Posted by Marc Kratzschmar on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 Under: Farm Life
The parlor walls were bare when we bought the farm. The old Fritz Vogt picture was missing from its place of pride for the first time since it was commissioned by George Getman in 1894. At that time the farm had already been in Getman hands for seventy years and was thriving. Vogt was an itinerant German artist who spent a few years travelling around the Mohawk Valley drawing sketches of prosperous local farmsteads in return for room, board, and, at least from wealthier patrons, actual payment.
Like virtually all of Vogt's drawings, this one shows a clean, upbeat farmstead. His genius was to use a number of perspectives to show more detail than could be seen from any one spot. Two sides of the main farmhouse are shown, including its northward ell extension. There are three outbuildings, and fenced in front and side yards. The family’s buggy is shown driving past the driveway. The New World Dutch Barn, built before the Getmans took over the farm, is not shown, perhaps because it was not modern enough.
The buggy in this old Getman photo is the same as the one in the Vogt drawing.
The farm continued to thrive under George's son, Caspar, and his son, Russell. They added a cheese factory and abattoir across the road. But Russell also worked for a local insurance firm, and his daughters, Florence and Eleanor, spent their working lives in the Beech-Nut factory down the hill in Canajoharie. They continued to live on the farm, renting fields to neighboring farmers, until they moved to a nearby retirement home, and they remained proud of its history.
Florence and Eleanor were the fifth generation of Getmans to live on the farm. They both died in 2011; Eleanor at age 95 and Florence aged 90. They are survived by many other Getmans, fellow descendants of the settlers who moved to the area after leaving Palatine in 1709. Their name lives on in the historical record because the Caspar Getman Farmstead is listed in the national register of historic places. It also lives in the memories of local people, many of them also descendants of Palatine settlers, who will always think of it as the Getman farm.
This Getman farm was the last one in the area; the passing of the Getman sisters marks the end of an important chapter in both local and family history. The next chapter for the farm is as Dutch Barn Farm, a source of naturally produced local food. This fits well with the broader story of a return to sustainable agricultural practices and greater concern about what we eat. We hope, it will also mesh well with the local story of our growing Amish community.
We couldn't afford the Fritz Vogt picture, but we have a beautiful reproduction of it on the wall of the parlor to keep the Getman farm memory vivid.
For more information about Fritz Vogt, the artist, and to see other works by him check out the collection of Frank Tosto
In : Farm Life
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