Marjory Guck’s family farm more than 100 years old
The state of Minnesota will honor the property as a Century Farm this year
By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Lawrence and Marjory (Marge) Guck’s farm in Buckman has been in her family for 111 years. Their daughter, Kathy Kahl, also of Buckman, made the decision to apply for Century Farm status with the state of Minnesota.
“It was all her idea,” said Marge.
The farm’s history begins with Reinhold Kriefall coming to Dixville to visit his sister who had married a local farmer, Herman Kuschel.
“He liked the area so well, he purchased 80 acres in 1901, where the St. John’s Lutheran Church now stands,” Marge said. “He later sold or gave some of that land for the church to be built.”
Four years later, he purchased another 80 acres.
Kriefall was born in Germany in 1857. He parents came to the United States and settled on a small farm in Wisconsin. He lived there until he was 18 years old when he and his parents bought 40 acres of land and moved to Osseo.
On the family’s 80 acres in Osseo, the Kriefalls cut wood from their land and hauled it by oxen to town and sold to the pioneer settlers of Minneapolis. They also sold hay to the Minneapolis Dray Lines and Livery Barns.
When Reinhold moved his family to Dixville, he and his wife “grubbed and broke” the land to build a log home. He later logged pine wood in an area near Hillman to build for his family the new style of frame house that was becoming popular.
Kriefall married three times. The first time was in 1879, to Emelia Shultz of Osseo. The marriage produced eight children, Anna, Wilhelm, August, Johannes, Maria, Ida, Emma and Minnie. Wilhelm, August, Johannes, Maria and Ida all died of diphtheria in March 1891. Emelia died in 1896 and Emma and Minnie, twins, died in 1899, at age 7.
Reinhold’s home was behind the church lot. When his wife and five children died, he built a new home in 1897, which is the same home that Lawrence and Marge now live in. Six years after it was built, an addition for a kitchen was added.
“When my son Jim remodeled the kitchen several years ago, he found a German newspaper from 1903,” said Marge.
Kriefall’s second wife was Marie Schmidt. They married about 1897, and had one child, Emilie. She died at age six months and Marie soon after of spinal meningitis.
“It is reported the two are buried in the same grave,” said Marge.
Kriefall’s third wife was Johanna Schultz. She came to the United States with four children after her husband died in Germany. While en route, she gave birth to twins, who died before reaching shore.
Kriefall and Johanna married in 1899, and they had six children, Heinrich, Elizabeth, Clara, Albert, Leo and Alvin (better known as Jim). It was Albert and Jim who took over the farm from their father when he was unable to continue working the land.
“After several years, Albert went to Minneapolis to work at the Art Institute,” said Marge. “Reinhold died on the farm in 1937.”
Marge said her best memory of her grandmother Johanna was receiving many colored ribbons from her before she moved to live with one of her children. She said her grandmother died when she was 6 years old, in about 1946.
Marge’s father Jim Kriefall married Ruth Kuschel in about 1939.
“Dixville should have been named Kuschelville,” said Marge. “There were so many of that family living in the area at that time. Now there is hardly anyone.”
Jim and Ruth had three children, Marge in 1940, Marlene in 1946 and Marvin in 1949.
Marge said she remembers growing up with no electricity until about 1946. She said when she married Lawrence Guck in 1962, the farm had running water, but no bathroom.
“We were still using outhouses then,” she said. “There was even a lower seat just for children.”
As a child, Marge and her siblings attended District 18 country school in Dixville. Life on the farm was hard, and the children spent a lot of time working. But, Marge said, they did play a lot of ball in the yard.
One of her jobs was to ride the grain binder. Marge would discharge the bundles of oats and rye in windrows.
“It was physical work and I would be sore after a day of that,” she said.
When not in use around the farm, the work horses would spend their days in pasture. Not completely wild, yet not used to being around people all the time, it seemed that Marge was the only one they would let near. It was her job to get the horses through the cow lane to be harnessed for work.
Marge said the family ran a dairy farm, raising Holsteins, horses, sheep, chickens, pigs and geese. The pigs were for breeding and meat, the chickens were for eggs and meat.
“I remember grandmother Johanna had a spinning wheel that she used to spin the wool from the sheep,” said Marge.
Marge graduated from Royalton High School and left the area to work in Minneapolis. She met her husband Lawrence Guck during a dance in Morrill when both she and he were home visiting family.
Lawrence grew up on a farm in the Mayhew Lake area, but when he married Marge, he was working in Minneapolis. The newly married couple made their home in the Twin Cities for a time, but Lawrence was not happy there. He always wanted to get back to farming.
In 1969, the two moved back to the Buckman area with four children, purchasing the Gangl farm across the road from Marge’s parents’ farm.
“We farmed that for four years,” said Lawrence. “I also worked out at DeZurik Foundry in Sartell while working both our farm and Jim’s farm. It was a total of about 469 acres.”
At that time, Jim was battling bone cancer and was not doing well. His body was also lacking in vitamin B12 and Marge had to give him a daily shot.
“When dad was about 15 years old, his appendix ruptured. He was rushed to Minneapolis and ended up having half his stomach removed because of the infection,” said Ruth, who thought that may be why he needed the shots.
When Jim died, the
Gucks purchased the farm from Marge’s mother, Ruth. That was in 1973. They sold the Gangl farm to help pay for it. Since then, other acreage has been sold and they have 80 acres left.
The Gucks had seven children: Kathy, Larry, Jim, Susan, Christine, Steven and Gregory. At this time, it is not known which of the children will continue the farm ownership.
Lawrence and Marge will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year.
The Century Farm program is sponsored by the Minnesota State Fair and the Minnesota Farm Bureau. It recognizes farms which have been in continuous ownership by a family for 100 years or more. Since the program began in 1976, over 8,500 farms have been added to the list.
The property must be at least 50 acres and currently be involved in agricultural production. It must have been in the family for at least 100 continuous years according to the abstract of title, land patent, original deed, county land records, court files or some other authentic land records.
For more information on the Century Farm program and how to apply, go to www.mnstatefair.org.