Story By Otto Feuerborn
December 24, 1886
Scippo near Garnett
My grandfather, John Feuerborn and his brother, Henry Feuerborn, both came from Germany. They were both high born, born in Westfalia, Germany. They gave a steamship captain $50.00 to hide them until the ship was out from shore the 12 mile limit. He dih them in a wine cast or barrel. They arrived at New York harbor in the latter 1850's. Their sweethearts from Germany soon followed and both coupples were married in Effigham, Illinois, where the boys had planned for them to make their homes. They were carpenters by trade. So we have had three or more generations of carpenters in our family.
The two families came to Kansas in the early 1860's and settled near Garnett, where each of them homesteaded. They both proved up 160 acres each. The one quater is still in the family - occupied by grandchildren of Henry Feuerborn. Like all pioneers they to rough it - but there was a plenty of wood to burn and build with. Bevor very long they each build nice homes - one a seven room house is still occupied by the descendants. The other is a nine room house - is still occupied but not by the family.
When the brothers and their families came to Kansas, they crossed the Missouri river on a ferry at Westport Crossing near the present site of Kansas City. One of their mules nearly drowned. He got scared and partially broke loose and jumped over the side of the ferry. As she was not completely loose, he was towed along side the ferry until they landed. A mule was very valuable to people traveling.
They must have had their wagons loaded. they had all their clothes, some furniture and each of the men brought a 16 inch walking plow with wood mole-board. (Notice: Instead of the iron mole-board of today.) They kept the wood polished and dirt would roll right off of it. Plowing or breaking sod was necessary - but first the land had to be cleared of timber, before they could farm it.
My grandfather, my father's father went on to Wyoming or that area looking for "Greener Fields" leaving his wife with two small children at Garnett, for whom, he expected to return. His brother Henry and family also expected to move when John found good opportunities - but John, (my grandfather) never returned. The supposition has always been that he was killed by the Indians, as there was unrest among the Indians at the time.
An old Indian, who came through Garnett told the relatives that John was killed by the Indians. He looked up the family - when he heard of the Feuerborn family living in the area.
My father's name was Lawrence Feuerborn andmother's name was Louise Kepple Feuerborn. Her relatives had come from Luxemburg. It is not part of another countra, it is a little independent country. After they were married they lived most of their life four miles North of Garnett. Mother died when I was nine years old. I had one brother. Father raised us alone, he never remarried. He was so lost without my mother. Mother's parents took my brother. I went to his funeral, since I have lived in Nimitz Hall. His funeral was Denver, Colorado. My uncles and aunts saw to it that I had food and clothing. I was about 14 when I went on my own. On my first job I had earned $ 13.00 a month and room and board. At the end of the year I had $ 100 coming, but collected only $ 50.00 of it. It was not an 8 hour a day job either. It was from daylight until dark and sometimes before day light and sometimes after dark. There were no labor laws protecting labor those days.
I finished high school at Richmond. There were three years of high school there of four subjects y year. None of them were selective - expect latin or ancient history. I took latin. Then I worked at a creamery.
After that I went to Grand Island, Nebraska where I went to Business School for a six month course.
Jobs were hard to get as it was during the Depression which followed the Spanish ''American War. My first job was firing boilers for City Light Plant. I got $ 45.00 every two weeks, which was good wages at that time. I stayed with it about ten months.
Then I went out as a lightening rod salesman with headquaters in Eastern Kansas. I found out that it was quite a racket - but I couldn't get away from it - as we were signed up tight and they always paid us just barely enough for us to get by - so we kept staying with them in hopes of getting our wages. When I finally quit, they paid in full.
I then went to Willowdale, Kansas, were my father was located. I met a girl, Margaret Youngers, who became my wife. We started farming and lived on a ranch one mile north and three fourths mile west of Zenda for seven years. We started farming on rented land with six head of horses, and mules and horses drawn machinery, which I used for about four years, then bought one of the first tractors - a Wallace. In 1917 we bought a section 640 acres of wheat land nine miles north of Zenda. We lived there until 1926. We still farmed, but moved into to Dodge City in 1926 so the children could attend school. I tried to farm while living in town, but it didn't work out. It would have been better if we had have stayed on the farm.
I got this story from Hubert Feuerborn,
1997, Josef Thomalla
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