Archive for Thursday, September 21, 2006

Farm family recognized for 100 years

September 21, 2006

Midsummer, when many area cornfields were dry as a bone, Mike Oelschlaeger's corn stood rich and green.

The rains had been timed right, he said.

And quietly, as the sun was setting to the west, Oelschlaeger added, "And I prayed over it."

Oelschlaeger and his wife, Angela, live in a 116-year-old house built by his great-grandfather, Daniel Oelschlaeger.

The roster of children born in the house is long. It's the home where 18 infants were born. It's the house in which Mike Oelschlaeger's grandfather, Daniel Oelschlaeger (the second Daniel to live there, not the first) took his first breath, and decades later, his last, in the downstairs bedroom.

It is a house built and a farm established by early settlers. Christian Oelschlaeger, Mike's great-great-grandfather, bought the 240-acre original parcel in 1869, paying $720 for the purchase.

Christian never lived there, but sent his 20-year-old son, the first Daniel, the one who would build the house, to live there.

Christian told Daniel it was up to him to make the farm work, or he was finished trying to help him. Obviously, Daniel made it work.

Today, Mike and Angela, who bought the farm in 2000, are raising their three daughters, Tia, 16, Sydnee, 4, and McKinna, 3, in the home.

Mike, whose father is the late Francis Oelschlaeger (a son of the second Daniel who lived in the house), works full time in the city as a trailer mechanic at United Parcel Service. He farms. And the couple raise and sell about 10,000 quail a year.

Angela helps Mike on the farm. She has been a field editor for "Taste of Home" magazine since 1997, and she drives a bus for the Basehor-Linwood school district.

Mike and Angela are recipients of the Leavenworth County Farm Bureau's Century Farm award. To qualify, the land must have been owned by the same family for a century or more, and the present owner must be related to the original owner. To apply for the century farm award, Angela researched the farm, including Mike's family history, and wrote a paper about it.

She said it gives her a sense of connection to live in and raise their daughters in the farmhouse that has been the center of their family history.

Angela also said living on the old home place and continuing the farming operation gives her a sense of pride.

"It makes me proud of Mike that he's carried on, even though there's not as much money in it as there used to be," Angela said. "The price we get for raising corn hasn't gone up in the last 40 years, but all the expenses have gone up for Mike to continue farming. It's hard to make it, but farming is in his blood and it has been for generations before him."

That's why some former farmers now work in the city, Angela said.

"And Mike still does both," Angela added. "I'm just so proud of him."

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