Emma Elizabeth Calderhead Foster.

History of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions online

. (page 20 of 104)
Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 20 of 104)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of "Danske i Amerika," form an interesting narrative. He writes:

The reason wliv T. P. Lund and T came to Kansas was a rumor about
a Dane named Hanson, wlio had selected a site for a colony somewhere near
Irving. This plan was ne\'er realized. I had previously enrolled in the
Scandinavian colony, organized in Chicago, which had in that spring (1869)
platted the town of Scandia in Republic county. I lost my membership fee
of twenty dollars, which I paid into that fund. We came then to Irving by
rail ; the St. Joe and Denver railroad had not then entered the county. I
was not married, but Lund had a family and we rented a small shanty. We
needed fuel and through this need received an invitation to pioneer life by
a literal baptism — an immersion in the Blue river. Friendly neighbors told
us we could take all the wood we wanted at the river, free, and we l^ought
a yoke of oxen and a wagon (which we had to have any way). Neither!
of us had any experience with this kind of "horses," but we managed to
get them hitched up and headed for the river. It was a hot day in June
and we both rode in the wagon, — who should walk when they had a wagon
of their own — but when the oxen came in sight of the water, they struck
out in a wild run and would not mind the least what we said (perhaps they
did not understand Danish). We could not get off the wagon, they went
so fast. The oxen plumped right down into the river and then we got out.
The water lifted the wagon 1)ed off and we capsized. \\'ith great exertion
we got the hind wheels to the land. The oxen brought the front gear, but
the box went with the current, and a new box cost us fifteen dollars.

TWO "real" horses.

We had several undesirable baths that summer, but they were happily
not so costly as this one, but more disagreeable.

Soon after our wood expedition we, with two Swedes, went on a twenty-
five-mile trip to look at land. We had to cross a creek that was swollen by
rain and were taken across in some kind of boat by a man who lived some-
where in the neighborhood. By the time we returned, he had got tired of
waiting and we did not know where to look for him. The boat was there.


but we did not know any more nhont a 1)<)at llian we did abont oxen, and
the consequence was we i^ot across ab\e but soaking- wet, and had to camp
over night, without anything to eat. in a little old. abandoned mill, where we
had left the team when we went across. We were traveling in style this
time — had a hired rig. consisting of an old spring wagon and two real horses.
One of the horses would not pull loads, so we had to get off and walk up
hill ; but down hill nothing but an upset could have stopped us.

When we ffnally got back to Irving one of these horse-beasts was the
cause of my not, literally speaking, taking land. It kicked me when we
unhitched, on one leg, so I was not able to walk for several days, and I had
to leave it to others, who went on the expedition to select land on Upper
Walnut creek, to pick the quarter for me that became my homestead for so
many years.

I filed on the southeast quarter of section 4, to\vnship 3, range 6, east,
and Lund filed on the adjoining west f|uarter, and we became quite busy
about making a temporary shelter. This was only an excavation into a
ravine bank, with a thatched roof of slough grass, but it was "home." and
when we got ready to move into it. we went to Irving, loaded our worldly
movables — they were not many — to take them to the claim and get straight-
ened up some, before Lund's housekeeper came with his children (Mrs. Lund
died at Irving, leaving a babe). The girl, who had accornpanied them from
the old country, volunteered to remain and care for the little baby and keep
house for us while we were getting things in some kind of shape.

There had been heavy rains and the river w^as high and there were no
wagon bridges over the rivers, except at Alarysville, wdiere there was a gov-
ernment bridge, but to get to it, we had first to cross the river. Irving being
on the west side. We were ready to postpone the trip until a friend of ours,
P. S. Lundgren, got a bright idea.


