Jeff Kruser settled on land, not far from the R. L. Goodenow ranch in Sac County, Iowa, where he drove cattle in 1876.   He was living there when he died in 1949.  He was preceded in death in 1930 by his wife and my great grandmother, Emma Goodenow.

The Kruser Farm

His Nordic vision spanned
The lay and look of land;
And there on the side of a hill,
He saw a spring, a cup to fill.

He'd seen the World Old,
In times gone by before...
A part of Europe unfold:
It's land, its sky, its shore...

He'd seen the ocean wide...
And now the World New,
And upon this Pilgrim side,
He saw his future too...

Where new land and sky
Now gathered in eye;
Here his roots would sink,
Here water came forth to drink...

Jeff Kruser was his name,
My Danish grandfather great;
Here he'd acquire a claim,
To his portion of Iowa state:

It partook of hills around
A little valley space,
Where the Indian Creek enwound,
Meandering at its pace.

Along the southern end
There grew a sloping wood
Where creek in course did bend,
And trees and bushes stood.

In places, the winding stream,
Prattled through the day,
As running by rocks in rapids,
It went upon its way...

The farm was a little east
Of where the waters divide:
Where rain a cloud released
Could fall to either side,
—And to the Missouri flow,
    Or the Mississippi go...

He made a humble abode,
A dugout aside a hill,
Above the creek that flowed
And froze in winter's chill.

A barn of wood he made,
And a cottage built there too;
He orchard had, and grove;
And grain in field he grew.

He planted a cottonwood tree
Whose limbs would lift up tall,
And dominion there decree
O'er barn with stanchion and stall.

A lowing dairy herd,
The skim of cream assured;
And I imagine that
From its creamy fat,
He butter churned,
    Yellow, like canary bird;
And milk from bucket turned
     To a whitened cheese of curd...

Alas, from misfortunes that are...
His home did burn and char!

But another house of gables four,
He built to replace the burnt before...

In time to follow, years after,
My siblings1 and I there grew;
Beneath its roof and rafter,
That gabled house we knew.

And grandpa with us dwelt,
And seasons with us felt;
We knew our ancestral Dane
With his pipe, tobacco and cane...

The year I left for navy blue,
My Grandpa Kruser left there too...
For his sun of life, in eventide,
Did set across, the great divide 2...

The farm's still there, the land,
But changes have been made;
Now siloes and other structures stand,
Upon the land,
       where once I stayed...     John Riedell

1. My brothers and sisters: Marie, Francis Joseph, Robert, Margaret, Peter, Paul, Katy, Delores, Joseph James, Mike, Tom, Jerry, Yvonne, Philip and Richard.  I had four other siblings, two lost before birth and two who died shortly afterward they were born, George and Dennis.  All of us were children of Joseph Riedell and Flotilla Frisbie Riedell.  My father was an immigrant from Austria-Hungary and my mother was an American, who grew up on the same farm as we did.
2. Reference to the land about a mile west of the farm, which divided the  waters than ran to the Missouri and the Mississippi, the great rivers bordering the east and the west of Iowa.  The farm lay on land that shed water toward the Mississippi River.   It also refers to the divide between this world and the next.


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Site Last Updated on 04/05/13