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

Jeffrey La"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!

Jennifer Lynne DrWe 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.

Rick Michael WayIt 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!

Brad Alan DrGod'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.

Biser FamilyOur 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