He was a shoemaker and h.ad put up his shingle as such in Irving. He
proposed that we should buy four planks, which we had good use for any-
how, and drive to the railroad "bridge; then by laying the planks on the ties
and by carrying them forward, two could push the wagon o\'er and one
could guide the oxen from the bridge with ropes and let them swim over.
And. to show his good will, he would go along and help us across. The
plan was a capital one and it worked — but it must have been by the "angels
p'uardin^ the innocents." None of us knew we liad no right to do this.


or knew at what hours trains were expected, but it gave us a shock when
a train thundered Iw just as we got the wagon safely across and down the

Lundgren went l)ack to town and we set out for our claims. Our travel-
ing on the railroad had not, in this case, hurried matters any, and darkness
overtook us in conjunction with a thunder shower, so we could not see our
guide post — a long pole with a rag on it, set up at the southeast corner of
my claim. The shower vas heavy and we liad to unhitch the oxen and seek
.'^belter un.der the wagon, but we got wet through. After the shower was
over we soon discovered we had lost the faint wagon trail and became more
and more l:ewdldered. so we concluded it best to unhitch again and await

We were chillefl in uur wet clothes, so we took them off and wrune
them *as dry as we could and did the same to a woollen blanket, we luckilv
had along, and, after dividing a pint of wdiiskey, we rolled up in the blanket
as tight as we could. I shall always lielieve here was a case wdiere whiskey
was a blessing. I think it sa^•ed me from a congestive chill or pneumonia.
We had bought it to counteract "snake bites" and for a handy house medi-
cine, as we were not well enough off to indulge a taste for liquor.

\\''hen morning broke I went to look for the oxen which had straved
during the riight and on topping a raise of ground made the discovery that,
we were within a scant mile of our dugout.


All settlers of the same vintage as ours, remember the lean years that
followed — drought and grasshoppers — Init we lived through it. Idie larger
game had gone further west beyond the Republican river, where parties
sometimes would go to get buffalo meat and hides, provided their own were
not left out there. Of a party of seven who wTnt out from Waterville, only
one returned, six having Iieen killed by Indians.

The country swarmed with prairie chickens and Lund shot several from
the house door, and could have shot many more if we had owned a reliable
gun. We had bought an old musket in order to show we were armed and
not f:t the mercy of marauders, but we could never Ije sure the hammer
would wait for us to pull the trigger and when it did, that it would hit the
percussion cap with sufficient force.

Lurd's t'\\o little boys proved to be Ijetter gamesters than their father,
as thev learned to set traps, and I have known them to catch as many as


six at one setting;'. W'c liacl prairie chicl<eiis fried, boiled and stewed and
lost our appetite for tbeni.

We then took the breasts and saked and smoked them, and in that way-
secured a splencbd meat for our cold lunches. Such would now be a
"delicatessen." but is not the onl_\' tbino- that is missed from pioneer life.
Trust and contentment abode with us then more than ever since.


We undoubtedly had more trials than the majority of new settlers
because we were pioneers in a two-fold sense, in short, "greenhorns," as all
emigrants were then called. Lund and I Ijoth came from the Duchy of
Schleswig, which the Prussians and Austrians wrested from Denmark in
1864. I had the choice in 1866 of joining the Prussian colors or going into
exile. I chose the latter and went oxer into Denmark and worked there on
well-regulated farms until 1868, \xhen 1 came to Chicago, where Lund joined
me the year after, when we then went to Kansas to start an agrarian life
from the grass roots, with a very meager stock of knowledge to draw on.

I had picked u]) some English and we could both speak some German,
so we got along fairly well in regard to language.

Several Germans came out later from Illinois and all were neighbors in
"those days. We had reason to think we had found the choicest spot on
earth. The grass (blue stem) grew thick and tall and there were any num-
ber of ponds of crystal clear water, which we supposed to be from springs,
l^ut afterwards learned v/ere only bufi'alo wallows that would go dry, which
they did the following year. Then in order to get a little hay we had to
hunt for spots of grass long enough to mov/.

We cam.e too late in the season to raise any kind of crop and I went
up to the Otoe reservation and bought a load of potatoes and cabbage. On
the way back I got lost again, of course, when it became dark and had to
stop and unhitch and then my trouble commenced in earnest. The Indians
had burned the grass and my oxen were hungry and smelled the cabbage.
I o-ave them the smallest heads and that onlv made them more insistent, and
I hr.d to walk guard around my wagon all night to save my cabbage. Xever
has ccfTee tasted so delicious as it did that morning when I reached' home


r» tJA 4 I wJW/




In the early fifties, when Kansas was in a stage of formation, Germans
in the Eastern states took a srreat interest in the contest as to whether Kansas
and Nebraska slionld be slave or free.

