Old Settlers' Tales by F.F. Crevecoeur

Dr. John P. Koentz, who is a native of Holland, came to Wisconsin in September, 1849. He there practiced medicine for two and one-half years; then he went to Illinois, where he stayed three years practicing medicine. He then came to this locality in 1859, locating the farm now owned by William Valberg. Another doctor, by the name of Hubsman, came with him, and located the place where John Zabel lives. Dr. Hubsman went to Fort Riley in 1860. The two doctors had at first settled on the J.W. Garrett place before making their final choice of farms. Mr. Koentz lived in a dugout until he could build him a log cabin. His log cabin was not provided with windows immediately on its completion, as the doctor had to go to Leavenworth for the glass.

Mr. Koentz was hospital steward of the 11th Kan. cavalry in the war. In September, 1865, he married Sarah M. White, being married just across the line in Missouri. Then he moved back to his farm here, where his children were born. These were: Benjamin, who died at the age of three months; Walter, now of Denver, Colo.; Mary Louisa, who died when she was eleven months old; Alma Jane, who lived to be three years of age; Charles E., of Denver; and Christian H., of Onaga.

Mr. Koentz saw exciting times while living in Leavenworth, as he was a spectator through all the border-ruffian troubles. He saw Union men shot down in the streets of Leavenworth, in broad daylight.

John Zabel came from Prussia, in 1856, and settled in Wisconsin. From there he came to Kansas, in 1860, and worked out, until the war, when he enlisted in Co. C. of the 11th Kansas, in 1862. He homesteaded his home-place, and married Minnie Kolterman, a sister of William's, in 1866. His children are: Matilda (Mrs. Albert Kolterman); Robert, of Vienna township; Leopold, and Amelia (Mrs. Herman Tessendorf). A son, William, died, in 1869, at the age of two years. Mr. Zabel built his first house, a frame one, which he concreted. His present stone home was built in 1877. Wash Miller did the stone work, and John Weber did the carpenter work.

Charles Zabel, a brother to the above, came here with John. His wife and child, who died, accompanied him. He settled on the Schneider farm, on which he lived until 1867, when he moved to near Westmoreland. A son, Herman, and a daughter, Sophia, were born on the Schneider place. Herman lives near Westmoreland, while Sophia married John Pfaff, of Oklahoma. Charles Zabel had a concreted house. He was a carpenter by trade.

John Nye came here, with his wife, from Leavenworth, in the 60's, and went west to the Republican river soon after.

Paul Grim, who is a native of Prussia, came to the United States in 1850, settling in New York; from there he moved to Pennsylvania, the to Missouri; from there to Texas, and next he came to this locality and bought the place where he is now living, in partnership with Peter and Henry Hegener of a party, who had entered the land, but had lived in Leavenworth. Mr. Grim and Peter Hegener bought out Henry Hegener's interest, during the winter of 1861. Mr. Grim finally bought out his partner, in 1865. In September, 1862, he enlisted in the 11th Kansas. He married Sarah F. Gibson, in Olathe, October, 1865. The same year he was elected county commissioner, and elected clerk of the district court in 1867. He next served as township trustee for several terms, and was again elected to the same office, in 1874 and in 1875, when he acted as distributor of aid during those years. Mr. Grim's two oldest children are: Maggie, who died soon after being married to Will Moll, and Phena.

John Schneider came to the United States, from Germany, in 1854, and landed in Baltimore. He worked there two years, then walked all the way to St. Louis, being two months on the way. He worked in one place and another: part of the time in the hemp fields in Lafayette county, Mo. Going to Leavenworth, in 1858, he engaged himself as teamster at the fort. Soon after, he made two trips to Denver. He next joined the 1st Mo. Home Guards infantry, was taken prisoner, paroled, and discharged; and again served as teamster for the government, until the fall of 1863, when he came to Neuchatel, where he married the widow of Charles Henneberg, and lived on her farm. In 1869 he sold out to Alfred Bonjour, and bought out Charles Zable, where he made his home until recently. His daughter, Bertha, was born on the farm near Neuchatel, and John and Charles, his sons, were born on the Zable farm. In 1864 he bought six cows with calves, for $15 per headm and sold a yoke of oxen for $50. Butter he sold in Leavenworth for 5 cents per pound, while dressed pork sold, in the same market, for one and one half cents per pound.

