NEGenWeb Project
Merrick County

Merrick County News


Scrapbook of Mrs. C. J. (Elizabeth) Dittmer

Assumption - that all these were published in the Clark's Enterprise ...
or the newspaper of Shelby, IOWA
None of the articles bear a publication date or name of newspaper.

Scrapbook, page 30


   Through the courtesy of F. W. Farrand we permitted to publish the following letter from W. D. Farrand in which Will gives a most interesting account of his meeting in Germany with several of our Merrick county boys. His letters are among the most comprehensive and instructive of the communications sent from abroad to the home town, and are always eagerly read by our subscribers. But we are confident that the following letter with its mention of the home boys will make a special appeal to our readers.


   Christmas in Germany! Little did I think this would be true a year ago, but here I am and I have had a very enjoyable time too. Surprised aren't you that such should be the case. Nevertheless it is so and here is the reason.
   Last Monday I took an army truck loaded with candy, cigars, cigarettes and smoking tobacco, and the boxes to hold them to the 355th at Saaiburg (sic), about 20 kilometers. south-west of Trier, (Treves in French.). This was a present form (sic) the folks at home through the Y. M. C. A. and each box contained two packs of Camels, 1 cake of milk or sweet chocolate, 2 sticks of chocolate cream candy, 1 cigar, 1 package of Velvet or P. A.
   The Y. M. C. A. with each outfit was supplied with a detail and all boxes were packed Tuesday and distributed one to every man in the 89th Division.
   Of course you know I was particularly anxious to see the 355th Inf. for in Co. E are some of the boys from home, so after turning the load over I immediately commenced hunting for the boys and while searching for their billet ran into Hansen of Archer. Phoce seemed surprised to see me over here and said that he did not know that I was on this side of the Atlantic. He is looking fine -- his smile still being the biggest part of him. He said that he was attached to headquarters in the draughting work and when I met him he had a board and blue print under his arm. Phoce directed me to Co. E, and an orderly took me over to where Dick Gleason was staying -- in a depot -- and Dick gave my hand a regular Nebraska whirlwind. I was mighty sorry to learn of his misfortune -- tough isn't it, That's when it makes us realize that we are far from home. He is not so heavy as he was on his furlough home but looking fine and healthy.
   He took me over to where Will Everett was and we three had a talk fest for a while. Everett is a whole lot heavier than when he left home and was sporting a letter that he had just received from his mother. They told me that Art Roark was a battalion runner and as he was out I did not get to see him, but the boys said he is well and working right along.

 Clint Hoagland is not with them now and they do not know whether he will return to the company or beat them to the states. Oh yes! Hansen said that Smoltz is well and enjoyed his trip into Germany --l like all did.
   Saarburg is a pretty little city, being in the valley of the Moselle river and surrounded by high hills, covered with grape vineyards. The town is divided into two parts, rather there are two cities and a most peculiar place it is too. A smaller river joines (sic) the Moselle a little below the towns and a high rocky promitory extends from the hills to the mouth of the creek. As the cities grow, and Saarburg needed room to expand, there but one place to go and that was the creek bed. So they tunneled the mountain and utilized the power and solved the problem in one stroke. They have also tunneled for traffic and a large stone bridge completes the connection between the towns.
   But the interesting thing about the city is the castle that is located on top of the promitory just mentioned. How old it is I don't know, but enough so that were it whisky it ought to be good. A greater part of it is in ruins and I greatly regretted that I did not have time to go through it, but it had commenced to grow dark when, after getting an extra Republican from Everett we started on our sixty kilometer ride back to Bittsburg.
   Yesterday morning I decided that I would see the boys in the Ammunition train, so went over to Grensdorf, where they are located. As it was about dinner time when I reached there -- a hike of 17 kilometers, I hunted for their kitchen, Co. B's and saw Ralph Perry first. Ralph is not quite so heavy as when he left home, but it certainly is no fault of the cooking. They were rejoicing over their new stove and having a little extra. John Reynolds stuck his head out of the ration truck -- you see John is just as hungry as ever -- and gave me the sign that welcomes strangers. From his appearance, his work is agreeing with him and all he asks is a chance to be sea sick. John is acting as Mess Sergeant until Joe Spires gets back to the company, and is putting across a good job of it.
   Mess call, and the first to respond was George Lehr. George is company clerk, and as he was in Central, is one of the best liked men in the company. After dinner he introduced me to one of his officers, Lt. Dreibred of Indiana, and I could easily understand why everybody in the company was contented. With officers such as he, men cannot help but respond. After dinner John, Ralph Perry and myself went over to the regimental ration dump and drew for Christmas. We also secured the Y. M. C. A. boxes for the company as well as some extra tobacco and cigaretts for the boys.
   After supper Perry decided to bake some pies for the boys and they were some pies too. You know how he bakes them and he improves by quantity. These were about 18 inches by 80. later in the evening. E. A. Gilespie came in with the truck he had

