farm was John Letchford's daughter, Betsey Ann Bollman, who acquired it on March 9, 1878. On September 16, 1904, Betsey Ann Bollman sold the farm to Robert Waters, Jr., father of Ray Waters. It has been the property of the Waters family ever since.
In 1885, before he purchased the farm, Robert Waters, Jr., became the owner of 40 acres of land, which adjoins the farm to the south, so the property really consists of 140 acres. "There were very few buildings on the farm when we took possession after our marriage." Mrs. Waters stated. "We started on a building-up program which has been carried on until the present time." After the death of her husband in February of 1924, Mrs. Waters took charge of the farm. She ran the farm herself until 1932 when her brother and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Vern Letchford, rented the property. Vern Letchford, who is well known as an auctioneer, does the farm work today. The Letchfords are the parents of one daughter, Virginia.
Since the death of her husband, Mrs. Waters has carried on the improvement program. A large chicken house, hog house, corn crib, silo and double garage [illegible words] erected to add to the value of the property. Mrs. Waters also owns 180 acres of property to the north. This is the Robert Waters, Jr., homestead. Robert Waters, Jr., passed away in August of 1921 and his wife continued to live in the house on this place until her death in 1927. At the present time the house is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Henning. Mr. Henning assists Mr. Letchford in farming the large property.
Through the estate of her husband, Mrs. Waters acquired 160 acres of pasture land near Myron. It is on this property that one of the finest herds of cattle in Allamakee county is pastured. The heard includes 38 head of registered Hereford cows of Domino strain; 29 registered calves and one registered bull. The bull was purchased in 1938 from the Wyoming Hereford Ranch, Cheyenne, Wyo. Mrs. Waters is extremely proud of the herd. "We have already sold nine baby bulls this year," she explained. Mrs. Waters' entire property totals 480 acres. This includes the 100 acre home farm; 40 acres to the south; the 180 acre Robert Waters, Jr., homestead and the 160 acres of pasture land.
"It's quite a job looking after it," Mrs. Waters remarked. "but since Vern rented the place my work has been easier. Something is always coming up which needs attention." Mrs. Waters explained that this year's crop isn't as large as usual. "We have 38 acres of oats, 45 acres of corn, 20 acres of soy beans, 30 acres of alfalfa hay. The balance of the farm is in timothy and clover hay and pasture land." There are 45 sheep, 11 Holstein cows, 8 draft horses, one pony and one riding horse on the place. about 400 White Leghorn baby chicks and 250 White Leghorn hens are also on the property.
~Postville Herald, August 21, 1940
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