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KAHL, Henry Frederick Wilheim (1872-1966)


Posted By: Donna Knight (email)
Date: 1/8/2009 at 18:45:07

Although his reason for leaving Germany for the United States is unclear, Heinrich’s uncle, Henry Fey was living in Mineola, IA. Following is his account of his travels, as told to his granddaughter Virginia on December 3rd 1959.

22nd of April 1888, started from Hamburg - left from Pleon to Hamburg on railroad. Visited relatives at Wansbeck a day early and looked at ship.
Folks went along to ship. Another boy came with me- Chris Dibbert (His brother Frederick was at Tama, Iowa). Left Hamburg on April 22nd on Lesine (ship).
15 years old. Fourteen days on ship to New York. Five ships came at the same time (in Convoy). Went to a place like a Luther Home (Immigration House).
The Lutherans paid for my keep. Stayed only 2 days. Took us to the depot and took train to Chicago- then to a different depot. Had a card from the Immigration House for the guide. (50 cents at Chicago for dry potato – all conductors and brakemen try to skin you everywhere).

On to Tama, Iowa, It rained so hard we had to stay in depot-stayed upstairs in restaurant a couple days. Fred Dibbert came for us and stayed too because the Iowa River was out all over. Dibbert took me to the Northwestern depot at 11 o'clock at night to go to Council Bluffs – in early May 1888.
Council Bluffs was small, only 17,000 people.

Got off too soon - had to walk to the Wabash to transfer to go to Mineola. German man bought me a ticket to leave at 5 o'clock. Got hungry at noon - so bought what I thought was cake, but it was cornbread. When I got to Mineola, Fred Dietchler and Hans Lueht were getting a corn Planter - they thought “That must be a greenhorn.” “Do you know where my uncle Henry Fey lives?”
The place where Herman Peters later lived – Dewey Deitchler lives now.

Uncle worked for Tom Brandt – Carpenter. Had $4.50 when I got to Mineola - 1st job before working for Brandt – worked for Fred Schroeder digging basements under houses. (Mrs. Kinney now lives in the house) (Ed Kahl bought house later). Worked for Brandt for $16.00 a month. Husked corn – made well until 5th of December. Hauled house to Mineola where Rosa Wasserman lives – first house east of old bank on corner – dug basement and plastered. 4 miles north on county line hauled corn and oats to Silver City. Milked 7 cows. Man gone lots of times all week on pony. He had 3 places. $4.00 a month during 3 winter months. Carpentered a little for John Rohrberg. He hired me 1st of March for $18.00. (Brandt took me over) I was sixteen when I went to work for Rohrbergs.
Stayed in that neighborhood 8 years. Worked 2 years for Rohrberg – hauled wood for 10 miles from West Liberty Cemetery.

Two years after me – my stepfather Christian Bern and mother came. My uncle, Henry Fey worked on the section (railroad). Stepfather Chris Bern didn't like horses.

Rented with my folks from Tom Brandt. Rented 185 plowed acres – also some from Christian Joost (Brandt's father-in-law). Borrowed $100 - Rohrberg gave me 2 sows, machinery from Fred Deitchler and Mike Flammant. Both good to me. Repaid them in full. Second year stepfather died – 1892. Half brother Hans Bern was 10 – girl was 13 (Emma Bern) - Oldest girl Mary worked outside of the home. Emma went to work for Uncle Henry Fey and they moved to Emerson, Nebraska (Emma married Ed Schwarten). Mary worked for me a year.

Mother married in 1894 to Fred Schroeder. Mary married Gus Roenfeld in 1900. I married on October 17, 1895.

Next spring moved to Rohrberg place – (where Rohrberg's now live) Father -in-law owned. Lived there 14 years. Bought Gasper place in 1910 (Home place – Catholic place) Contract deed $600 – paid $97.25 per acre for 360 acres. Only building there was an old barn and some of the house. Cyclone took some. Spent about $8,000 before the deed. Built barn, hog shed, machine sheds, house, cribs, water system, etc.

Did well for several years until wife got sick. Special nurses in Omaha and Mercy Hospital and a German nurse came home with us and worked.

Died on Friday October 10, 1919 – funeral on Sunday – Emma's birthday. Would have been married 24 years on the 17th.


Mills Biographies maintained by Karyn Techau.
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