"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Fred J. Panncke
Since 1883, Fred J. Panncke has been numbered among the farmers in Grand Meadow township, Clayton county. Although he was only nine years old when he came to this community, he proved to be a capable farm worker, assisting his father in the difficult tasks confronting the agriculturists of those early days. Today, at the age of 65 years, he is still actively engaged in operating his farm, four miles southeast of Postville. He has been on this same farm for 57 consecutive years.
Mr. Panncke was born on a farm near Garnavillo, August 31, 1874, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Panncke, Sr. His parents were born in Germany, emigrating to the United States in 1871. They located near Guttenberg for a time, then moved to a farm near Garnavillo where Mr. Panncke was born. "I can recall hearing my father talk about his early experiences in this country," Mr. Panncke stated. "In those days he worked as a farm hand, often receiving 50 cents a day. The most wages he ever received as a hired employee was a dollar a day."
In 1883 Fred Panncke, Sr., decided to purchase his own farm. He contacted John Kluss and bought 80 acres of land adjoining the Kluss farm. At that time Mr. Kluss was living on the farm now owned by Mrs. Will Miene, Sr. "When we took possession of our new property, we moved into a little two room cabin," Mr. Panncke continued. "Although the bulding was small, we lived in it for five or six years. There were only four in our family: father and mother, my sister, Amelia (Mrs. John Heins of Postville) and myself. In the summer time, when it was warm, we would sleep upstairs in the loft, which mother had made into a bedroom. It was too cold up there in the winter time, so we all slept downstairs." Mr. Panncke's father raised a little wheat during his first few years on the farm, but as time went on, he put in more oats, barley, corn and a little rye.
On June 2, 1909, Fred J. Panncke and Miss Carolina Kahlstorf were married at Manly, where the bride's parents were located. They made their home on the Panncke farm, where they are located today. Two children were born to their union: Harold Panncke and Ella Panncke, both of whom live at home.
The old cabin on the property was torn down in about 1889 and an "L" shaped, two story house was erected in its place. This home proved to be a very comfortable one for the Panncke family, but on February 15, 1916, the house caught on fire and within half an hour it burned to the ground. "It burned down so fast that we didn't have time to save a thing," Mrs. Panncke explained. "I didn't even have a pair of shoes to put on." But another larger and more modern home was soon erected to replace the one destroyed by fire.
A few months before the disastrous fire, Mr. Panncke's father and mother retired from the farm, moving to Postville. They lived in Postville for seven years, then as their health began to fail, they returned to the farm to spend their remaining years. Mr. Panncke passed away in 1925 and Mrs. Panncke five years later, in 1930. Mrs. Panncke's parents have both passed away, her father in 1929, and her mother just a month ago.
Ever since 1915, when his folks moved to town, Fred J. Panncke has owned the farm. In about 1893 his father had enlarged the property by buying 40 acres of land adjoining the farm on the north from Mrs. Van Dyke. A number of years ago Mr. Panncke sold 20 acres of land at the southwestern corner of the farm to the late John Leui. This small piece of property is owned today by Althea Sherman of National. So the Panncke farm consists of exacty 100 acres.
"In the many years I have been on the place," Mr. Panncke remarked, "taxes have increased rapidly." "Yes," Mrs. Panncke interrupted, "In 1909, shortly after we were married, I can remember that your father said his taxes amounted to $65 for the whole year. At that time the farm consisted of 120 acres." "Just recently I paid the taxes for the first half of this year," Mr. Panncke answered, "and it amounted to 81.10. And that is for only 100 acres."
When Mr. Panncke's father took possession of the farm in 1883, there were two straw sheds, the cabin, and a combined corn crib and granary on the property. He soon erected additional farm buildings and in 1890 built a barn, which is still in daily use. The other buildings have all been torn down and replaced. "I can remember helping build the barn," Mr. Panncke related, "when it was finished Dad figured out that it cost $800, which included the lumber, carpenter expense, paint, etc." With the exception of the barn, Mr. Panncke has put up a new set of farm buildings since he purchased the property. This includes corn crib, granary, hen house, several machine sheds, hog barn, tool shed, garage, etc.
"Dad used to work the land with a team of mules," he explained. "Although I have a team of horses, tractors do most of the work today." Mrs. Panncke called attention to two old apple trees just north of the house. "No one knows how old they are," she said, "because they were here when the Panncke's arrived." They are still bearing apples too." When REA power was turned on late in January, the Panncke house was the first to receive current.
Also living at the Panncke home are Mr. and Mrs. Panncke's son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Panncke, and their three daughters, Jane, Ruth and Mary. Harold helps his father run the farm. On April 3, Fred J. Panncke suffered a serious eye injury. He was attempting to break a rivet with a hammer and chisel, when a piece of steel hit him in the right eye. The stock on the farm includes 14 cows, 15 or 16 sows, and two horses. Mrs. Panncke says she usually raises about 50 Black Australoupe chickens.
~Postville Herald, April 17, 1940
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