(Editor’s note — Four awards were presented during the Dickinson County Farm Bureau annual meeting Tuesday night at Sterl Hall. This is the first in a series of articles about county farm families who received those honors.)
Joyce Loe and Rodney and Dawn Wilson received the Dickinson County Farm Bureau Association’s Century Farm Award Tuesday during the organization’s annual meeting.
The centennial award is presented to Farm Bureau members who have owned the same farm for 100 or more years. Eligible properties must include at least 80 acres of original Kansas farmland.
Gotthilf Schlesener was the grandfather of Joyce Loe and the great-grandfather of Dawn Wilson. He was born in Prussia, Germany in 1845 and served in the German army from January 1867 to September 1869.
Upon completing his army service, he came to the United States. He traveled west by rail with his destination being Junction City where a friend was to meet him. Upon his arrival in Kansas City, he left the train and along with two men named Timm and Schmidt, set out to walk the rest of the journey. Not knowing the exact location of Junction City, they followed the railroad tracks west.
They spoke only German and had no money, so they subsisted on corn that they found growing in fields along the tracks. For safety’s sake they slept in trees. This 150-mile trip took three days. Upon arrival in Junction City, he rode with his friends to the Henry Kinderdick farm south of Woodbine along Lyons Creek.
Gotthilf worked for Kinderdick for several years. During this period, he became a U.S. citizen at the age of 26 and married Marie Weber, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Weber. Thirteen children were born to their marriage including seven surviving sons and three daughters.
Gotthilf and Marie purchased their own farm in Union Township on April 28, 1880. Currently this land is owned by their great-granddaughter Dawn and her husband Rodney Wilson. Gotthilf purchased the quarter section for $464 from the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad Co.
The first home was a limestone rock house and later a wood frame home was built on the site. Gotthilf instilled a strong work ethic in his children. His sons were kept busy picking up limestone rocks to form rock fences and a toolshed with rock walls was built on the homestead.
Farms were purchased for each of the sons within a short distance of the Schlesener homestead. When the land was transferred to the sons a copy of the deed states “for the sum of $1.00 and affection, and a life estate reserved in said land as long as both or either of (the parents) shall live and the grantee agrees to pay an annual rental fee of $60.00 and the taxes thereon each year.”
The 160-acre parcel currently owned by Joyce Loe was purchased by Gotthilf for his son John in 1897 from L.M. Warner for the sum of $1,600. Over the years the land purchased by Gotthilf Schlesener has passed through various family relatives. Joyce Loe currently farms 1040 acres of land that was Schlesener land.
Although the original home is no longer standing, Rodney and Dawn Wilson own the original Gotthilf Schlesener homesite. Milo, corn, alfalfa, oats, cover crops, wheat and livestock are some of the main products grown on both the Loe and Wilson farms.