The Wiese Farm will be honored as a Century Farm at the Kittson County Fair, Sunday, July 9.
Discussing the history of the farm were family members (l-r) Vernon Bahr, Jim Wiese, Mark Wiese and Neil Wiese.
By Linda Andersen
Why become designated as a Century Farm? “To give recognition to the establishment of the farm and acknowledge the prior generations that had a part in it,” replied Neil Wiese who, along with his brother Mark Wiese, made application for 2017 Century Farm status for the Carl Wiese Farm which originally consisted of 320 acres in Clow Township. Mark Wiese added that it’s been “nice” to keep the land in the family.
Some of Carl Wiese’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren continued to farm and buy additional land of their own in the Humboldt area, with acres purchased in 1917 remaining continuously in the family. Today, Carl’s grandson Craig and his wife, Randy, own one-half of the original parcel, while his great-grandsons Mark (Lori) and Neil (Renae) Wiese own the other half.
The Century Farm application includes some interesting information about the Wiese Farm and its first owner: Carl Wiese was born in Schonberg, Germany. He purchased the land for $38.75 an acre for a total of $12,400.00. In 1910, he married Agnes Puck, who bore four children (Ernest, Arnold, Alvin, and Winona). Agnes died from childbirth in 1920. In 1929, Carl married Alwina Bahr. Her son, Earl, also became a part of the Wiese Family and Carl later adopted him.
Several of Carl Wiese’s descendants (Mark Wiese, Neil Wiese, Jim Wiese, and Vernon Bahr) met recently at the Neil Wiese Farm to reminisce and share information about the Wiese Farm and their ancestors and families. Mark and Neil are children of Kenneth and Kathryn (Milne) Wiese and grandsons of Arnold (Violet Schwenzfeier) Wiese. Jim (Mary Spilde), whose parents were Arnold and Violet Wiese is an uncle of Mark and Neil. Vernon (Judy) is also their uncle as he is the son of Earl (Bea Hoglin) Bahr.
Family camaraderie was apparent as the four relatives reminisced and pondered the influence of earlier generations. Simple, but pleasant memories of Carl remain – the cookies and pop he offered, his blue car out in the field at harvest time, and his habit of driving places where he’d end up stuck and dependent on his sons to get him out.
They remember Carl’s second wife Alwina too, describing her as “short,” “very quiet,” “hard-working.”
A respect for the first generation of the Wiese Family in America is apparent as the four men commented on the hardships they endured. As Neil pointed out, every few years something tragic seemed to happen; Carl’s first wife died young, his eldest son died young, and Carl became ill with polio.
Jim related the story of Carl raising pigs during the depression. When it came time to sell them, he herded them to Humboldt and loaded them on a train car. As it turned out, the cost of freight was more than the amount of money he was paid for them and Carl simply ended up with a bill for freight.
The men also point out that Carl, Agnes, and their first three children lived in their granary for a time while their house was being built in Kittson County.
With the help of county history books, they offered some insights into the lives of the second generation Wiese/Bahr Americans: Ernest Wiese died in 1937 of a brain tumor.
Arnold and Violet Wiese farmed near Humboldt with Carl and his brothers, raising small grains, beef cattle, and sugar beets. They had four children: Kenneth, Katherine, Carolyn, and James.
Alvin and Virginia (Lewis) Wiese farmed with his father and brothers. Alvin had a special interest in raising registered Hereford cattle. He also was involved with the Kittson County Soil and Water Conservation Program. Alvin and Virginia had two children, Jacquelyn and Craig.
Winona, the baby who was born shortly before her mother’s death, was raised by her uncle and aunt in Iowa.
Earl and Beatrice Bahr also continued the farming tradition in the Humboldt area and served on various boards. They had three children, Janice, Vernon, and Julie. Bea is the only living member of the second generation and currently resides in Hallock.
Kenneth (Kathryn), Jim (Mary), Craig (Randy), and Vernon (Judy) Bahr continued the farming tradition in the Humboldt area, (though not all of them on the original homestead) as third generation American farmers.
Jim, Vernon, Mark, and Neil reminisced further about their parents and grandparents. They mentioned the women who not only helped with farming, but also made delicious meals, often bringing their husbands and hired hands food out in the field. They talked about the healthy aspect of eating vegetables grown in their own gardens.
The men showed old photos, observing that children appeared to be working in the harvest fields when they were quite young. The photos also show that people worked together to complete the harvest.
What has been passed on to the younger generation by preceding generations? Jim mentioned the work ethnic – “When it’s time to do it, you do it!”
Neil mentioned “paying attention to detail” and Vernon said, “Learn by your mistakes.”
The Wiese/Bahr farming tradition continues as Vernon Bahr, Mark Wiese, and Neil Wiese continue to farm today.
CARL WIESE AND SONS (l-r) Alvin, Carl, Arnold and Earl Bahr, whom he adopted when he married his second wife. This picture was taken in September of 1953. Arnold’s grandsons, Mark and Neil, along with Vernon Bahr continue to farm some of the land these brothers farmed near Humboldt, Minn. (Photo submitted) Carl Wiese drove this automobile to Kittson County and left it there over the winter. The family all returned by train in the spring of 1918. The barn and grainery were built in 1917 and the family lived in the grainery until the house was finished. (Photo submitted)