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Barn’s future is safe with new owners

-Messenger photo by Clayton Rye
Mary Mollenbeck stands with Joe Pitsor in front of what is now the Mollenbeck’s barn. Pitsor sold the barn and acreage to the Mollenbeck’s last year because he knew it would be in good hands.

HAMPTON – Joe Pitsor is 86 years old and last fall he sold the acreage where his barn is located to Kent and Mary Mollenbeck.

The Mollenbecks had rented the property from Pitsor for 27 years. He sold the acreage to the Mollenbecks because he knew the barn would be safe and in good hands.

The barn was built by a man whose last name was Bobst in 1869, who had bought the farmland in 1862. The barn was built for grain storage and hay. Livestock was kept outside.

The next owners were the Dohrman’s, purchasing the farm in 1913. In 1920 they moved the barn to its present location using a Heider tractor. They built eight stalls for 16 horses on the west side.

Joe Pitsor’s father, George, grew up in Fort Dodge and worked at a Fort Dodge tire store. In 1926 he was asked to run a tire store in Hampton and moved there.

George Pitsor was asked by a customer if he wanted to buy a farm in 1936. The Dohrman’s were being foreclosed. With a down payment of $1000, George Pitsor bought 160 acres for $16,000.

“He scraped the money together for the down payment,” said Joe Pitsor.

However, there was a problem. There was bad news and good news. First, the bad news.

“He doesn’t know anything about farming,” said George Pitsor’s father in law. “He’ll lose his shirt.”

Now the good news. George Pitsor’s hired man knew farming and made George Pitsor a farmer.

In 1939 the Pitsor farm made the switch from horses to a tractor.

“Dad didn’t like horses,” said Joe Pitsor.

The west side of the barn that held the horse stalls was changed to dairying with the horse stalls used for keeping calves.

Joe Pitsor recalled his earliest memories of the barn.

“I helped Dad run the separator and feed the stall calves.”

The Pitsors milked 12-16 cows year around. Joe Pitsor learned by milking one cow at a time at age 11 or 12, then a year later, he was up to three cows.

The Pitsor barn was used for hogs and chickens with 500 laying hens.

The hay mow held loose hay until the Pitsor’s bought a baler when Joe Pitsor was age 14 or 15.

When Joe Pitsor enrolled at Iowa State in the fall of 1951, his father sold the dairy herd and went to beef cattle. He had around 30 head of cross bred cows in a cow-calf operation.

The beef cattle continued until 1965 when Joe Pitsor retired. A renter used the east side of the barn for cattle.

George Pitsor passed away in 1989 in the farm house. He remained active to the end, mowing his lawn and driving.

Kent and Mary Mollenbeck both grew up on a farm. They are the parents of four children, ages 35, 30, 21, and 17 years.

“We just like being in the country,” said Mary Mollenbeck. “For years I wanted to buy it.”

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