P. PoppengaMr. P. Poppenga came from Illinois to Grundy county in 1879. He located in Colfax township and has been making his home there ever since. The winters in the seventies as Mr. Poppenga remembers them were the real thing. It wasn't the below zero weather of those days they were afraid of, but it was the blizzards that made it unsafe when they were coming on to be far away from home. One of these Mr. Poppenga recalls very clearly. He left home with a team and sled to get some wood. A blizzard caught him before he had been out long and the only thing he was able to tell was his right hand from his left, and at last he wasn't sure about that. When he left home his cattle yard was on the right side of the road. After he was sure he was lost in the storm he put his case up to his team. After several hours floundering around in the storm he again saw his cattle yard and this time it looked as if it was on the left side of the road. The team without a guide had turned around and found their way home.
Mr. Poppenga's first house on the prairie in Colfax township wasn't exactly a mansion, but it took the place of one. It was a box 14x10 feet, one story and no basement. This mansion was topped off with a wooden chimney with a half foot of pipe sticking out of the top. There was just one advantage in this kind of a house with a wooden chimney; when it set fire to the roof, which happened very often, they didn't have far to climb to extinguish the fire.
Mr. Poppenga recalls that one time he and his neighbor, John Schroeder, drove to Steamboat Rock to get wood. They left in the morning and were not able to get back until late the next day, owing to the numerous breakdowns they had with their home made sleds. Another time he drove to Parkersburg with a box full of potatoes and he got stuck 20 or 21 times and sold his potatoes for about as much as a sack of flour would cost now.
--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 24 January 1924, pg 1