Claude’s mother in Section 2, Bluffton Twp. On Thanksgiving Day they started building a house and moved in on New Year’s Day, 1915. That was their home for the next 34 years. All 5 children were born there: Harley Edmund (b. 19 Jul 1915); Leonard Milton (b. 31 Mar 1918); Marie Eleanor (b. 14 May 1920) married Paul Snyder; Marion Keith (b. 8 Apr 1924); and Marvin Arthur (b. 12 May 1928). Harley died 29 Aug 1917 with burial in Burr Oak. Marion died 24 Jun 1993 with burial at Springwater Cemetery, Canoe Twp.
At the time they purchased the farm from Claude’s mother only about 7 acres had been cleared. The remainder was dense trees and brush. One could not get a horse through the iron wood trees where the house was built. Silver Creek ran nearly the length of the farm with steep hills on both sides of the creek. With horses on the grubbing machine, cables wound around a drum, and many years of work, nearly 100 acres were cleared for fields and pasture. Establishing a farm and farming through two World Wars and the Depression was difficult. They were unable to make farm payments during the Depression. The Bank sent a letter asking that all livestock and personal property be signed over as collateral. Claude said he never replied to the letter and the Bank made no effort to collect. In 1933 with hogs at 26 cents, chickens 9 cents, butter 20 cents a pound and corn at 19 cents a bushel there was little money to repay loans. By 1936 he recorded a 360% increase in the price of hogs and a 230% increase in the price of corn; but with the drought of the middle thirties, dust blocking out the sun at times and grasshoppers having stripped crops and weeds of their leaves, there was still little income. In 1935 the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) built dams and planted trees to control erosion and in 1937 the farm fields were laid out on the contour for “strip cropping." By 1940 Claude reports “he would never go back to the old way of straight plowing." In 1937 he traded the horses for a new John Deere B, a plow and corn plow. No rubber tractor tires because they would compact the soil and years later he laughed about that choice.
About 1940 the dreaded disease, hog cholera, struck and only 3 or 4 hogs survived and those were severely stunted. In rebuilding the herd he purchased registered Duroc Jerseys and in later years sold breeding stock.
In 1949 they left the farm and moved to Burr Oak. Claude sold Dekalb seed corn, Farm Bureau insurance and worked as County Assessor for the township. He was a long-time member of the IOOF. He played horseshoes and checkers and was runner-up to State champions several years. Olive was a long-time member of the Rebekah Lodge and Joan of Arc Club. They remained in their home in Burr Oak, with a large garden and flowers lining the highway, until Jan 1983 when they moved to the Aase Haugen Home in Decorah. Claude passed away 10 Mar 1983 from cancer. Olive remained in the Home confined to a wheel chair until her death 29 May 1985. Both are buried in the Burr Oak Cemetery.
Wicks, George and Elizabeth (Potter)
George and Elilzabeth Wicks
George Wicks was born 16 Jul 1831 in or near London, England (Parish of Lampert) to Benjamin and Ann (Gates) Wicks. He was the second of 9 children. His older brother William was born 26 Aug 1829 at Chapham, London, England. All other siblings were born in Pickering Twp. near Whitby/Toronto, Canada. Birth dates and locations indicate that George came to Canada as an infant with his parents and one brother. Other siblings were: Mary Ann (13 Jan 1834-10 Jan 1859); Henry (b. 22 Jan 1836); Robert (b. 1 Mar 1838); Alfred (21 Dec 1840-19 May 1869); Edward (2 Jun 1843-5 Sep 1935) burial in Burr Oak, IA; Elizabeth Jane (b. 5 Aug 1845); Elisa Clara (b. 8 Feb 1848); and Alice (b. 13 Oct 1851).
George’s father Benjamin worked as a mason. He died 29 Feb 1860 and is buried in an unnamed cemetery at the west edge of Pickering village. Mary Ann and Alfred are also buried in that cemetery. The 1861 census, the year after Benjamin’s death, lists Ann Wicks, age 54, with their son Henry as a farmer, age 25. Alfred, Edward, Jane, Clara and Alice were also listed as part of the same household.
George Wicks age 25 and Elizabeth Potter age 17 were married on 5 Jan 1859 by Congregational minister James F. Byrne of Whitby, Canada. Both gave their residence as Pickering. Elizabeth reported her birthplace as Darlinton Twp., C.W. (Canada West) and listed her parents as John N. Potter and Cibeline Craig. Witnesses were William and Lorinda Wicks. Other records located indicate Sibell Ann, wife of John N. Potter, died 2 May 1862 and is buried in Brougham Cemetery.
George and Elizabeth had 2 sons: John Nelson (b. 20 Feb 1861) and Robert Harvey (b. 6 Oct 1863). Both were born at Whitby, Canada. They moved to Burr Oak Twp., Section 34, Winneshiek Co. in 1863/65 and farmed there about 20 years. In 1870 their real estate was valued at $1,400 and personal property at $600. Shortly after 1880 the farm was listed for tax sale with taxes due of $11.27. Elizabeth’s father and his children lived on the adjoining farm to the east and it was also listed on the tax sale.
Several families from the Burr Oak area moved near Hay Springs, NE about 1890. George and Elizabeth lived
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this page was last updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2021