Democracy in 1848 led many Germans from the Fatherland to America
and their attention turned to Kansas as the battle-ground where freedom
must prevail.

Some German newspapers were estal^lished very early in Kansas. The
Kansas Zcitung, issued in Atchison in 1857, bore boldly on the front page
the title: "An organ for free speech, free soil and free men."

During the past fifty years more than sixty German newspapers have
been published in Kansas. The Kansas Staats Zcitung was published in
Marys ville in 1879 to 1881.

The federal census discloses that there has not been a county in the state
since 1880 but contains German citizens. The first German citizen to locate
in Marshall county was G. H. Hollenberg. He was followed by the Koppes,
Raemer, Friedrichs and other families; Frank Schmidt and C. F. Koester
also were among the pioneers. Settlements were made in Herkimer and in
Herkimer township ; on Horse Shoe creek and on Mission and Spring creeks.
Also along the Blue rivers from Marietta to Walnut creek and a number set-
tled in Marysville township.

In manv families there was a fierce struggle for the very necessities of
life and the older children had small chance for schooling. But even in the
most strenuous times the Germans never lost their taste for music and art
and appreciated keenly the need of education for their children. They were
strangers in a strange land and had to exert every effort to maintain a
standard of equality with the native-born and the English-speaking people of

The necessity of proper religious training for the young children soon
led to the erection of churches and maintaining the schools in connection with
them. With a family to provide for and the expense of carrying on the
farm, they vet gave of the scant store to keep alive their mother tongue and
to train their children in the faith of their fathers. As the years have passed
tlie enrollment of children of German descent in all the schools has grown,
the number of graduates lias increased and the ranks of our teachers have
been augmented and strengthened by the addition of those of German-speak-
ing parents. Many children of parents who came directly to Marshall county


from German)', li:i\e l)ecn proiiiiiicni among onr educators. The generation
of today is, of course, American.


Germans ha\e l)ecn prominent in the business Hfe of tlie county. They
have engaged in mercantile pursuits and hanking and are to be found in all
business occupations.

The Germans w lio came to Marshall county were actuated by a desire
to obtain land and to make homes. The well-watered, well-timbered county
with its fine soil offered them the opportunity. The desire to own his own
home is strong in the German. The farmer toiled early and late to acquire
his own land, and if he borrowed money it was to buy more land. The build-
ings he erected were substantial and more for endurance than for show. As
times grew easier more comfort, and cA-en elegance, was added to the home
and surroundings. Their long residence on the farms has demonstrated their
success as farmers.

The political status in Kansas suited the Germans. Here they were
free to select that political party ^^•hich most nearly represented their views,
and while th.ey have not clamored for political recognition. ^Marshall county
has been ably represented by Germans in both branches of the Legislature.
J. Weisbach. Frank Schmidt, G. H. Hollenberg, ^^"illiam Raemer, F. H.
Pralle and John Knoni have Ijeen members of that body and Hon. F. G.
Bergen is th.e present state senator from the county.

\\'hen tlie new country was in the making, the Germans who came to
Alarshall county helped \evy materially in laying the foundations for the
splendid county of today.

The German farmer possessed attril)utes that made him peculiarly
adapted to pioneer life. Honesty, industry, patience, love of children and
respect for his elders, were virtues characteristic of the German.

The pioneer German shared fully in the labor and struggle which was
necessary in liuilding up the various interests of the county and it is not too
much to say that much of the advancement in all lines of progress — educa-
tional and religious as ^^ell as in material prosperity — has been due to the
steadfast character of the Germans who constitute a large part of its citizen-

There was never an}- spirit of re\-olution or anarchy among the Germans
of Marshall county. They are peaceable, law-abiding and, in the main,


During the \\^ar ot the RebelHon they demonstrated beyond a doubt
their unswerving- loyalty to the United States. Some Germans from the
county served in the \\'ar with Spain and some are at present in the regular

It is a truth well worth considering that a man who is disloyal to his
native land vrill lack in loyalty to the land of his adoption. The lines of
lineage of many of our citizens reach far across the sea, but the flag which
has protected them for many years and which casts its folds over their homes
and firesides, v.ill receive their allegiance whenever endangered.


