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RIEKENA, Evert W. 1845-1934


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 12/24/2016 at 17:11:47

Last of Generation of Pioneer Family Dead

Evert W. Riekena, aged 88, passed away at his home in Wellsburg Sunday morning at 5 o'clock, from the infirmities attendant upon old age. He had been in failing health all winter, but his last illness was of short duration. He is survived by two daughters, Mrs. S. H. Meyer and Mrs. Obbo Mennenga, eleven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

The funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon at the home and later at the Wellsburg Reformed church, Rev. Wm. Landsiedel being in charge of the ceremonies, which were largely attended.

The pall bearers were Martin Ross, B. H. Lindaman, George Lindaman, P. A. Meyer, H. P. Kruse and George A. Geerdes.

The death of Evert Riekena marks the passing of the last survivor of a generation of Riekenas who were pioneers in Grundy county. The family originated in Germany and when they emigrated to America in 1865 and came to Iowa they found conditions very different from what they are today. A brief history of this family was obtained from one of the descendants and contains much of interest concerning the early days in Iowa.

Wiard B. Riekena and Frederika Ryken were united in marriage on the 8th day of March, 1834, and made their home in Lasselt, Germany, where Mr. Riekena followed the carpenter trade.

To this union were born eight children, one son dying in infancy. In the year 1865 they emigrated to America with their three daughters and four sons: Antje (Mrs. Eilert Van Horn), Frauke (Mrs. Martin Ryken), Gepka (Mrs. Reiner Aukes), Johannes, Berend, Evert and Wert, and their son-in-law, Eilert Van Horn and Mr. Riekena's sister, Mrs. John Schlorholtz, her husband and four children. Of these only Jacob and Berend Schlorholtz of Lake View, Iowa, are now living.

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

They bought a 160-acre farm in Shiloh township, where the father and sons built a house of the bungalow type, getting their lumber from logs that they hauled to the saw mill at Hardin City. Although this family has passed on, part of the house is still there, to show where the old home was located.

Johannes and Berend followed the carpenter trade, whenever there was work to be found. They built the first church, out of native timber donated by the farmers, where Rev. Engelke's church now stands. Wert, the youngest son, was in business in Steamboat Rock for several years, Evert remaining on the farm. The married daughter and her husband, Eilert Van Horn, built a home on their parents' farm, although owning a farm across the road. On account of the wildness of the country, and the fear of Indians, they stayed close together.

By hard work and saving, the parents were able to buy a farm for each of their sons and when they married, each settled on his parents' farm. Johannes had the farm where his son Evert now lives, Berend where his son Peter lives, Wert where his son Wert lives, and Evert remained on the old home place, building a house right close to his parents, in which his son-in-law, Siebe Meyer, now lives.

Frauke Riekena was united in marriage with Martin Ryken and made her home on a farm near Ackley. Gepka was married to Reiner Aukes, and made her home on the farm where Ben Aukes now lives, but after a few years of married life, her husband was called in death. A few years later she married Remmer Ludwigs of German Valley, Ill., where she made her home till her death.

The father died on Sept. 16, 1886, of a stroke, at the age of seventy-nine years. The mother celebrated her 95th birthday, with her children and grandchildren around her and three days later quietly passed into the Great Beyond, on Feb. 16, 1903.

Mrs. Frauke Ryken died on Sept. 8, 1908, aged 72 years; Wert on July 15, 1910, aged 63 years; Mrs. Antje Van Horn Dec. 26, 1916, aged 82 years; Mrs. Gepka Ludwigs Sept. 14, 1919, aged 81 years; Berend Oct. 11, 1924, aged 81 years; Johannes May 27, 1933, aged 92 years and Evert, the last, April 22, 1934, aged 88 years.

Although all of the children reached a ripe old age, their going was very sudden, as all of them with the exception of Mrs. Ludwigs, were up and around two days before their deaths.

Only two daughters-in-law are living. They are Mrs. J. W. Riekena, and Mrs. W. W. Riekena, now Mrs. H. G. Geerdes.

When the first Riekena family came to Iowa it was all prairie where the town of Wellsburg is now located. When they had been here a week, the train came to Ackley for the first time. There were no schools or churches in this part of the country, they did their weekly shopping at Steamboat Rock and Hardin City, but had to drive to Cedar Falls for their furniture, although the father made some of the furniture himself.

