March

Johan März and his wife Maria Eva Geis arrived in New York from Bavaria around 1850 and worked on farms in the Town of Newtown, in western Queens County. He soon realized that in an English-speaking world he was better off going by the literal translation of his name which is the third month of the year so he became known as John March. John and Eva had only two children: Franziska, born 1851 and Michael, born 1854.
 
In 1860, John moved his family to a newly purchased twenty-six acre farm “at a place called Dover, Town of Hempstead, lying on the northeast side of the road running from Fosters Meadow to Watts Mill.” That road is known today as Central Ave. John was a truck farmer and sold his produce in the markets of western Kings County. When Eva died in 1877, John decided to retire and sold the farm to his son for $3000.
 
Now that Michael owned his farm, he set about forming a family. His sister had already married a Fosters Meadow farmer, Alois Finn, in 1872, and they eventually had five children. Michael married Amelia Reisert from another Valley Stream farm family. They would have known each other from their involvement with St Boniface RC Church in Fosters Meadow and their attendance at the church school. They had nine children, most of whom married members of local farm families. Three of their daughters married three Rottkamp brothers while a son married a Rottkamp of a different line. Other children married members of the Hoeffner, Hoffman, Krummenacker and Pearsall families. The children of Michael’s sister, Franziska, married a Kiesel, a Kreischer and a Rottkamp.
 
Over the years, Michael purchased adjoining parcels of land as they became available enlarging the twenty-six acre farm to an eventual sixty-three acres. He also bought a small farm on Dutch Broadway in Elmont. In 1923, Michael decided to retire and sold the Central Ave. farm to oldest son Joseph for $10. His son, Fred, ran the Dutch Broadway farm. As with many retiring couples, Michael and Amelia decided to move South, but in their case, it was just over a mile south as they bought a retirement home on Corona Ave.
 
Joe and his oldest sons began running the farm but things were changing. In 1925, construction began for the Southern State Parkway and by 1927 the section in Valley Stream was opened- running right through the middle of the March farm. Working the piece south of the Parkway was relatively straight forward as that is where the house and barns were located. But there was no easy way to get equipment to the section north of the Parkway. However, they worked around this impediment until the farm was eventually sold in the 1940s.

Submitted by Paul Hoffman

pwh115@optonline.net