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Riekena Family Tree


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 1/30/2015 at 21:42:08

The Riekena Family Tree Numbers Into Hundreds

Wiard J. Riekena has compiled a very extensive history of the Riekena family. Much of the record of this family had to be obtained from relatives who are still residents of Germany. It took years of research for Mr. Riekena to trace the names of upwards of four hundred members of this family.

Their record dates back to 1739. That is 212 years. The earliest record of this family in 1739 is that of Cornelius Riekena at Twixlum, Ostfriesland, Germany. At that time all records of marriage and births were made in the Dutch language.

Church records at Twixlum have proved that the Riekena are an old and reputed family and it is certified that all Riekena descendants in Germany and America are fully related to each other.

Wiard B. Riekena Family Came Here in 1865
One branch of the Riekena family tree, Wiard B. Riekena, came to America in 1865 and they located at Steamboat Rock. Their early and later life in this country is typical of many of our early pioneers to this section of Iowa.

Wiard Riekena in his history of the Riekena family writes of their migration to this county and their experiences. The story reads:
"Wiard B. Riekena and family left Larrelt, Ostfriesland, Germany, on Sept. 13, 1865, and sailed from Hamburg on Sept. 16, 1865. They arrived in New York on Oct. 1 and in Steamboat Rock on Oct. 12, 1865.

Wiard B. Riekena was born March 8, 1807, in Twixlum, Ostfriesland, Germany, and was married to Frederika Rieken, who was born Feb. 13, 1808, in Locum Varwerk. They were married Mar. 29, 1834, and made their home in Larrelt, Germany. Mr. Riekena was an architect and cabinetmaker by trade.

To this union were born eight children--three daughters and five sons. One son died in infancy.

In the year 1865 they migrated to America, with their children: Antje and her husband Silert Van Hoorn, Frauke, Gepke, Johannes, Berend, Evert and Weert, and also did Mr. Riekena's sister, and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Jan Schlorholtz and children, Jacob, Berend, Gepke and Ockje, another daughter, Annie, was born in America; a friend of the family, Oltman Oltmanns, came with them also.

Mr. Riekena and his family landed in New York on Oct. 1, 1865, and as the trains did not go any farther than Marengo, Iowa, there they hired teams and wagons, which brought them to Steamboat Rock, where they arrived on Oct. 12, going to the home of Mr. Riekena's brother, Ryke Rykena, who came here the year before.

They bought a 160 acre farm in Shiloh township, Grundy county, where the father and sons built a house, getting their lumber from logs that they hauled to the sawmill at Hardin City. Johannes and Berend followed the carpenter trade. They built the first East Friesland church, out of native timber which was donated by the farmers. Weert, the youngest son, went in business; he had a grocery and dry good store in Steamboat Rock for several years. Evert remained on the farm. The married daughter and her husband, Eilert Van Hoorn, built a home on their parents' farm, altho owning a farm a quarter mile off, on account of the wildness of the country and fear of Indians, they stayed close together. The Robber Band that were around Steamboat Rock robbed them of a new set of harness which they had bought the day before.

By hard work and saving the parents were able to buy a farm for each of the sons, and when they married they each settled on their parents' farm. Johannes 3 1/2 miles west of Wellsburg, just west of Schoolhouse No. 4. Berend 2 miles west and 1/2 mile north of Wellsburg. Evert 4 miles west and 1/2 miles north of Wellsburg, on the Grundy and Hardin county lines, and Weert three miles west and one mile north of Wellsburg, just south of Schoolhouse No. 3.

When the Riekenas came to Iowa it was most all prairie where the town of Wellsburg is now located. When they had been here a week, the first train came to Ackley. There were no schools or churches in this part of the country. They did their weekly shopping at Steamboat Rock and at Hardin City (which is now a ghost town) but they had to drive to Cedar Falls for their furniture, altho the father made some of the furniture himself. There were no roads--just a trail.

The mother was a very fine needlewoman. She having fractured her arm once and her leg three times, she spent most of her later years in a chair, the last two years most of the time in bed, but on account of her eyesight being so good was able to do sewing and fancywork almost till the last, passing her ninety-fifth birthday in the presence of her children and grandchildren, and passed three days later into the great beyond on Feb. 16, 1903. The father died of a stroke on Sept. 16, 1886, at the age of 79 years. They both passed away in the home they built in 1865 when they came to America. Altho all of the children reached a ripe old age, their going was very sudden as all of them were up and around two days before their death.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 21 June 1951, pg 1


Grundy Documents maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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