in charge. Earl seemed greatly surprised that I was here and we had a dandy talk while he was waiting for his supper.
   Earl is well and looks fine. He says that one nice thing about his job is that he never gets stiff from resting. Never complaining, nor are any of our boys complaining, and always laughing and good natured he is very popular and is wondering when we would return. Soon after Earl came Will Wetterer and his line of trucks. I had seen him before and as before we had a good visit. He is well and says all he has lost is his pipe. I believe it too.
   Instead of going home, that night John Reynolds insisted on my bunking with him and Perry so we went to their billet and talked until eleven thirty, then turned in. As I haven't heard from you since joining the division, they had a lot of news, some I was pleased to hear, others that pained me to learn. From them I learned that Will Henderson had died It almost stunned me, proving the uncertainty of our stay here, and all the boys, join me in sympathy for his family.
   This morning the boys received their boxes from the folks at home. John. Reynolds, Wetterer and Perry drew theirs, but Gillispie's and Lehrs will come later. I wish the folks could have seen the boys when they received them. They would have felt more than repaid. I had promised a chaplain to assist him in his Christmas service this afternoon so I had to return. Got home in time for our Christmas dinner, which was fine, I must say that I have spent a happy and joyous Christmas even though so far from the dear ones.




     Last Thursday at about 11:30 in Central City, Elizabeth Beck and Herman Hansen were united in marriage then went to Omaha for a short visit. This young couple have taken up their residence on the Atkinson farm. The bride was born and grew to womanhood in that vicinity and the groom formerly lived at Genoa, Nebraska. Their many friends wish them a happy prosperous married life.


   Mr. and Mrs. Fritz Dittmer are happy over the arrival of a little daughter in their home. Mrs. Dittmer was Mary West before her marriage.

Wilma (handwritten)


NOTE: Both the above couples were married in Merrick County. See records in On-Line Resources.

Scrapbook, page 31


   Malince Alice Hartwell Kokjer wife of Mr. Hans M. Kokjer was born at Allenville, Mo. August 28. 1857 and. died at her home in Clarks, Nebraska February 18, 1920, aged 62 years, 5 months and 21 days.
   At the age of 8 years she came with her parents to Clarks, Nebraska, and lived on the Junction, Ranch, where for many years she lived a pioneer life and from the example of a Godly mother she acquired for herself a beautiful Christian character, which was manifest in her whole life.
   On June 26, 1883 she was married to Hans Madson Kokjer, to which union were born five children, all of whom are living.
   During the war when a call was made for men, she was able to give three of her sons as a defense for her country. One of whom met with a serious accident in Areo Service, and is, at this time in the hospital at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio Texas. He sent the following telegram: 'Inadvisable to come. Will remember mother as she bid me goodbye in December, I am glad tonight that I lead a clean life for her. A son's love and sympathy.
   Like her Master, whom she followed, she went about doing good, especially before her illness when she cared for he aged mother, who at the age of 97 years passed away in 1916.
   Her home was always open and the latch string on the outside, which signified a hearty welcome. She loved music and for many years it was the custom for the church choir to meet in her home and before leaving, to sing her mother's favorite songs.
   As a member of The Congregational Church it was her desire to be a Christian every day and her supreme prayer was for her children to be such.
   She was a patient, I kind, loving wife and a loyal companion to her husband all these years, but when God inclined his ear