Rudolph and Frank Yaussi, brothers, prominent farmers and business
men of the county, take an actixe interest in furthering all eflr'orts for better
community life. They are earnest advocates of education and are Lutheran
in religious faith. Rudolph still lives on the farm, but Frank long ago became
a resident of Alarysville. He erected the fine theatre corner of Sixth and
Broadway, with store rooms beneath, and conducts a general clothing and
men's furnishing establishment. He is also a stock owner in the Citizen's
Bank of Alarysville and the Winifred State Bank, of which latter bank his
son, Albert, is cashier, and his daughter, Florence, is clerk. Mr. and Airs.
Rudolph and Frank Yaussi are musical and hospitable and the homes of each
are centers of attraction for young and old.

Nicholas Koppes is a native-born resident of the county. His father
served his country during the War of the Rebellion. He was a pioneer of
the county and "Nick," as he is called by his friends, followed the plow when
he was so small that the father had to place extra handles on the plow to
make them low enough so the bra^•e little plowman could reach them. He
has broad acres of land today and is numbered among the substantial men
of the county.

^^'illiam Schwindaman numbers a large circle of friends and was for
years the trustee of Marysville township. He manages the elevator at Hull
and he and his wife are well known and greatlv liked.

I. Dwerlkotte was one of the prosperous farmers who came direct from
the farm to take charge of the Citizens State Bank. He is a man of tine
presence and keen business acumen and is one of the representative men of
the city. His brother, F. A. Dwerlkotte, manages one of the best farms in
the vicinity of Alarysville and is one of the men who progresses with the



In March, 1876, Aug. Hohn, in partnersliip with Nicholas Kalenborn,
began his business career in Marysville in a small frame building located on
the lot where Herman Ackerman's jewelry store now stands, the firm n.ame
at that time being Hohn & Kalenborn.

In the fall of the same year Kalenborn's interest was purchased by a
Mr. Rommel and the firm continued the business under the name of Hohn
& Rommel, until Rommel's interest was acquired by E. G. Draheim in 1877,
changing the title of the firm to Hohn & Draheim. The new firm later pur-
chased the lot \\here the First National Bank now stands and built what was
then termed a modern store building. In 1891 Mr. Draheim's interest was
bought by Mr. Hohn, who conducted the business under the name of Aug.
Hohn until Alay, 1895, when Arthur Hohn, a son, was made a member of
the firm and the style of the firm was changed to Aug. Hohn & Son. I'he
firm continued the business under this name until January, 1900, when George
T. Mohrbacher was made a member of the firm and the name changed to
Aug. Hohn & Sons (Mr. Mohrbacher being a son-in-law of Mr. Aug. Hohn.)
In 1901 the firm secured their present location in which they have continued
their business up to the present time.

The business career of Mr. Aug. Hohn, the senior member of the firm,
with forty-one years of active business to his credit is worthy of notice and
is a splendid example of what thrift, honesty and square dealing will accom-


Song and story have told of the love of the Swiss for his mountain
home, yet many have left their mother country to find more remunerative
returns for their labors in other places. Having been trained in industry and
frugality, he has not looked for easy or favored positions and for that reason
most of those who came to the United States to make homes have succeeded.

The first natives of Switzerland, the Alpine republic, to take up their
abode in Marshall county were Joseph and Frank Thoman and their sister,
Mrs. George Guittard, who settled on the Vermillion north of the present
Beattie in 1856. \\'hile they came here from Alsace in France, the-Thomans
came from the canton of Basel in Switzerland, which borders on Alsace, and
where Thoman is an old and well-known name. After the War of the
Rebellion others came. H. Frauhiger settled on Mountain creek in 1866,


a few came to Waterville In 1868 with the new railroad. The Kiionis,
Waelle, Bohner, Rnffner and Ryser came in 1870-71. During this decade
many others followed to make homes near Marysville.