Mrs. Schneider died a year or two ago.

Julius Teske came here from Germany in 1863. He homesteaded the place where he is living, and worked among his neighbors until 1870, when he married Miss Anna Meyer. His children are Eliza (Mrs. Ed Kolterman) and Lena (Mrs. Robert Zabel). His first house built on his farm is the present stone one.

Ferdinand Teske, brother to the above, and wife, Frederica, came here from Germany in 1869, and settled on the place where he is now living. He immediately set up a blacksmith shop and worked there at his trade, earning the money with which he improved his farm. He received a large patronage, getting work to do from a radius of twenty miles. The first year he was here he made fifty-six new plow-lays during the month of May. He earned much money at his trade, sometimes making $12 a day. The first house he built was the stone one in which he now lives.

Michael Teske, a third brother of the two named above, came here in 1870 with his wife, Louisa, and children, Herman, Minnie (Mrs. Fred Wege), and Otto E. He settled on a homestead now owned by his son, Herman. Mr. Teske died November 23, 1894, and his wife died the 25th of April, 1898.

Dorothea and Frederica Teske, sisters of the above men, came here in 1866 and made their home with their brother, Julius, until 1867, when Dorothea died and Frederica was married to Mat Glimm, of Herrington, this state.

Christian Buchholz, his wife, Augusta, and children, August, and Hannah, now Mrs. Herman Hartwick, came here from Germany in December, 1865. Mr. Buchholz settled on the place occupied by his son. He came here by boat to Atchison from St. Joe, and was brought the rest of the way by his brother-in-law, Fred Brunner, who sent after him with teams.

William Matzke, with his wife and two children, Minnie (Mrs. August Wege), and Herman, came from Germany in 1866, stopping a couple of months in Atchison before coming here. He homesteaded the place now owned by Gottfried Martin, just across the corner northeast from John Zabel. His other children born here are Robert, Louisa, and another daughter, who died when she was about 19 years of age.

Adam Mitz with his wife, Louisa, came to Illinois from Germany in 1867. He remained there but three months, coming here the same year, and homesteaded the place where he is now living. He built a frame house in 1870. His children born here are Katie (Mrs. John Berges), Lizzie (Mrs. Henry Graff), and Amelia (Mrs. Albert Kufahl).

John Wise, sr., came here from Indiana in the early 50's and pre-empted the place belonging to Mrs. Beckley, near town. He then went back to Indiana, where he died. His widow, Rosina, married Adam Beckley, with whom she came here in 1866, with her children by her first husband. These are Mary, John, Chris and Philip, and Rose, Anna (Mrs. William Moll), and Allie (Mrs. William Stevens, of Goodland, Kansas), children by her second husband. Mr. Beckley settled first on the place now owned by William Honig, then belonging to Mr. John Moll, of whom he had rented it. He built a pole shanty on this place like a corn-crib, one side being slightly higher than the other. The roof was covered with boards like a shed, and the cracks between the poles were chinked up with mud taken out of the creek. He lived here two years, when Mr. Moll gave him possession of a log house which had been built on the place. Mr. Beckly afterward built a stone house on his wife's farm, to which he and the family afterward moved. When he came out here he had shipped four horses and a wagon, having chartered a car for that purpose, which brought him as far as St. Joe, where his goods were unloaded and then reloaded into the wagon with which the rest of the journey was completed.

Isaac Spade came here, from Pennsylvania, about 1866. He took a claim, now owned by Fred Keuhl, and lived there and made improvements on the place until he could prove up on it. He was a mason by trade. He died here a few yeas ago.

Jacob Schmidt, a native of Alsace, France, served during the civil war, and came here when the war was over, and lived on one of the Hartwick farms, then belonging to F.J. Crawford. Henry Newman came here about the same time, from Ohio, and the two batched together for about two years, when Mr. Newman moved to the south part of the state. Mr. Schmidt was married to Kate Fischer in the early 70's.

Conrad Fische and his wife came here, from Missouri, about 1869 or 1870. Their children brought along were: Conrad, jr., and Henry, who were Fischer's children by a former marriage; and Kate (Mrs. Jacob Schmidt), William, Fred, who died, while in service, during the late Spanish war, Louisa, Christina (Mrs. G. Hess), and Caroline, who were the children of Mrs. Fischer by a former marriage. Caroline went to Missouri during the 70's. Louisa is living in Holton, and William went to the mountains. Mr. Fischer is a native of Switzerland. When he came here he homesteaded the farm now occupied by Michael Tessendorf. He died on the place about 1877.

