This 1829 treaty with the Winnebagos awarded two sections of land to Pierre Paquette, and one each to his children, Therese and Moses. Their names appear in Article V of the treaty. The land awarded to Moses, who was only one year old at the time, was Section 27 of the Town of Springfield which included our future farm.
From 1829 to 1851, Moses Paquette was the first non-native owner of our farm. Moses died in 1896, so he had died long before I was born, but I created the following letter, as though Moses were responding to a letter of introduction, loaded with questions, that I might have sent to him.
My dad had gone to town and left me in charge of the barn. I was in seventh grade and on Christmas vacation. Dad and I had cleaned the gutters together, now he was off to the mill in Middleton to grind feed for our cows. If I had been younger I would have begged to go along. On this day I was proud to stay behind and finish the morning chores by myself. I was feeling grown up.
I begin this November day the same as I begin every day now here on the farm. From my bed, I rise with the sun and walk toward the dormer window that sits high above my bedroom floor. I clutch the sill to steady myself as I step on a footstool to get this morning’s weather report. Today, I see snow blanketing our farm. My mind drifts back to that November morning years ago when I learned of the power of a single snowflake.
Growing up, I lived the life of an ardent Roman Catholic. I was predestined. All the way back to Germany, my kin had prayed in their living rooms, bedrooms, and church pews for generations. I had Jesus in my genes.
This blog is a book in the making. If you're a new visitor, read Whole Hearted - A Farm Love Story. You can also find a copy in Prologue.