The Generations of Thomas Pine Petznick



Thomas Pine Petznick

Notes for Joseph Kapaun

In 1906, Joseph and Annie Kapaun, along with daughter Emm a and three sons, Joseph, Frank, and myself, Ernest moved t o Alice from a farm near Portage, Wisconsin. (My parents ha d originally settled in Portage after individually immigrat ing from Germany). Two railroad cars transported our posses sions, which included 6 horses, 2 dogs, farm machinery an d household furniture. We settled southwest of Alice on 32 0 acres of land purchased for $23.00 per acre. We also rent ed 499 acres for a total of 700 acres, which we plowed an d sowed using 22 horses. The first spring my brother, Fran k and I plowed until June 17. My brother, Joe, planted th e crop, mostly flax because of the late seeding date. In 19 08, we acquired another 480 acres for $37.00 per acre.
In 1935, I purchased registered Holstein milk cows from Wis consin and built a herd of 130. I milked 75 cows, pasteuriz ed and bottled the milk and sold it in Alice, Lisbon, and E nderlin at a price of 6 cents per quart to the store an d 8 cents per quart for home delivery. In 1940, I was the p roud owner of a 4 year old cow that produced 24,255 pound s of milk and 890 pounds of butterfat (an annual state reco rd) and a yearly bull that was nominated All-American.
I also started a truck garden and orchard on the Maple Rive r southeast of Alice. The original planting included severa l hundred apple, plum, cherry and pear trees and 2 acres o f strawberries and raspberries.
In 1916, my brother, Frank and I, better known as the "Kapa un Brothers" purchased the Alice General Merchandise stor e from the Johnson brothers. We bought cream, eggs, and but ter in 5 pound jars from local farmers. On a Sunday night w e would get as much as 250 gallons of cream and 150 dozen e ggs. At that time wheat was $3.00 per bushel.
We also operated a chicken and turkey hatchery with two inc ubators that held 17,000 eggs. In the fall we bought and dr essed poultry for the holiday trade. Twenty people worked o n the day shift 'picking' and four men worked at night to p ack the poultry and load it into railroad cars. Our total s hipment, seven of eight cars pre year, went to New York. W e paid 10 cents per bird for picking. When we implemented t he use of a mechanical picker that took off all the rough f eathers, the rate was cut to 5 cents per bird and the emplo yees went on a sitdown strike for 7 cents per bird. We resp onded by discontinuing the mechanical picker and paying th e original rate of 10 cents per bird for hand picking all t he feathers. The next day the employees accepted the mechan ical picker and the lower rate.
We also had over 600 hives of bees producing only comb hone y at first. The first fall we shipped a carload to New Yor k and from there it went to London, England. After two year s, we produced only extracted honey or strained honey whic h sold for as low as $.04 per pound.
I was president of the Alice Village Board for over 20 year s. the Village Hall was built during this time using WPA la bor and federal grant for the lumber.
I was with the field Artillery during World War I, and wa s in France for seven months.
In 1929, I married Rose Kapaun. We had two children, Neal , a Catholic priest who currently has a parish at Wimbledon , North Dakota, and Ann, a registered dietitian who is empl oyed in Minneapolis, Minnesota. END


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