William Ristow came here, from Germany, in 1868. He worked around for a while, when he married Louisa Schroeder. He homesteaded the place now owned by Ferdinand Ladwig. He lived here a number of years. His brother, August, came here from Germany, in 1871.

Dennis Kerin and his wife, Catherine, came here from Tennessee, about 1868. He settled on his farm west of town. He had one daughter, Caroline (Mrs. Dekat, of Myers Valley), when he came here, and three daughters were born after he came. Mrs. Kerin died about a year ago.

John Bucher came here in 1867 or 1868, with his mother. He homesteaded the place he still owns, while his mother homesteaded the place owned by John Kniest. Mr. Bucher came from Memphis, Tenn. His mother died at her son's home two or three years ago.

Christian Miller came from Germany to Pennsylvania in the early 40's. He stayed there three or four years, and went back to Germany, but again returned to the United States soon after. He was married to his wife, Magdalena, in Wisconsin, in the 40's. Mr. Miller was a weaver by trade and wove flowered coverlets. The looms, on which these were woven, were such that only a narrow width of the coverlets could be made at a time, necessitating the widths to be sewed together. While he was employed at this trade, in Philadelphia, he invented a loom on which a coverlet of the full width could be woven at once, for which he was promoted by his employers to take the road and solicit custom for them. While on these trips he traveled over much of the west, coming as far as St. Joe. In 1869, he came to Mill creek, settling on the place now occupied by his son, Jacob. His children who came with him are: Frank, Washington, Paulina (Mrs. Nick Hirsch, of Laclde [sic]), Christian, and Jacob. Mr. Miller died in 1898.

Carl F. Rollenhagen, his wife, Sophia, who was a sister of M.F. Hartwick, and two sons, Frank and Ferdinand, came here, from Prussia, in the spring of 1869. He lived a year with Michael Hartwick, then moved to the HermanHartwick farm, northwest of August Kolterman's, where he lived two or three years. He then bought the place where his son, Frank, is living, in Lone Tree township, of a man by the name of Kornman, who had lived on the place and had gone back east about 1860. Mr. Rollenhagen died about 1887, and his son, Ferdinand, died in the spring of 1875.

John Gurtler and his wife, Barbara, came to this country, from Bohemia, to Ohio, in 1853. He then came to this locality with his wife and children, Mrs. Mat Gurtler, of Wabaunsee county, who was married in 1872, Wesley, Peter, and Anna (Mrs. Robert Forsthoff, of Marshall county). Mr. Gurtler bought out Rev. Porr, and Evangelical minister. This is the farm where Albert Kolterman lives. His son, Peter, married Maggie Ladner, in 1876, and Wesley married Dora Schwarz soon after. Mr. Gurtler died in 1882.

Fred Honig and his wife, Wilhelmina Hartwig, came from Poverania [sic], Germany, to Chicago, in 1869. They came to this locality, in 1870, and were married in 1872. When he first came here he worked aound [sic] until he was married. In 1871, he bought his present home of a Frenchman who was living with Dr. Dockler, of Neuchatel. His three children are: William, Amelia (Mrs. Herman Abitz, of Wheaton), and Albert. There was a stone house on his farm when he bought it. Snakes had a disagreeable fashion of getting into houses then, and one day Mrs. Honig was attracted by the barking of the dog, which was under the bed, but on looking under the bed she could see nothing unusual, and thought the dog didn't know his business; he kept up his storming, and on looking closer she saw he was enraged at something which seemed to be in the bed, so she raised up the tick, and there lay a snake between the tick and a slat. He was soon dispatched.

Andrew Schwarz came to Ohio, from Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1848. He moved to Illinois, in 1852, where he was married to his wife, Dora, who was also from Germany. In 1860 he moved to Nebraska, and from there to Missouri in 1864, and in 1870 he came here and located his present home place. He built a frame house on his place, when he first came here, which has been enlarged since. His children who came here with him are: Caroline (Mrs. Daniel F. Honsted), Henry, Dora (Mrs. Wesley Gurtler), Philip, George, and Edward. Those born here are: Anna (Mrs. Frank Atwater), John, and Emma (Mrs. James Hoover).

