In 1872 (99 years before this photo was taken in 1971), my Great-Grandfather, Christ Heinzeroth, immigrated from Hessen-Nassau, Germany to the United States. After living in Ohio, in 1886 he came to Hardin County, Iowa, and eventually settled in Alden township, where he established the farm you see in this photo, originally consisting of two hundred and forty acres. During his life, he built a small house in 1899 and a large barn in 1906. He erected in all eleven buildings on the place. His annual income was mainly derived from livestock, including Shorthorn cattle, Poland China hogs, along with horses and other stock.
My Grandfather, John C. Heinzeroth was born to Christ and Barbara Heinzeroth in 1901. He farmed in Iowa his entire life side by side with his brothers George and Paul Heinzeroth.
Upon his brothers' deaths, he inherited their land and farmed actively until the 1950s when he sold the farm to my father. He torn down my Great-Grandfather's house and the house you see in the photo was originally a one room school house that he purchased and moved to the land and added to. When he handed over the farm to my Dad he moved into the town of Alden and passed away in 1977. One of my earliest memories was walking back to the farm with him after he ran his Ford pickup truck out of gas.
My Father, Ervin J. Heinzeroth, spent a year in California after graduating from high school and then began working for my Grandfather.
My Father eventually formed the partnership “Heinzeroth Brothers” with his brother Merle Heinzeroth and his sister Lorainne, and her husband, Dale Hansen. In all, Heinzeroth Brothers farmed 2000 acres of corn/soybeans, maintained a 25 head cattle herd and farrow to finish 2500 head of hogs annually. The operation also maintained six John Deere combines for custom harvesting operation. Later on, Heinzeroth Brothers also owned and operated six semis to haul grain and did custom hay and crop spraying operations, employing as many as 15 employees.
My Father married Carol (Jensen) Heinzeroth (who herself was raised on a small family farm in NW Iowa) and raised six kids: Lynne, Greg, Scott, Todd, Jill, and (FINALLY) myself (Joel).
My Father ran Heinzeroth Brothers for 40 years until his death in a farm accident in 1997. At the time of his death Heinzeroth Brothers was valued at two million dollars.
The farm (recognized as a Century Farm by the State of Iowa) is still in the Heinzeroth family, now being solely owned and operated my Uncle, Merle Heinzeroth, and his son Jeff.
I would like to dedicate my family story to my parents, Ervin and Carol Heinzeroth, who gave me and my brothers and sisters such a warm and loving home. I would especially like to recognize my Brother Scott Ervin Heinzeroth and Father Ervin John Heinzeroth who both passed away in farm accidents (my Brother in 1980 when he was just 20 and my Father in 1997 when he was 62) along with my cousin Tom Heinzeroth who also died tragically on the farm shortly before he was supposed to graduate from High School.
I hope you enjoyed my family's story.
Joel C. Heinzeroth
Major, United States Army
Fort Sill Oklahoma
(AND future SW Oklahoma Rancher with my wife Codi and Daughter, Emma Carol Heinzeroth)