On December 29, 1883, the Helvetia Society of Marysville, was called
into life by vSamuel Forter. Following is a list of the first officers and mem-
bers of this organization: President, David Waelle, from Graubuenden;
secretary, Emil Forter, from St. Gallen ; treasurer, Jacob Begert, from Bern ;
director of singing, Samuel Forter, of St. Gallen. Members — Caspar
Stauffacher, Jacob Kuoni, John Bohner, Christ Ruffner, John D. Walters,
Rudolph and Gottlieb Blaser. Jacob and John Seematter, Adolph and Gott-
fried Braeuchi, Jacob and Robert WuUschleger, Jacob and Gottlieb Ruetti,
Fritz Zybach, John Bangerter. Fritz Moeri.

Of the first officers, Emil Forter is now living in Denver, Colorado,
and Samuel Forter in Marysville. David Waelle has been called to rest after
a long and useful life, and Jacob Begert, one of nature's noblemen met with
a fatal accident years ago and the community lost a real man.

For a few years this society had as many as sixty-five members; it had
a male chorus of sixteen, which took part in many of the state saengerfests,
always ranking high and winning many prizes. By January, 191 7, its mem-
bership had decreased to thirty, Ijut the male chorus is still working. During
its existence this society has paid over two thousand dollars in sick benefits to
its members.

Prof. John D. Walters, M. Sc, is without doubt the most widely known
member of this society. He was the first leader of the first brass band in
Marshall countv. For forty consecutive years he has been a member of
the faculty of the Kansas State Agricultural College, where he is now the
dean of the department of architecture and drawing. He has been the
senior member of the faculty since 1897. For years he has taken much
interest in the American Educational Association. His lectures on agri-
cultural college work have been heard all over Kansas and in many other
states. His text books on free hand and industrial drawing have been
adopted by a great many schools and colleges in the West. He has been an
active educator for more consecutive years than any other man in Kansas,
and thousands of graduates of the Kansas State Agricultural College laud
the conscientious work of Professor Walters.




Samuel I-'oiier. the founder of the society followed the business of
blacksmithin,!,'- from iJ^// to igoo. During- these years he donated much
time and eneroy in other directions. He organized the first real fire
department in Marysville and seryed as its chief until 1900; was president
of the Kansas State Firemens Association in 1898 at Chicago; was president
of the band for eighteen years, directed the singing for the Turner and
Swiss societies, taught physical culture for the Turner society for fourteen
years and took an actiye part in a great many theatricals and concerts and
lodge functions. In the fall of 1899 Congressman Calderhead took him out
of his blacksmith shop and made him his priyate secretary, which place he
filled satisfactorily for four years, during which he seryed as assistant clerk
for the postoffice and postroads committee ; also for the committee on bank-
ing and currency in the House of Representatives. In 1904 Eugene F. Ware,
United States commissioner of pensions, appointed him a "special examiner
in the field," and for seyen years he was engaged in pension work in the states
of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Colorado and parts of Missouri and Kan-
sas. From April i, 191 1, to March 15, 1915. he seryed as postmaster at
Marysville, when he was succeeded by a Democrat.

John H. Kuoni, son of Mathias Kuoni, has served the county as a mem-
ber of the Legislature, township trustee and in other capacities always with
credit to himself and benefit to his constituents.

Charles Keller has been trustee and treasurer of Franklin towuiship,
wdiere he has extensive farming interests for many years. His brother,
Gottfried Keller, laid out the town of Walkersburg. now Winifred, on a part
of his half section farm.

Jacob and John Seematter are both successful farmers, owning enough
land to give each of their numerous sons a good farm.

Jacob and Robert Wullschleger followed the business of carpenters and
builders for many years ; then they took to the farm, where they have been
amply rewarded for their industry and good management.

Rudolph and Frank ^^aussi have been prominent members of the Hel-
vetia society. Their sketch will be found elsewhere in this book.

Carl Haenni was teacher of physical culture for the Turner society for
eleven years and for fifteen years he has directed the Swiss singers and the

John Thierstein has been president of the Helvetia verein for a long


period. His steady hand has guided its welfare as successfully as it has
guided the work on his big farm near Marysville.

The treasury has been in charge of Gottfried Braeuchi for twenty years,
it could not Ije in better hands. Plenty of work and absolute integrity have
made him a general favorite, along with President Thierstein. If this Swiss

Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 20 of 104)