F.C. Honstead came here from Ohio, of which state he is a native, in 1870, with his brother, John, and his sister, Sarah (Mrs. C.L. Carley, of near Westmoreland). He bought out John Nye, a farm now belonging to John Zabel. He went back to Ohio in 1872, where he got married. In 1874, he again went back to Ohio and stayed for a couple of years, having in the meantime rented his farm to his brother, Daniel. His sister was married to Mr. Carley in 1873. His brother, John, has always made his home with him. His brother, Daniel F., came here, in 1871, and made his home with his brother, F.C., until 1874, when he married Caroline Schwarz, who died the next year, so he sold out what he had, went to conference, was ordained, and took charge of a church in the western part of the state. He is now living in Brown county.

Fred Schwartzenberger came here, from St. Joe, in 1870, with his wife and a daughter. He settled on his farm, in the northwest corner of the township, where his son was born. He is now a resident of St. Joe.

William Wiler, a German, came here in 1870, alighting at Neuchatel hatless and coatless, no one knows where from, but supposed to have escaped from some penitentiary. He homesteaded the Martin farm, near town, and in 1873 sold out to Mr. Martin. Soon after coming here he married Mrs. Rosalie Brouilette, a sister to Mrs. Rev. Morel, of Neuchatel, who had come here from Illinois not long before. Mr. Wiler was one of the finest cabinet makers who ever came to the state. It is said of him that could [sic] join two boards so that it was a difficult matter to find where one board ended and the other commenced. He built the church at Neuchatel and the Pleasant Valley school house in 1871. In 1873 he had taken the contract for erecting the wooden bridge that spanned French creek between the Tom Wilson and John Nelson farms. While at work on the bridge he was arrested for stealing a horse from John Gonski, which was found at Manhattan by Christ Buchholz, John Moll, and Andrew Schwarz, where he had sold the horse to get the necessary money with which to the iron to complete the bridge. He was sent to the penitentiary for a number of years for this, and his wife moved to Neuchatel, where she lived a while with Mr. Peyrouse's family. After serving his time out he was released, but immediately stole again, and it is supposed he has been in the pen more or less ever since. He had two children, Eli and Rosa, who, with their mother, are living at Clyde, Kan. It is too bad such a genius as he should have led the life he did, but the spirit of evil was too strong in him.

Jacob Lorg, who was born in Chicago, of French parents, came to this locality from Topeka, with his wife, Delphi, and children, Lizzie, Andrew, William, and Kate, in 1871, and settled on his farm southwest of town, which he has since sold to Henry Hollister. Other children, born here, are Alice and another girl. He is now living in Oklahoma with all his family.

William Knipp and his wife, Louisa, came from Germany to Wisconsin in 1853. From there he came here in 1871, and settled on the place occupied by his son, Henry. His children, who came here with him, were: Louis F., now of Janesville, Wis.; William P., now Menominee, Mich.; Bertha (Mrs. John J. Brunner); Jacob, and Henry. John was born here. Mr. Knipp drove through with horse teams, being five weeks on the way. His sons, Louis and William, returned to Wisconsin, the former in 1872 and the latter in 1873. Mrs. Knipp died in January, 1889, and Mr. Knipp passed away in May, 1896. His son, John, died a month later.

William Berges and wife, Mina, came from Germany to Wisconsin about 1868 or 1869. From there he moved out here in 1872, with a daughter, Mina (Mrs. William Wegner). He settled on his present farm, which was bought of the railroad company. A stepbrother to Mr. Berges, Ernest Klinkert, had come out here in 1870, bought the farm which Mr. Berges owns, and sold it to the latter when he came here. Mr. Klinkert went back to Racine, Wis., after selling out. Mr. Berges' children, born to him here, are: Lizzie (Mrs. Albert Brunner, of Sherman township), Henry, and Bertha (Mrs. William F. Kufahl, of Lone Tree township).

Fred Martin and his wife, Wilhelmina Carolina, came here from Germany in 1873. Mr. Martin bought his farm of William Wiler. He had the following children when he came to Mill Creek: Gottfried, of Lone Tree township; William, of Adams creek; August, who was crippled by a hog eating his foot while a young child, having been set on the ground while his parents were at work near by; and J. Gottlieb. William married Mina Holzhutter in 1874. August lives with his brother, Gottlieb, on the old place. Mrs. Martin died in 1892, and Mr. Martin died in 1896.

