Five families honored for longtime ownership – Milford Times
Five area families will be honored for longevity in Seward County at the 2023 Seward County Fair.
Two families will receive the Heritage Farm Family Award from the Aksarben Foundation, and three will be recognized with the Pioneer Farm Family Award. The Heritage Award honors families who have owned the same land for at least 150 years. The Pioneer Award recognizes families who have owned the same land for 100 years.
Heritage Award – Lyon: Charles Lee Lyon was born May 10, 1846, in Illinois and fought in the Civil War from 1863-1864. In 1867, he moved to Seward County and settled on 160 acres located between Seward and Garland. On Feb. 26, 1868, he founded a homestead at what is now 2270 Waverly Road with 90 acres of tillable land, raised corn, oats and rye and had cattle and hogs. From that time, 80 acres of the homestead have been handed down through the family for four generations. After Charles Lee, his son Delbert took ownership in 1876, followed by Charles M. Lyon, Delbert’s son.
The current owners, Roger and Rod Lyon, are sons of Charles M. and took ownership in 2009. The original homestead buildings are now gone. The farm is used to rotate corn and soybeans. Miller The farm at 1525 448th Road near Utica was homesteaded in 1873 by Joseph Miller. He was a Civil War vet from Illinois who settled here after the war. Roy Miller was his son and the next owner, followed by Roy’s sons Cal and Joe Miller and finally Joe’s son Blaine and his wife Janice Miller. They are the current owners, having purchased it in 2008.
The farm, 68.95 acres today, produces corn, soybeans and sorghum. “I know my grandpa took a lot of pride in owning the land that he grew up on,” Neil Samek, another grandson, said. “They have all of the previous awards displayed in their home as well as the original homestead act document signed by President (Rutherford B.) Hayes.”
Pioneer Farm Family – Hodde: Maralee A. and John W. Meyer own 149.9 acres at 2156 Fletcher Road. The land was originally purchased by Wilhelm and Clara E. Hodde in 1884. William and Anna Hodde, the Hoddes’ son, acquired the property in 1925. In 1967, grandson Walter J. and Lois L. Hodde took ownership, and the Meyers took over in 2014. Maralee is Wilhelm and Clara’s great-granddaughter. The family grows corn and beans. “Although we are receiving the 100 year award, we discovered that our property was actually homesteaded 139 years ago in 1884,” Maralee Meyer said. “We regret that we didn’t note this until after my parents’ (Walt and Lois Hodde) death.”
Wilhelm Friedrich Hodde (1851- 1924) left Germany and arrived in New York City on Aug. 8, 1879. Clara Margaret Elizabeth Meyer (1858-1931) was also from Germany and on that same ship. They were married at Middle Creek Church, in Seward County on Aug. 13, 1879.only five days after arriving in the U.S. “I do not know exactly what brought them to Seward County,” Maralee Meyer said. “I would speculate the opportunity to homestead land as many did. Also, perhaps they were wanting to escape the economic hardship of the German leadership.” They farmed the land until 1923, when they retired to Garland. Their son, Herman Frederick Wilhelm Hodde (known as Wm) and his wife, Anna (Ficken) Hodde remained on the farm. “With our society being so mobile, we are fortunate to have our children, Darin Meyer and Kelli (Meyer) Klopfenstein and their families living nearby,” Maralee Meyer said. “Kelli’s family currently lives on this farm; Kelli and her children would be the fifth and sixth generation. Because of the longevity in ownership of this land by our family, we appreciate the current and younger generation wanting to retain the “Hodde” land. This is a nice recognition for those keeping the land in the family.”
Luebbe: Wilhelm Luebbe bought 160 acres at 1376 210th Road in 1922. His son Herbert and Irene Luebbe were the next owners, and Kathleen Young currently owns the ground. The farm grows milo, soybeans, alfalfa and hay, and the family raises cattle.
In 1868, William F. Luebbe (also called Wilhelm F.) and his wife, Sophia came to America from Germany, where they homesteaded in “H” Precinct in Seward County Nebraska. William and Sophia had six children, one of whom was also named William, or Wilhelm. William was born in 1879 in Seward County. He lived in Seward County his entire life, recognizing the opportunity to make his livelihood through farming. He and his wife, Anna, had nine children, one of whom was Herbert. In 1922, William had an opportunity to buy 160 acres which was near the original homestead. From then it passed to Herbert, and later to Kathleen Young, his daughter, and her husband Steven Young. “I would say that I feel blessed and proud to be part of a family that achieved the American Dream through faith, hard work, and a ‘never giving up attitude,’” Kathleen Young said.
Bohuslov: Frank Bohuslov purchased 80 acres five miles south of Pleasant Dale in 1920. His nephew Leonard and Florence Kraus aquired the land in 1962, and it is currently owned by Kevin and Claudia Kraus. Five acres are tillable and 75 acres are pasture ground.