HESS, GEORGE M.
1936 George M. Hess was looking for a farm to rent. His cousin, Ervin Hess, ran a bread route. One of his stops was at Barney Heffelfinger’s farm near Huntertown. Barney owned two farms and one was for rent.
George grabbed the opportunity and went to see Barney. Ervin had already told Barney that George was a good farmer. The only drawback was that George had 10 children. Barney replied, “That’s no problem, I have nine!”
So George loaded up his family and earthly goods and left the Avilla area where he and his wife Lenore lived all their lives to a small 80 acre farm north of Huntertown. When they moved, their 10 children were ranging in age from the eldest, Genevieve, 17, to the youngest, George Jr., 1 ˝ years of age.
Times were getting better after the Great Depression, but money was still scarce. The whole family would weed onions for Louie Ruderman, except George and George, Jr. George and family, besides farming, did a lot of truck farming to sell at the farmer’s market in Fort Wayne along with eggs and poultry.
There were free movies in LaOtto on Tuesday nights and in Huntertown on Friday nights, which George and his family enjoyed a great deal.
In the fall, Lenore and the older children again worked at Ruderman’s onion farm, topping onions with sheep shears and putting them in crates. What did the children do with their wages? They laid aside enough money for school books, a little spending money, and a dollar or two for Christmas gifts.
With the small farm, truck farming, and working elsewhere when something was available, George and his family made an honest living where they all enjoyed the country life.
Monday through Saturday were days of work and little play for the family, but Sunday was a day of rest. They all went to church and then came home to a big family dinner with an afternoon softball game in the cow pasture.
George farmed all those years with horses and the boys kept begging for something more modern, so one day George came chugging up the road with his first tractor; a McCormack Deering Ten-Twenty.
George and his boys could raise hogs to two hundred pounds in less time than anyone in the neighborhood.
Barney Heffelfinger decided to sell the farm, so George bought it for $9,000, raising hogs with Merton’s help those few years.
George and Lenore had six boys and four girls. From the oldest down:
Genevieve, Ruth, Richard, Eileen, Merton, Hubert, Howard, Merlyn, Lois and George, Jr.
George’s daughter Ruth dated and married Barney Heffelfinger’s son, Keith.
The family attended church in Avilla. Half of the family remained in the Allen County area their whole lives, with Howard, Merlyn, and George, Jr. still living on the home farm ground.
Descendants of George and Lenore are 46 grandchildren, 138 great-grandchildren, and 31 great-great-grandchildren.