August Nicklas and his wife came here from Germany in 1873 or 1874. Mrs. William Kolterman, a daughter (who is now Mrs. Berges, of Oklahoma), and son, August, jr., came with them. Another son, William, and daughters, one of which afterwards became Mrs. Fred Hartwick, and Mina (Mrs. A Lindeman), had come here in 1868. William lived a couple of years in the Hartwick house, northwest of August Kolterman's, and moved to the Tessendorf farm, on Coal creek, and his parents moved into the house which he vacated. August, jr., died on what is now the A. Lindeman farm, near August Kolterman's, in 1889. The parents moved to their son's (William) place on Coal creek, where they are still living. Mrs. Fred Hartwick died quite a number of years ago.

Adolph Lindeman came from Germany in 1872 or 1873. He married Mina Nicklas in the middle 70's, and settled on the place where he now lives.

John Weber, his wife, and children, Jacob and John, came from Illinois in 1877, and made their home in the Schneider school house that summer. He afterward removed to near Westmoreland, where he died three or four years ago.

A Mr. Buzby homesteaded the Higgs farm, near Neuchatel, in the early 70's. He had a wife and son, Elmoyne. Mr. Buzby was a shoemaker by trade. In 1875 he sold out and moved to Atchison.

A.J. Conaway, his wife, Barbara, and children, John, Anna, Brice T., James, and George, came to this locality from Valley Falls about 1869. They had come from Pennsylvania the year before. Mr. Conaway settled on a homestead now occupied by Mrs. Pauline Hartwick, where a daughter, Rosa, was born. He lived on this place seven years, when he moved to a place northeast of Wheaton. John married Charity Allen in 1877, and is now living in the west part of the county. Anna married George Hess in 1870, and died several years ago. Brice, James, and George are now in Topeka. The parents passed away quite a number of years ago, and Rosa also.

When Brice Conaway was 18 years old he started afoot for Neuchatel. There was a corner where the road turned, and when he was two or three rods away from this corner up jumped two large wolves, and they stood and looked at him for two or three minutes, and Brice did likewise, as was too brave to run and his vocal organs suddenly got out of gear, so he couldn't holler. What could he do but stand and stare at them? After a while the wolves concluded that didn't want anything for dinner, so they started to trot down the road away from Brice. Could it be that they had charmed him by their gaze? At any rate he started to follow them, but a little further on the road divided, one branch going down into the timber, which the wolves followed, while the other, which was the one he was to take to go to Neuchatel, followed on the prairie, and by this time the spell being broken, he took the prairie road instead of following the wolves into the timber, where, perhaps, the wolves were trying to lure him to make a supper of. Mrs. Mary Higgs came here from Leavenworth with her children, William, Thomas, Mary, and Kate (Mrs. Newton Dodds) in 1869. She bought out Mr. Buzby, the farm across the road south from Alcide Bonjour, where she died in 1876. William is now in Arkansas. Thomas is in Colorado. Mary died in the latter state, where she had gone with her husband, Tunis Wilson.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church was organized in 1875 by Rev. Senny, of Wamego. The charter members were: William F. Kolterman, William Knipp, J. Fred Brunkow, W.F. Brunkow, William Matzke, Fred Kufahl, Christian Buchholz, M.F. Hartwick, Fred Hartwick, Fred Keuhl, Adam Mitz, Fred Wegner, Fred Martin, and John Gonski. The first church building, the stone one now used as a parochial school building, was erected in 1876. Rev. Kramer was the first pastor.

The first school district in the German settlement was number 15, which was detached from number 14, the Vienna district. The school house, a stone building, was erected in 185. The first teacher was a lady, from Centralia, who gave up teaching, after a couple of weeks, on account of sickness. She was succeeded by a gentleman teacher by the name of Pharaoh. The school term was of three months. Among the children who attended this first term of school, were two of Keuhl's, two of Hartwick's, two of Kolterman's. There were about fifteen altogether.

District number 18 was cut off from number 15, in 1867. This is the Snyder school district. Messrs. Huffman and Leinbach built the first school building in this district, a log house, in 1867. Jim Gorman also worked on it. Miss Lucia Benton taught the first term in this district. Number 35, the Force or Bnuker [sic] Hill school district, was detached from number 18 in 1867, and a frame house

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