For 65 years, this farm near Clatonia was in the Menke family. My Second Great Grandparents, Henry & Eliza Menke, bought this farm in the spring of 1879. Henry died in 1915, and in his will (written in 1913) eleven of his children were given an equal share. Eliza lived on this farm until past her 90th birthday, and owned it until her death at 102. Six months after her death when the farm was sold, only six of Henry & Eliza's children were still living.
According to the 1885 Agriculture census, Henry grew mostly corn with some oats, wheat and a little rye and some potatoes. He raised chickens, hogs and a few cattle. In her obituary, it says that Eliza was the first in this part of the country to have a mechanical chick incubator and brooder and she was one of the first to operate a sorghum mill. She grew big flower and vegetable gardens and developed new species of fruits from seeds. All on this farm.
Their youngest son, my Great Grandfather Albert operated the farm for his mother for many years. I suspect it may have been the depression which led him to find other employment. In 1940 he was working in a rock quarry as part of the Works Progress Administration projects. My Grandpa, my Dad, my brother and also now my nephew have all followed in Henry Menke's footsteps and made their living on their own farms. Six generations of Menkes have been farming in Nebraska since 1879.