The Farm That Was, and the Family That Is
An Interview with Roland & Lorraine Biser, Family Farmers
by Bernie & Linda Beall, December 2006 ©
Lorraine & Roland Biser in 2002 with their fields of soybeans.
I went with my daughter to the neat brick rambler on Route 464,
which sits with its back to Galyn Manor. We were there to interview
the original owners of Galyn Farm. They live in the
house they built in 1985 on a 1 acre lot they carved from their
farm. Across the road are the houses of their daughters, Gale
and Linda, and both of their families. Years ago, the Bisers
named their farm after their daughters. Today, we are met by a
man and his wife, full of life and energy, not at all looking like
their ages of 80 and 83.
"Tell us the history about your farm."
— Frugality, hard work, contentment
Purchased in 1947 from his father for $21,000, Mr.
Biser and his wife tell the story of the land they have farmed for
59 years. At that time, the 141 acres that became Galyn Manor
included horses, cows, hogs, chickens, ducks, guinea keets,
plus a full line of farm machinery. "My Dad offered me a loan
for an interest rate of 5%. I asked for 4%, and he agreed! Then
Lorraine and I basically spent no money for 3 years. She made
clothes from feed sacks, sold chickens and eggs, grew and
canned 200 quarts of food a year. We cut wood to heat, didn't
use the furnace, bartered for things, and in three years we had
saved enough to completely pay off that debt. Until our girls
were born in 1953 & 54, we had no running water in the house,
and no bathroom." This is the mentality that built this nation!
Frugality, hard work, contentment. "And we were happy!" says
Mr. Biser, a twinkle in his eye as he looks at Mrs. Biser.
In the early days, they farmed the land with horses, cut
lumber with axes until they purchased a chain saw, and raised
two girls in the original homestead that was located where the
south end of Sheridan Lane is now. The oldest part of the farm
house was built in 1851. It was added onto over the years, including moving and attaching a small tenant house from across
the road to the side of the original farmhouse!
"Tell us about your relationship with your wife."
— Faithfulness, team work, forgiveness
"I only got mad at her once. She was driving a four
horse team in the hayfield while I was on the wagon. She
couldn't keep on the windrow, so I yelled at her! She got down
and said, 'You drive it yourself.' I made up with her real quick
because she was my only help! She milked 9 cows a day." Indeed, Lorraine grew up on a dairy farm herself, and had said
she would never marry a dairy farmer with all that hard
work. But she did! And next July, they will celebrate their 60th
Wedding Anniversary. Amazing.
"Any stories of difficulties?"
— Integrity, perseverance
A memorable incident occurred in 1986. Mr. Biser
went to see his dentist, who had a little goat herd at his
home. Well, the dentist came into his office that morning having
just helped in the birthing of some baby goat twins. "Put on
your gloves!" said Mr. Biser. The dentist did not. Within a
week that dentist had died of brucellosis, a bacterial disease
transmitted through the goats. Mr. Biser was a pallbearer at the
funeral. Soon he took ill with the same disease. He ended up in
the hospital for forty days. Mr. Biser says, "I told the good
Lord, if He spared my life, I would not sue the dentist's estate,
even though it was a clear case of malpractice." Well, Mr. Biser
recovered and stayed true to his word. He never sued the dentist's
estate, even though he was urged to do so by lawyers. And
that bout with brucellosis affected his balance. He came home
from the hospital "on my hands and knees." To this day he has
a bit of a balance problem, but over all remains a robust and
healthy man, sharp as a tack at 83. A man of integrity, even in
the face of an opportunity to sue. How unlike our world today!
"What made you decide to sell?"
— Good business sense
"Well, a man came along and made an offer to turn our
farm into a golf course. He put some money down, then wasn’t
able to follow through. Meanwhile, we used the earnest money
to take the whole family on a vacation to Florida. Soon a second
man came along and made a serious offer. I told him it will only be a deal if you handle all the real estate people and the
builder, and not come back at me with fees." That man was a “land acquisitioner.” “He did ask that we be present at relevant
Brunswick City meetings.” A deal was made & a deal was kept.
"What was the hardest thing about selling?"
— Knowing when to let go
"It was sad to see the old house and barn go. But the
house was ridden with termites, and not really salvageable.
Even when we lived there, we shoveled out the damaged
portions of wall, and poured in concrete to try to stabilize
it. Those walls were like powder, but we still gave it a good
appearance. I had several nice pieces of furniture made from
wood from the barn, so that's here in our house now. The thing
that did bring tears to my eyes was selling my beef cattle. That
is what I loved the most. We milked cows for 33 years, then
did beef cattle for ten. We switched after I lost my balance. I
was scared to be around them after that. Then I only grew grain.
But I am proud of what my farm has become. I am proud of the
houses here in Galyn Manor. People ask me why I don't sell my
old truck. I say it's because people know my truck when I drive
around to watch construction of the houses!"
"How was Galyn Manor named?"
— The Biser family lives on
"Well, they took our suggestion that they use the name
we had used for the farm, which comes from the names of our
two daughters, Gale and Linda. And then some of the streets
are named after all four of our grandchildren. Jeffrey, Jennifer Lynne, Rick Michael, and Brad Alan." (See photos of each by
their sign.) Two children, four grandchildren, and now greatgrandchildren
are coming along. The Biser family is growing!
Concluding thoughts from the Bealls
— A little history, and some lessons for us all, as well!
We are the Beall family on Jeffrey Lane, and we
thought you might appreciate a little bit of history about the
place you now call home, so we took the time to put together
this short article. The Bisers are interesting folks, and I am sure
they have many more stories to tell. Kind of makes me think
about the stories I will tell my children and grandchildren. Will
they be stories of sacrifice, love, hard work, faithfulness and
perseverance? We hope so. That is what lives on when we are
gone. That is a legacy each of us can have.
It also makes us think about the greatest story ever
told, which like the Biser's story, is a true one! The story of the
birth of Jesus Christ, which we joyfully celebrate at Christmas.
We want to encourage you to pause from the bustle of the season,
and take some time with your family in your lovely home
in Galyn Manor, to read the original Christmas story. It is a
message of love and hope, that is fulfilled in the life, death and
resurrection of Christ. We hope this is a blessing to you and
your family, and encourages you all as you consider eternity.
If you have any questions, we would love to talk with you
more! Feel free to contact us. In fact, we host get-togethers
occasionally (planned or impromptu) where we discuss the
Bible and life issues: i.e. marriage, family, parenting, finances.
Perhaps you and your family would enjoy learning a basic overview
of what the Bible is all about. We would love to hear from
you if you are interested!
God's blessings to you this Christmas,
Bernie for the Beall family
Biser Biographical Info — M. Roland Biser, son of Eric and
Lizzie Biser, was born Aug. 25, 1923. Evelyn Lorraine Biser,
daughter of Howard and Lucille Stup was born Dec. 1,
1926. Roland and Lorraine were married July 11, 1947 at age
23 and 20. They moved to their farm Sept. 6, 1947. As a local
farmer and businessman, Mr. Biser has been President of the
Brunswick Co-op, Farmers Club, and Ruritan Club, Chairman
of Trustees of New York Hill Methodist Church, and a Director
of the Bank of Brunswick.
Our heartfelt thanks to
Roland and Lorraine for
granting us this interview!
On behalf of your many
new neighbors in Galyn
Manor, THANK YOU for
making a place for our
families to live and prosper.
Having grown up on
a dairy farm in another
part of Frederick County,
where the land is long
since sold, I am particularly
grateful! ~ BBB