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Bartels and Crosson family receive Pioneer Family Farm Award at Dundy County Fair PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 06 August 2015 19:51


One of the highlights of the 2015 Dundy County Fair came on Thursday, July 23, when the Dundy County Ag Society presented an Ak-Sar-Ben Pioneer Family Farm Award. Dundy County Fair Board members presented the award to Bonnie and Donald Majors of  Wauneta, family members of Fred Crosson and Carl Bartels, whose farm was recognized for 100-years or more of consecutive farm ownership.

For more than 50 years, this program has honored farm families in Nebraska whose land has been owned by the same family for 100 years or more.

The history of property is as follows, reprinted from the family’s application for the award: Carl Bartels was born in DuPage County, Illinois, on July 28, 1868. His wife, Doris Fortkamp Bartels, was born in Wietzen Hanover, Germany, on Oct. 18, 1882. Carl inherited his father’s farm, that was located west of Elk Creek, Neb. He farmed there for a number of years.

Carl decided to come to southwest Nebraska to explore land for sale. The family moved from their farm home near Elk Creek after it was sold and moved to southwest Nebraska in March 1911.

The original home site was purchased on Jan. 10, 1911, from Andrew Munson, for $4,300.00. It is located in northeast Dundy County in the Ough Precinct.

Their belongings, including chickens, cattle, horses, wagons and horse drawn implements were shipped by train to Wauneta to be taken to the farm site, 19 miles north of Benkelman. The granary had been built in preparation for being lived in, while the house was in the process of being built, by Doris Bartels’, brother-in-law, Mr. Henry Winkelman. The family moved into their new home on Dec. 26, 1911.

Carl and Doris were devout Lutherans and were very pleased to learn that St. Paul’s Lutheran Church had been established in 1908, less than two miles from their new home. The Carl and Doris Bartels dwelling is now home to their great, great grandson Christopher Clay Crosson Majors, his son Kolt, and his brother Brian.

Carl and Doris, with their eight children, Arnold born 1901, Otto born 1903, Frieda born 1904, Reinhold born 1906, Alfred born 1908, Elsie born 1912, Gustav born 1915, Walter born 1918, and Reuben born 1924, worked long, hard days tilling the soil, planting crops, and harvesting; persevering through the depression and the “dirty thirties.”

The family was diligent and hardworking, continually expanding their farm by acquiring more farm ground through the years.

Frieda Bartels married Fred Crosson and their daughter Bonnie Jean Crosson was born at the home of her grandparents, Carl and Doris Bartels, on Dec. 2, 1928. Frieda died two weeks after giving birth. Bonnie was raised by her grandparents.

When she was old enough, Bonnie was included in all aspects of the farming duties, which meant working in the fields, side by side with her uncles.

After the death of her Uncle Alfred, she was given the opportunity to purchase the original home site from Alfred’s estate.

Her son James (Mick) Majors continued farming the ground, combining the acreage with the Fred Crosson farm, that was homesteaded in 1885 by Delilah Crosson, Bonnie’s great grandmother. Bonnie and her husband, Donald Majors of Wauneta, are honored to have her father (Fred Crosson) and her mothers’ (Carl Bartels) farm recognized for their 100 years or more of consecutive farm ownership.

Bonnie and Don were previously recognized in 1985 for the Delilah Crosson Homestead registered in 1885.

Elsie Bartels Becker is the last surviving daughter of Carl and Doris Bartels. She is 103 years old and resides in Wauneta.

The Pioneer Farm Awards are sponsored by the Nebraska Farm Bureau and supported by the Nebraska Association of Fair Managers. To date, more than 8,000 families in all 93 Nebraska counties have been honored. Recipients are presented both a plaque and gate post marker during the annual county fair in which the land is owned.