"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Frank F. Hangartner
Although Frank F. Hangartner has not been located on his farm southwest of Postville long enough to be long to the "half a century" club, he has been identified with agriculture work in this vicinity for at least 50 years.
Mr. Hangartner was born at Paoli, Wis., on February 9, 1877, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank S. Hangertner. His parents were born in Germany where his father served with the German army during the war of 1866. He was a shoemaker by trade, but after coming to the United States he hired out as a farm hand on a Ludlow township farm. For a year or two the Hangertners lived on this farm, then they purchased a 40 acre farm in this same township. It was heavily wooded and after grubbing the timber land and living on the farm for about five years, they sold the property and moved to Myron. Here they worked on the Hall Roberts farm for 13 years.
After leaving the Roberts farm they settled on a 160 acre farm in Clermont township, Fayette county, which they had purchased. The Frank S. Hangertner family lived on the Clermont township farm for seven or eight years, finally selling the property.
They continued to live in Clermont township as they purchased a 40 acre tract, on which they were located some 12 or 13 years. They also sold this property, moving to Postville where Mr. Hangartner went back into the shoemaking trade. He worked at his trade for four or five years, then retired to spend his last years with his daughter at Ossian.
Six children were born to their union: Conrad, of Postville; Jacob and Will, who have passed away; Frank, the subject of this sketch; Elizabeth (Mrs. Wm. Kiner) of Chester, S. Dak., and Bertha Powers of Ossian.
Frank F. Hangartner lived at home until he was 20 years old. Then he decided to buy a farm of his own, so he purchased 80 acres near Postville Junction, in Clermont township. A short time later he purchased 40 additional acres of adjoining land, making his farm consist of 120 acres. Elmer Heckman is on this farm today. Mr. Hangartner added to his holdings by purchasing an adjoining farm of 233 acres. Two years later he sold 160 acres of the farm to his brother, the late Jacob Hangartner. Mrs. Jacob Hangartner continues to reside on this property.
In 1911 Mr. Hangartner bought from the late Wm. Gordon the farm he now occupies. He did not live on the property until 1914, residing on his farm near Postville Junction. With the help of a hired man he worked both farms.
Mr. Hangartner was married March 8, 1900, to Emma Miller of Postville and to their union seven children were born. They are: Harold of McGregor; Gretchen (Mrs. Roger Harris) of nar Postville; John of Los Angeles, Calif.; Frank of McGregor; Robert living at home, and Margaret of Cleveland, Ohio. One daughter passed away. On September 17, 1922, Mrs. Hangartner passed away and five years later Mr. Hangertner was united in marriage to Ella Renzman, who is well known in this vicinity, where she has always lived.
Before moving to the farm on which he is now located, Mr. Hangartner did considerable repair work on the property. In 1912 he erected a barn, which is in daily use today. He also constructed a hog house and a chicken house. In the spring of 1914 he decided to move to the property. The first thing he did was to begin work on a suitable home. He looked ahead into the future and decided to erect a substantial house, so he decided on a brick building. Workmen began laying the foundation and before the summer was over, a fine, large, seven room house was completed.
Until about 15 years ago the house was lighted with a home lighting plant, then power company officials proposed building a high line past the Hangartner place. Two of his neighbors, Fred Kuhse and Chas. Kerr were much in favor of it, so Mr. Hangartner decided to do his share in bringing the electricity to that neighborhood. "It cost each one of us about $700 but it was well worth it," he stated. "The initial cost was a little steep, but it is much better than a home plant in the long run, and cheaper, too."
Although the farm consists of only 90 acres, it is all under cultivation, with the exception of seven or eight acres (sloughs, land on which the buildings are standing, etc.) Most of the farm buildings are in excellent condition as Mr. Hangartner is that type of farmer. He believes in taking care of his property. "When I built the house in 1914, I didn't have the old house destroyed," he explained. "So, instead it was moved about 100 feet to the west, where it has been of considerable use. It is used mainly today as a chicken house, but it could be called a general all-around building since it has been used to store machinery and many other things."
The Hangartner farm is located in the extreme northwest corner of Clayton county and at one extreme point on the property it is possible to stand in four counties - Clayton, Winneshiek, Fayette and Allamakee.
Mr. Hangartner does not work the farm alone as he has his son, Robert, to do a great share of the work. "I don't do so much any more," he explained. Although he doesn't do quite as much actual work as he did in previous years, he keeps busy and superintends all work on the property. "We don't have any tractors and do all the work with horses," he said. "At the present time we have seven horses, but usually we keep only four or five." There are usually from 15 to 18 cows on the place and the Hangartners have about 100 spring pigs.
Although Mr. Hangartner has been associated with farming nearly all his life, he has the distinction of being a member of the "Famous First," baseball team of years ago. As a member of the great organization, Mr. Hangartner played in the outfield. In those days everone in Postville followed the team and took as much satisfaction in the victories as the players themselves. On one occasion the "Famous First" nine played a scheduled game before a great crowd at the West Union fairgrounds. The opposition was Waucoma, always a great rival for Postville. Because of the great rivalry, Waucoma "loaded up" for Postville. They hired "Rusty" Owen of Dubuque, the best pitcher in the Three-Eye League, to do the hurling for them.
"Hank" Koevening took the mound for Postville and for 10 innings these great pitchers fought on even terms. Neither team was able to score, brilliant fielding and great pitching cutting down batter after batter. Finally in the last half of the tenth inning, Frank Hangertner toed the plate. He caught hold of one of Owen's pitches and lined it over the third baseman's head. The left fielder came in to field the ball and Mr. Hangartner stopped after rounding first base. Then sensing that something was wrong when the fielder did not throw the ball back into the infield, he broke for second base. The ball had not been thrown back to the infield so he ran for third base, and finally dashed for home, where he scored the only run of the game to win for the "Famous Firsts."
Everyone in Postville has heard of that historic play. The ball had rolled into a gopher hole and was not found until long after Mr. Hangartner crossed the home plate.
~Postville Herald, April 24, 1940
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