Business People Fall 2018 - Page 17

Family farms land for more than 150 years At the junction of a gravel road and a dirt trail, Lowenberg’s land is no longer farmed by his family. The 80 acres owned by Vernon Lowenberg’s family for 160 years is fertile land but not the family’s homestead. S TO RY A N D P H O T O S BY WINONA WHITAKER O TTUMWA – While Century Farm awards produce visions of farm moms and dads raising children and passing the family home from generation to generation, sometimes the land that has been passed down isn’t a homestead. “It’s just land,” said Vernon Lowenberg of his Century Farm in Wapello County. “Eighty acres between Highland Center and Hedrick. There’s no house on the property.” Though the family never lived on the property, the north half of the northeast quarter of Section 10, Township 73, Range 13 has been farmed by the family since the mid-1800s. Lowenberg’s great-great- grandfather, James Buckner, took title of a large portion of land in Iowa in 1852, said Lowenberg’s daughter, Karen Bienfang, as she looked through the abstract of title to the prop- erty. “In the abstract, it said that James Buckner was a private in Captain Durvey’s company,” said Bienfang. He was given the property in 1852 in gratitude for his service. Wapello County has no record of a patent to James Bucker for the northeast quar- ter of the northeast quarter. The Century Farm award counts 1858 as the first year the 80 acres was in the family. That’s the year James Buckner deeded the north half of the northeast quarter to Francis Buckner. “That’s my great-grandfather,” Lowenberg said. Francis and Elizabeth Buckner owned the land until after Elizabeth’s death. A 1909 deed refers to Buckner as a widower. At that time, Buckner deeded the 80 acres to Walter, Ralph, Lulu and Willis Lowenberg, the children of his deceased daugh- ter Emma Etta Buckner Lowenberg. In 1909, each of Francis Buckner’s daughters received 80 acres, Lowenberg said. ”The five girls each got an 80, as I remember, and my grandmother got an 80. Grandma got the 80 in question.” In 1928, Ralph’s siblings gave their interest in the land to Ralph. Following his death, Ralph’s estate deeded the land to Vernon and Deloris Lowenberg. “Mom and Dad got it in 1965,” Bienfang said. “I’ve owned it 60 years, and farmed it many years,” Lowenberg said. “We raised whatever they were raising in that period. You BUSINESS PEOPLE 17