"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Warner M. Harris
Northeast of Postville, in the Bethel community, live Mr. and Mrs. Warner M. Harris, who can be termed pioneers, as it was 42 years ago that they moved to the farm where they make their home.
Mr. Harris was born August 3, 1874, a son of Mr. and Mrs. George W. Harris. The George Harris farm was located only a short distance from where Mr. and Mrs. W.M. Harris are now located. Mr. Harris acquired an education in Minert school, a rural school nearby. One of his first teachers was Ellison Orr. He continued his studies during the winter time, attending Postville high school during the time Professor Smith was the superintendent. In the summer he would work with his father on the farm.
Mr. Harris lived with his parents until his marriage to Miss Rachel Folsom on February 23, 1898. She was born in Winneshiek county, near Frankville, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Folsom. Her parents moved to the Lybrand community and she attended the Lybrand school. The day after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Harris moved to their farm, which they purchased from the late J.M. Harris, undertaker in Postville. The farm consisted of 160 acres, costing $45 an acre. "I'll never forget that year as it was a very unusual one," Mr. Harris stated. "I was working in the field on March 18, and a few of our neighbors had been doing their spring plowing a week before I got around to going into the field."
Present day farmers may be astonished by Mr. Harris' statement, but many of the old timers will be able to remember the early spring of 1898. Mr. Harris has an easy time remembering the year as it was the year he was married. "The ground wasn't frozen very deep and when the weather warmed up early in March, the ground thawed out enough to permit plowing."
Mr. and Mrs. Harris are the parents of three sons, Lloyd Harris of Cedar Rapids; Ray Harris of Louisville, Kentucky, and Roger Harris, who lives on the home farm. Roger and his wife are the parents of a son, Ronald, and a daughter, Jeannine. Roger is in partnership with his father, and together they do the farm work. Last summer they planted 35 acres of corn which went from 65 to 70 bushels to the acre. "It was the best corn ever raised on the farm." Mr. Harris remarked.
The farm has been highly improved since it was purchased over 42 years ago. Only one building is on the property today, which was on the farm in those days. It is the house, but as the years have gone up, Mr. and Mrs. Harris have had it remodeled and kept in good repair. A spacious barn was erected which is a little higher than the average born as it measures 44 feet from its peak to the ground. Other modern farm buildings were constructed, including two brooders and a large chicken house.
Mrs. Harris tends the chickens and she has quite a job on her hands. She has 450 White Leghorns. "They haven't been laying quite as well during the past few weeks, as they should," Mrs. Harris said. "Ordinarily I get about 200 eggs a day, but at the present time the chickens are laying only about 130 a day. But the production is gaining each day." Mr. Harris has good reason to be proud of his fine heard of Brown Swiss cows. He has 25 cows - one of the finest herds in this vicinity.
After the Harris family had been located on the farm for 24 years, they moved to Postville so Roger and Ray would be able to attend Postville high school. Lloyd and his wife remained on the farm. Then five years later, when Mrs. Lloyd Harris passed away, Mr. and Mrs. Harris returned to the farm, and have resided there ever since. In addition to the Roger harris family, a daughter of Lloyd Harris, Zana Mae, makes her home with them.
During the World War, Mr. Harris decided to enlarge his holdings, so he purchased an additional 40 acres of land adjoining his property to the north. The new property included the ground on which the Bethel church was located. Mr. Harris paid $185 an acre for the property. A few years ago the Bethel church was torn down and moved to Postville where it was rebuilt.
In addition to being a good farmer, Mr. Harris has had considerable experience as a carpenter. When he and his family were located in town, he took up the trade, working for the late Geo. Schroeder. "I liked it in town," Mr. Harris explained, "but I guess we belong on the farm. We were both born and reared on farms, so we'll never feel at home any other place."
Their farm has a great many modern conveniences and after having a home light plant for many years, the Harris' decided to further modernize their property last fall by joining the REA project. When REA electricity was turned on early this year, their farm was one of the many in that vicinity to receive the new power. One unusual feature of the farm was explained by Mr. Harris. "Until three years ago we didn't have a windmill." he stated. "I had a well drilled 38 years ago, but for 15 years it wasn't used. We pumped by hand, but the main source of our water supply came from a spring below the farm. A ram was installed which pumped water to a cistern above the house by the well. When the spring started drying up in the fall each year we had considerable trouble getting water. I had a windmill erected three years ago, so the problem is solved now.
Mr. and Mrs. Harris have six grandchildren. The boy and girl of Mr. and Mrs. Roger Harris, Zana Mae Harris, Boyd and Bruce, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Harris of Cedar Rapids and Ramona, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Harris of Louisville. Mr. Harris has two sisters, Mrs. Richard Folsom and Mrs. A.W. Swenson. Mrs. Harris has eight brothers and a sister: Loney Folsom of Osage, Lee Folsom of near Postville, William Folsom of Dubuque, Richard Folsom of Postville, Melbert Folsom of Sauk Rapids, Minn., Austin Folsom of Waukon, Mrs. Earl Hammel of Frankville, Gilbert Folsom of Postville and Milo Folsom of near Postville.
~Postville Herald, March 13, 1940
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