The mother was a very fine needle woman and there are still pieces of fancy work in the Riekena family which are dearly prized as heirlooms, which she made over a hundred years ago.

There were no roads then, and the boys often went to Cedar Falls on horse back.

Descendants of the original family now living include twenty-four grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, and numerous great-great-grandchildren. May the present generation live as clean and honest lives as their parents and grandparents did before them.

--The Wellsburg Herald (Wellsburg, Iowa), 25 April 1934, pg 1


E. W. Riekena In County 69 Yrs., Died Sunday

E. W. Riekena, who was a continuous resident of Shiloh township for 69 years, died at his home in Wellsburg at 5 o'clock Sunday morning. He was 88 years, 8 months and 11 days old.

The passing of Mr. Riekena removes one of the earliest residents of this section of the county. Two other families now residing here came to Shiloh township during the same year.

The Riekena family came to Grundy county directly from Germany in 1865. The family consisted of the father and mother, four sons and three daughters. E. W. Riekena was the last of this large pioneer family to answer the final summons.

Mr. Riekena had been in failing health since he suffered an attack of the flu last winter. He was confined to his bed but two days before the end came.

Funeral services were held in the Wellsburg Reformed church Wednesday afternoon. The services were in charge of Rev. Wm. Landsiedel. Burial was in the cemetery at the Rev. Bode church west of Wellsburg.

Mr. Riekena was born in Larrelt, Eastfriesland, Germany. He was 19 years old when he came to America with the remainder of the Riekena family. They began farming in Shiloh township. Mr. Riekena was married to Gertie Stoehr at Wellsburg on April 13th, 1881. The couple began housekeeping on their Shiloh township farm. Mrs. Riekena died in 1911. Her husband remained on the farm six years longer, after which he moved to Wellsburg.

There are two surviving daughters, Mrs. Obbo Mennenga and Mrs. Siebe Meyer. There are eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 26 April 1934, pg 3


E. W. Riekena Funeral Well Attended

The funeral of E. W. Riekena was held last Wednesday, with Rev. Wm. Landsiedel in charge, who took his text from the Rev. of St. John 14, 13.

Interment was made in the cemetery of the First Christian Ref. Church.

The pall bearers were Martin Ross, P. A. Meyer, H. P. Kruse, Geo. Lindaman, B. H. Lindaman, Geo. A. Geerdes.

The services were very largely attended and old friends from all over this part of the country gathered to pay their last respects to the departed.

Obituary Evert W. Riekena
Evert W. Riekena was born August 11, 1845, at Larrelt, Ostfriesland, Germany. October 1, 1865, when 20 years of age, he came to America and made his residence in Grundy County, Iowa. On April 3, 1881, he was joined in holy wedlock with Gertje Stoehr, establishing their home on the farm in Shiloh township, 4 miles west of Wellsburg. Here God blessed their union with two children. For 30 years the Lord by His grace privileged them to share with each other life's joys and sorrows, and on the 18th of June, 1911, according to the wise providence of God, his faithful companion preceded him in death.

With the kind aid of his children he continued his home on the farm until 6 years later, Dec. 18, 1917, when he moved to Wellsburg, to spend the evening of his life in well deserved rest, assisted by the kindness of his grandchildren. While a resident of this community and in good health he diligently visited the house of God. Since 1931 during a period of severe illness his health was broken so that he never fully recovered nor regained his strength. In October, 1933, he attended church for the last time and during the last winter his health was gradually failing so that he realized the infirmities of old age. Last Friday, April 20, he was suddenly confined to bed, but all medical aid seemed to be of no avail, so that on Sunday, April 22, it pleased Almighty God to summon his soul to the great beyond. He calmly fell asleep at 5:00 a.m. to look forward to that last and solemn day of resurrection. As the last member of the elder Riekena family who came to this country he has concluded the family circle in death, after reaching the age of 88 years, 8 months and 11 days. His departure is lamented by his two daughters: Fredericka (Mrs. Obbo Mennenga of Wellsburg), and Hantje (Mrs. Siebe Meyer of Wellsburg), also by 11 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, and a host of relatives and friends. May the God of all grace and comfort sustain and comfort the bereaved over the loss of their departed father and grandfather. May He prepare every one for a blessed end.

--The Wellsburg Herald (Wellsburg, Iowa), 2 May 1934, pg 1


Grundy Obituaries maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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