Let it be known that the Geisler Family Farm, first purchased from Joseph Dunn in 1916 by Herman Diersen, qualifies as a Century Farm. It is 240 acres in Sections 11 & 12, of Winnebago Township, in Houston County. Henry Diersen, who is Herman’s father, started farming on Jefferson Ridge with both his sons, Herman and Martin, who were farming close by. The farm’s major crops and products were dairy, beef, swine, corn, oats, and hay being raised for feed. Here is a special message shared by Bonita (Bonnie) Giesler:
“Herman Diersen, my grandfather, purchased the farm adjacent to his father’s farm, Henry Diersen, in 1916. Herman’s sons Marvin and Arlin took over his farm in 1957. Fremont, the oldest child, took over Henry’s farm. Marvin is my father. The three brothers shared haying and combining equipment until they retired from farming. I remember when I was still in high school working summers haying and driving grain wagons at both farms. Grandpa Diersen, as far as we can tell, had 160 acres to start with, and eventually the farm grew to more than 500 acres. Back before the conservation movement and erosion control, Dad would tell us that they farmed from the top of hills to the bottom, resulting in huge gullies. As we picked rock in the spring in the oat fields, Dad would tell us if we were picking native rocks or imported rocks. Not sure if he was joking, but we have seen the devastation caused by early farming, so maybe he was telling the truth, since our farm has very little flat land. They maybe had to bring in lots. Adopting contour strip practices and rotating crops helped as most of our land is classified as highly erodible.
The first building they built was the barn, started in 1916 and completed in 1917. Dad tells of a storm with high winds that made the barn lean to the east. They added a lean that was used to brace and straighten the barn. That barn is still standing today in great shape. We are amazed at all the buildings on the farm that were later added using rough sawn oak and still to this day absolutely square. We tease each other when putting in just one more nail or maybe longer nails than needed, that there is a little Marvin in each of us.
While doing the paperwork for the century farm, we found that Grandpa sold the land for the County 14 Rd that would go through the portion of the land for $1, as he really wanted a decent road to town. We think that was maybe more about New Albin than Caledonia. The next owners were Marvin Diersen and Dale (Lola) Werner in 1977, which is Herman’s son and granddaughter. Then in 1983, Dale (Lola) Werner and David Diersen owned the farm which is Herman’s granddaughter and grandson. Then in 1993, the next owner is Richard (Bonita) Giesler, which is Herman Diersen’s granddaughter. After we took over the farm at the end of 1993 from my sister and brother-in-law, we reduced the acres to 240 to help with the purchase price of the farm. In 2015, we put the farm in trust, hoping that this will help our kids and grandkids have a chance to live and work on the farm in the future. The farm was transferred to trust in 2015 with our daughter Kelly Giesler acting as trustee (great-granddaughter of Herman Diersen).”