to her she whispered, "I am ready," and earth knew her no more, but Heaven was enriched by the entrance of a redeemed Child of God.
   She leaves to hold her memory sacred, a devoted husband and five children, Meta Elizabeth Key of Clarks, Ralph LeRoy of 0maha, Hans Madson Jr. of Kearney, Thomas Edgar of San Antonio, Texas, and Harold Emerson of Lincoln, three sisters, Mrs. DuBoise of Bonner Springs, Kansas,Mrs. Mary McLean and Mrs. Caroline Poland of Clarks; three brothers John and Jefferson Hartwell of Omaha and Edgar Hartwell of Clarks; six grandchildren, many relatives and friends.
   The floral offerings were many and beautiful and were distributed to the shut-ins, after the funeral as requested by the departed one.
   There was a song and prayer at the home and the sermon at the Congregational Church, Rev J. H. Kramer preaching the sermon, The Eastern Stars took charge of, the services at the grave and Rev, J. H. Kraemer closed with the benediction.



   Margaret Rebecca Tobias, the eldest daughter of David Tobias, was born at Clarks, Nebraska October 13, 1899, and died in Omaha, June 14, 1920. She leaves to sorrow her going while yet so young, an infant daughter, a father and step-mother, two brothers and sisters, one half brother and sister, and many relatives and friends.

She sought God a few weeks ago and calmly died in his love, a smile wreathing her face and a beckoning hand to those who wait a while here. Funeral services were held at the M. E. Church in Clarks, June 16, at 8 o'clock conducted by W. T. Taylor assisted by Rev. Smith, pastor at Highland View. Interment in Clarks Cemetery.


   Aerl Ickes Davies, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Davies was born at Pontiac, Illinois, May 25th, 1889 and died after a brief illness February 16, 1920, thus having reached the age of 30 years, 8, months and 19 days.
   Kind neighbors and friends did all possible, but after just a moment of consciousness, when he drew his mother to his side and uttered the beautiful word, Mother, he sank into unconsciousness to awaken in a brighter home, freed from his physical weakness.
    He was a great home boy and proved to be a companion to his parents, whose interests he always had at heart.
   On June 28th, 1918 he went to Camp Funston to take the soldier's examination but was not accepted for military service on account of delicate health.
   His smile and winsome disposition were sterling qualities which won for him many friends and tided him over hard and trying places.
   Such a boy is hard to give up, but realizing that he is at rest is a consolation to his parents. The community extends, its sympathy to Mr. and Mrs. Davies in their sad bereavement.
   Services were held at the home. Rev, J. H. Kramer preaching the sermon. Music was rendered by Corrinne Gilliard, Ivy Bump, and Mildred Kraemer. Interment took place in the Clarks cemetery.


Scrapbook, page 32




   Miss Esther Vath and Eric Carlson, both of this city, were married Saturday afternoon in Schuyler at the German church by Rev. Pett. Miss Vath is the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Vath. She is a graduate of the Schuyler High school and attended the Fremont business college. Miss Vath taught school for four years and was employed in the office of the Schuyler mills previous to when she moved here with her parents.
   The groom is a railroad man, and the young couple will make their home with the bride's parents, after a short wedding trip to Sioux City, Ia, and Casper, Wyo.





   Olga Pearl Sindt, daughter of Gus Sindt and his wife, Lizzie nee Bladt died February 28, 1919, at the home of her parents north of Shelby, and was buried in the Minden cemetery March 1, 1919, Rev. Bauman officiating at the grave. Olga Pearl was born May 12, 1917, in Pleasant township and was one year nine months. and nineteen days old at the time of her death. She leaves to mourn her early departure her bereaved parents, four sisters, Ella, Emma, Alma, Mabel and one brother, George. One sister preceeded her in death December 4, 1916 at the age of four days.
   While the mother and all the children were under the doctor's care. Olga Pearl was the only one that fell a victim to this dreaded disease. The others are as we go to press on the road to recovery.



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