There’s no place like home
RODMAN — Many will never understand the relationship between a farmer and his land. The sweat, blood, and hard work a farmer and his family put into making a living off the land and passing a legacy on from generation to generation.
Five generations have lived and worked on the farm. Today, Jason King and his family, Beth, Nolan, Braylen, and Eldon, enjoy the rural Iowa lifestyle on the family farm.
Daniel H. Fogarty and his son William P. Fogarty purchased 240 acres in Palo Alto County, Fern Valley Township, 2 miles north of Rodman, Feb. 22, 1919. They paid roughly $88.75 per acre, totaling $21,300.
William P. Fogarty and his wife Lorena (Neary), lived on the farm and raised eight children. Pigs, chickens, and cattle were also raised on the farm and fed with oats, corn, and hay that were grown. In the summer, the cattle had fresh pasture grass to graze upon, rounding out the food chain for the inhabitants of the farm.
The Fogarty family was about to get larger when William and Lorena’s son Keyron married Esteleen Schuller. Living in a small house on the same farm, Keyron and Esteleen “Esty” as most everyone knew her, raised their daughter Aletha on the same farm.
Every family has memories of visiting their grandparents; Aletha King has a slightly different memory.
“The thing I remember the most is living on the same farm as my grandparents,” King said.
The last of the original buildings was taken down last year. Some of the boards were saved to make souvenirs for the family. Livestock raised today is cattle with a cow-calf herd. Corn, beans, and hay are grown, with pastureland for grazing. The crops are mainly to sell for profit today unlike 100 years ago when crops were grown to feed livestock.
“I remember the thrashing crews,” Esty stated. “Neighboring farmers would get together and go to seven or more farms to thrash oats and the large crew always needed food.”
At that time, it was the woman’s job to feed the hungry bunch. There was no running water, so a temporary wash station was set up with a basin, water, and towel for hungry men to wash some of the grit and field dirt off before sitting at the table. According to Esty, nothing has ever equaled a threshermen’s dinner.
The grandson’s, Jon, Jason and Joe — have memories of walking beans, baling hay, showing 4-H calves and climbing the silo as youngsters.
Speaking of silos, Esty was a brave soul. Every year she would climb the silo and put a lighted tree on top for Christmas. The tree could be seen for several miles.
Later in life, Esty switched from the lighted tree on top of the silo to a lighted candle on the ladder. She continued this tradition into her 70s. She moved from the farm in 2002.
The Fogarty Century Farm will be one of the Century and Heritage Farms to be awarded the designation at the Iowa State Fair this year. On Aug. 15, during the Century Farms Ceremony, the Fogarty Century Farm will join the over 39,000 family farms that have received this designation since the program began in 1976. The program celebrates the traditions and heritage the family farms represents and upon which our state of Iowa was built.