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Zahn Recalls Farms of the 30s and 40s

Milestones Vol 29. No. 4

Russell C. Zahn is an active member of the Big Knob Antique Tractor Club, and anytime this group gets together, they usually end up talking about the way things used to be. Mel Eisenbrown knew that Russ had great recall of interesting farm facts and asked him to speak to the group after a meeting. On Nov. 15, 2002, Russ spoke to the group about the 42 active farms from the Boro of Zelienople to Sunflower Corners between the years of 1930 to 1940. As of today, there are 12 remaining that still till the land. There are also 227 buildings along this same stretch of highway.

1 . Water Zeigler operated The Lutheran Children's Home and the first tractor they purchased was a Farmall M. The Zelie Sportsman Club purchased the land on the right side of Rt. 68 and is still an active fishing club.

2. Benevue Farm is now being operated as a Bread and Breakfast.

BenVenue which means "Welcome Here"
was built in 1814 by George Henry Mueller.

3. In this same area there was another farm but the name of the owner is unknown.

4. Jim Steinbach Farm raised Belgian Horses and at one time sold to the Budweiser Co. The first tractor they used to farm with was a Farmall H.

5. Henry Steinbach and Sisters operated a farm on the opposite side of Rt. 68. Since that time it has been operated by George Teets, Art Teets, and now has been divided and is owned by Mr. Belsterling and Lawn Works Inc., a landscaping company. Massey Harris was the tractor of choice for this farm.

6. The Murphy Farm donated ground for Burry's Church and Roy Young purchased the remainder and the Custard Stand was built.

7. Bernard Farm was located down a lane in this area on the left.

8. The Ed Zinkhant Farm was sold off in lots and they went for $100.00 an acre. This also was farmed by Raymond Zahn and then sold to his son, Harold. They also farmed with a Farmall H.

9. The Forsyth Family now owns The Harry Goehring Farm. This family used the Farmall A.

10. The Oliver Wahl Farm lay on both sides of the road with the house and barn on different sides. This is now the location of Novak's Junk Yard. They used an Allis Chalmers WC to farm.

11. Henry Wahl Farm has since been owned by Roy Goehring, Ezra Rosenberger, John Pflugh, and now Flynn. An 8 N Ford did the tilling on this farm.

12. Fred Wahl had the farm on what is now Pflug Rd. The road also connected to Willabi Run Rd. They also used an Allis Chalmers WC to farm.

13. Elmer Pflug had the farm at the end of Pflug Rd. and is now the McKinney Farm.

14. Ross Coleman farmed both sides of Rt 68 and it was sold off in lots. Brethauer now lives in the farmhouse. The Allis Chalmers B was the tractor used here.

15. Tom Ault was a sheep farmer and sold the land off in lots. Terry's Trailer Sales is now located there.

16. Burns Farm was located back Burns Road and now the location of Burns Cemetery. The remainder of the farm was sold in lots.

17. Dan Smith was a teacher for over 50 years and used a single horse to do his farming.

18. Jake Smith hauled the milk for the local farmers to Beaver. His son Larry broke his back in a farming accident and later started Smith's Gun Shop. Jake also mowed the berms along Rt. 68.

19. Casper Zahn lost his hand in a gun accident and later sold part of the farm to Larry Smith, and his son Ben took over the remainder. It was later sold to Russell Zahn and Bill Kunkle, who established it as a horse farm. The McCormick 10-20 was used to farm.

20. Henry Shaffer died one morning after eating a big breakfast of buckwheat cakes. The farm was sold to Jinkins and they used the Farmall F30. It was sold to George Young and is now farmed by Ralph Young. George farmed with a Farmall H.

21. The Phillip Miller Farm and part of the Jake Smith is where the Legion has been built. Wahl's Store was not a farm, but it served as the center of the Community. It not only served as a store, but also a feed mill, saw mill, and the first telephone office with operators. In the same store six local farmers started the Farmers Building and Loan.

22. Casper Zahn Farm was established when Ben took over the big farm and Casper bought this and farmed it with one horse after the gun accident. In the farmhouse have lived the families of Freshcorn, VanRyn and now Millers.

23. Albert Lutz Farm was on both sides of Rt. 68 and now the site of the Trailer Court and the remainder sold in lots. A Massey 4-wheel tractor was used.

24. The Orchard Farm was on the left where Chuck Listen and Jr. Landis live.

25. On the Walker Farm the house was built at the point of the hill so the daughter who had TB could have the advantage of the wind and air.

26. Crawford Chaney Farm was sold in lots.

27. Sam Rosenberg Farm had ground on both sides of the road and is now the Bill Ivory Home. He used a Farmall F20.

28. Rotharts Orchard farmed both sides of the road and was sold in lots. There was also a beer joint built on this farm. He used an Allis Chalmers B.

29. Orrin Black's Farm was a chicken farm, and he had a hammer mill mounted on a car chassis to grind feed for other farmers.

30. Con Boyish was somewhat off of State Rt. 68. The L.C.B. was under the impression that he made moonshine and harassed him often.

31. Kenna Farmette is now the home of George Mengel.

32. John Rosenberger Farm was a dairy farm and also had a large orchard. Carl Young is now farming there. A Farmall. H was used.

33. Slavik Farm had some cattle but was mostly an orchard.

34. Elmer Zahn was a dairy farmer who sold the front of his farm along 68 off in lots. Carl Young now owns the farm. He used a Farmall A.

35. Young Farm was on the right of 68 and is now where Glenn Young lives. They used steam engines to farm.

36. George Rosen was a dairy farmer. The farm was later sold to Martins and is now owned by a veterinarian.

37. The Shaffer Farm was sold in lots that are now called the Shaffer Plan behind Homer Nine Heating. The farm was on both sides of Rt. 68 and John Guthermuth now lives in the old farmhouse.

38. An Unnamed Farm was back off of Rt. 68, and Vargos have built their home in the area.

39. The Sidler House was a small farm. Dave Reader moved the original farmhouse and remodeled it.

40. Spergin Rader Farm is where Beulah Church sits. Mr. Rader was also a preacher.

41. The Shaffer Chicken Farm is now the Schweinsberg farm. When Russ was a kid his family bought pullets from them.


Back in the old days, almost every farmer would raise 3 or 4 pigs for slaughter in the winter. The hams, shoulders, and bacon were hung and smoked with hickory or apple wood. Once smoked, they were laid out and covered with salt for a couple weeks to cure them. They were then placed in bags and hung in the granary until they were covered with a layer of mold. The remainder of the pig was made into sausage. It was stuffed into casings or made into patties, fried and then placed in jars for cold packing. The sausage was often served with the traditional self-rising buckwheat cakes until March or April. The hams and shoulders would be sliced and fried all summer long. The head meat and livers were made into liver pudding and also eaten with the buckwheat cakes. Since Bill Allman and Cliff Teets each had 13 children, they probably raised more than the average 4 pigs.
The average farm also had at least a dozen apple trees, and in the fall a kettle of apple butter was made. It went well with their homemade bread. Apple cider was made and stored in barrels in the cellar. The sweet cider was enjoyed by all, but after time it turned hard. Once hard, bungs were placed in the barrel and the adults enjoyed the " high" effect they received from it. If the bungs were left out of the barrel, the cider would get a "mother mase," and the cider would become vinegar. The vinegar was used for the rest of the year.
Back in thirties and forties, the auto had become a common means of travel. From 1942-1945, because of the war, the manufactures were not permitted to build new cars because the materials were needed for building war equipments. The Nash was the only car built during this time, and these were strictly for the rural mail carriers.