Larimer County farm family celebrates 50th anniversary on Father’s Day
June 10, 2010
A Larimer County farm family with roots in Weld County will host an open house Father’s Day to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Meisner family farm near Wellington.
Fred and Esther Meisner were married in 1936 in Greeley and farmed in Gill, Goodrich, Brush and Kersey before moving to Wellington in 1960. Fred suffered a heart attack in 1971 and died in 1977 when he was 63. His wife died in 2006, a day before her 90th birthday.
Gail Meisner and Shirley Lorenz will host the open house from 1-5 p.m. at the farm, 10565 Larimer County Road 9. Family, friends and neighbors are invited. The special guest will be State Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud.
Fred Meisner’s parents came to the United States from Russia in 1912 and he was born in 1914. Esther Meisner’s parents also immigrated from Russia in 1900 and 1901 and she was born in 1917. They met when they were neighbors in Barnesville, northeast of Greeley. They were married in a Lutheran Church in Greeley in a traditional German wedding celebration.
They began their farming career near Kersey and raised three children, Shirley, Gene and Gail. Esther worked in the fields with Fred, both of them driving teams of draft horses until they switched to tractors. Esther milked more than 20 cows by hand twice a day and when they sold the dairy they were able to make a down payment on the Wellington farm.
Fred drove all of the farm equipment from Kersey to Wellington, a 52-mile trip, in the cold of winter. According to Gail Meisner, who researched the family’s history, several family members helped in the move that looked like a circus moving horses, cows, pigs, chickens, cats, dogs, tools and equipment, including a parakeet in a cage which sat on a stack of clothes in the backseat of the family car. Gail was a first-grader at the time of the move.
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Gail said her mother didn’t know how they would survive without the milk check from the dairy, so she continued to milk several cows and raised hogs, chickens, ducks and geese for butchering, eggs and milk. She traded eggs, milk and cream for groceries at the Wallen Grocery Store in Wellington. She also worked the fields, and raised a huge garden. Every Sunday she would host dinners for family and friends after church services at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Fort Collins.
Fred, in the meantime, built a Quonset at the farm in 1960 which is still at the farm, which is leased to Dale Sipes. Fred raised alfalfa, corn, sugar beets, pinto beans and Coors malting barley. In addition to the 160-acre family farm, he worked a number of neighborhood farms over the years and became a master at designing and repairing farm equipment.
Gail lives on the farm and is the farm’s manager and bookkeeper. She and her sister, who lives on the Lorenz Farm near Greeley, and spends her summers on the Lorenz Ranch near Cheyenne, continue to share their love of the land and showing horses.