Introduction by Bob Gruling
During a ceremony at the Stock Pavilion at the Lincoln County Fair on Friday, July 19, Richard Hagedorn, owner of the farm located at W3651 Hillview Road in the Town of Pine River, received the Merrill Historical Society Century Farm Award. The certificate was presented by Merrill Historical Society president Bea Lebal and Century Farm committee chairman Bob Gruling.
In order to qualify for this award, the farm (in whole or part) must be in continuous family ownership for 100 years. Also, the title of the century property must be held by a blood relative of the original owner, or a legally adopted child of a descendant. Continuous residence on the property is not required, but the title to the property must be continuous. Families qualifying for the award also receive a certificate from the State and are invited to a breakfast at the State Fair.
At the ceremony, the Hagedorn family, with the help of a large display of photographs, told the audience of about 50 friends, relatives, and neighbors, about the history of their farm.
The following history about the Hagedorn Century Farm was written by Lorraine (Hagedorn) Muschinske:
The Hagedorn Century Farm
By Lorraine Muschinske – 2013
The 102-year-old Hagedorn farm owned by Richard Hagedorn and the late Dolores Hagedorn is located at W 3651 Hillview Road in the Town of Pine River.
It was in 1884 that Rudolph and Wilhelmina Hagedorn emigrated from Prussia to the United States. After arrival in Baltimore, Maryland, they traveled by train to Milwaukee, and then on to Egg Harbor in Door County. Later, they resided in Merrill until they purchased land in the Town of Pine River and established their homestead.
Rudolph and Wilhelmina had 12 children – seven girls and five boys.
On May 1, 1911, Rudolph and Wilhelmina purchased an additional 80 acres of land in Pine River from the Wisconsin River Land Company. The conveyance of the property was subject to a deed for one acre for a schoolhouse site (location of Goettchel School).
Second Generation – Arthur and Ella Hagedorn
Arthur Hagedorn was born Jan. 14, 1893 in Merrill. It was on May 13, 1925, that Rudolph and Wilhelmina transferred 40 acres to Arthur.
On June 10, 1925 he married Ella Gruetzmacher. For several years, she taught sewing at the Merrill Vocational School. Ella was foremost a true “farmer’s wife” and helpmate. She worked in the fields, milked cows, and took care of the chickens and ducks. Ella lived on the farm until Nov. 19, 1979, when she died at age 84.
Arthur and Ella had two children – Richard and Lorraine.
To prepare the land for farming, Arthur cleared it of trees, stumps, brush and stones. Being a skilled carpenter and mason, he designed and constructed the buildings on his farm – the barn in 1924, the cement block bungalow house in 1925, the machine shed and pump/milk house in 1926. The barn, house and machine shed are still in use today.
When the need arose for more land, he purchased an additional 40 acres from Herman Schleif and later 40 more acres from the Schleif estate. There were now 120 acres available to farm.
Prior to having electricity, cows were milked by hand. In 1937, a milk machine was installed and the herd was expanded to 22 cows and 18 heifers.
In the beginning, horse drawn machinery was used to do the plowing, dragging, planting and harvesting. As more acreage was acquired, more machinery supplemented horse and manual power to work the land. In 1940, a 9N Ford tractor was purchased from Mike Stevens. Today, that tractor is 73 years old and still in good running condition.
More tractor powered machinery was purchased, as well as more construction done. In 1945, Arnold Pick built a 12′ X 30′ cement silo which was later demolished in 1978 and replaced by a 14′ X 60′ Rochester silo which was taken down in 1996. The 14′ X 36′ cement silo, built in 1958, still stands today.
On March 17, 1954, Arthur and Ella purchased 39 acres from William Hagedorn.
On March 21, 1958, they sold two acres to Gerald and Lorraine (Hagedorn) Muschinske.
Arthur lived on the farm he started until May 17, 1985, when he died at age 92.
Third Generation – Richard and Dolores Hagedorn
Richard was born on Aug. 28, 1927 in Merrill. After graduating from Merrill High School, he worked on the family farm.
On May 8, 1954, he married Dolores Wegner. They had four children – Richard, Jr., Mark, Nancy and Daniel. They lived and raised their family with Arthur and Ella in the same household, sharing their skills and values and worked side by side on the family farm.
On November 5, 1958, Arthur and Ella sold 120 acres to Richard and Dolores Hagedorn.
On March 29, 1973, Arthur and Ella transferred 38 acres to Richard and Dolores. The farm was now comprised of 158 acres. In addition, they rented 115 acres which they cropped.
With more acreage, more construction took place, including a barn addition in 1971. With the barn addition, the herd was increased to 65 head (40 milk cows and 25 heifers.)
With added acreage, more machinery was purchased.
Dolores was a devoted “farmer’s wife” who helped with all the field work and farm chores. She tended her flower and vegetable gardens and spent a lot of time in food preparation and preservation.
From 1984 – 1994, Mark was a member of the farm operation. He had 11 – 13 cows and purchased two tractors, chopper box and hay wagon feeder wagon, grain elevator, back hoe and manure loader.
In 1995, Richard and Dolores discontinued milking cows and raised beef heifers until 1999. Today the land is cropped.
In 2002, Mark and Daniel purchased the 38 acre plot from Richard and Dolores.
Richard was always interested in all aspects of farming, so he and Dolores took a 17 day Farm Journal tour to Europe in August 1981. They visited a variety of selected farms in Holland, Switzerland, Germany, France and England.
Property Ownership by other Hagedorn Family members
In 2002, Richard and Dolores sold the 38 acre plot across the road from their farm house to their sons Mark and Daniel. Since then, the boys have built a house on the property and continue to crop the land. Mark and Daniel are 4th generation Hagedorns on property originally purchased by their great grandfather, Rudolph, and thus, members of the Century Farm recognition program.
In 1958, Richard’s sister, Lorraine, and her husband, Gerald Muschinske, purchased two acres of land from the same parcel and built a house on it. Thus, they, too, can claim 102 years of Century Farm/Home status on their property.
Music – A Diversion
A favorite diversion for the Hagedorn family was music, for they all were talented and gifted musicians. Arthur played button accordion and entertained at barn dances and house parties. Ella played organ at St. James Church in Pine River from 1930 – 1944.
Lorraine played organ in St. James Church from 1944 – 1951 and piano in the Dick Richin’s dance band.
Richard began playing at age 6 on a push button accordion. At age 10, he got a 48 bass piano accordion and took lessons from Professor D.C. Burkholder, the band director at Merrill High School.
At age 12, he was featured at the Merrill City Band Concert in Stange’s Park. He was recognized as Lincoln County’s youngest accordion player. At age 14, he got a 120 bass Hohner accordion and began playing with dance bands in the area.
At age 18, Richard performed in a talent show at the high school. Richard’s band, “The Dick Richin’s Band,” performed at public dances in area ballrooms and private dances for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, class reunions, and family reunions.
In 1967, Richard and his four children (Richard, Jr., Mark, Nancy and Daniel) formed a family band and performed at public and private dances. Richard, Jr., Mark, Nancy and Daniel were members of the Junior High, Senior High and City bands.
Richard gave private accordion lessons at Merrill House of Music and his home to 250+ students from 1947-1974.
Families interested in applying for this award may do so by contacting the Merrill Historical Society (715-536-5652) or Bob Gruling (715-536-4485).