Gage County, Nebraska

Gage County Biographies

Michael Kleinhans

Submitted by Mark D Kleinhans

Reseached and written by John Maurer of Delavan, WI. and Mark Kleinhans of El Dorado County, CA.

Michael Kleinhans settled in Harbine, Jefferson County, Nebraska in 1870 establishing a homestead there, 1 April 1875, where he and his family operated an Inn adjacent to the Old Oregon Trail. His homestead was located in the Northeast corner of section 26 in Township 3 North of Range 4 East.

Michael Kleinhans was born 13 March 1832 in Eimsheim, Hess-Darmstadt, Germany. He and his family arrived in the United States in 1853 from the port of Hamburg, Germany on the ship the Sea Duck. The arrival port is unknown at this time. The family after arriving in America settled in Rhine Township of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.

Michael being the oldest son of Johannes & Elizabeth Kleinhans met Johanna Maurer daughter of Peter and Catharina (Sander) Maurer and were married 25 October 1858, Rhine Township, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin in a Civil Ceremony performed by Valentine Pfeil who was justice of the peace and was also Johanna's brother-in-law.

Soon after the Kleinhans families arrival here Michale being 23 years of age at the time purchased his own farmland consisting of 80 acres in Section 10 of Rhine Township. This purchase was made on 17 Dec 1855 for $500.00. This land was apparently purchased as an investment because Michael and Johanna left for the Gold Fields of California soon after their marriage. They lost this farm as the morgage payments were not kept current and a Sheriffs sale was held on 9 April 1860 and the land was repurchased by the original owner, Peter Maurer, for $338.60.

Michael and Johanna Now were residing in El Dorado County, California. This journey to the Gold Fields was made by wagon as the Continental Rail Road was not built at this time. Two Children were born in California, William, on 16 April 1859 and Rheinhold on 16 September 1863. They did not find their fortune, so they returned briefly to Wisconsin by wagon where their only daughter, Mary Katherina, was born 17 February 1867. Michael just couldn't settle down and by 1870 the family moved to Jefferson County Nebraska.

After moving to Nebraska two more children were born, Authur, 3 March 1863, and Wallace "Walter", 25 July 1874. The family now consisted of 5 children and farm life on the prairies must have been difficult. Somehow they survived the period from 1874-1877 when the swarms of grasshoppers invaded the farmlands forcing many settlers to return East. Land values collapsed but by 1880 things were going well on the farmlands until 1890 when a drought again brought land prices crumbling. This brought about irrigation which salvaged much of the land for farm use.

By 1 October 1881 their oldest son, William, married Rose Anne King of Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa in Fairbury, Jefferson County, Ne. Their daughter Myrtle was born 1 December 1882 but died early on 24 August 1884. On 20 February 1885 their Son Purl Kleinhans (My Great Grandfather) was born, Beatrice, Gage County, Nebraska. William died at the young age of 35 on 21 September 1894. The next tragic event took place in just 6 months, the death of Michaels wife, Johnanna (Maurer) on 23 March 1895. She had just turned 55 one week before. Michael Kleinhans died, 1 February 1901 in Harbine, Jefferson County, Ne. A burial site for the family is located in the "Old Plymouth" Cemetary in Jefferson County, Nebraska.

Michael and Johanna's second son Reinhold moved to San Bernardino, California where he was employed as an engineer for the Sante Fe Rail Road. He was married to Etta P. Mannen of Missouri. They had no children. His wife suffered a fatal injury in an automobile accident 6 February 1917. Rheinhold changed his name to Robert and never remarried. Shortly after his retirement from Sante Fe, Robert moved to Cuba for a short time returning to San Bernardino where he purchased an apartment complex near the Sante Fe Rail Road Depot. He rented apartments primarily to Sante Fe employees. Rheinhold died, 8 March 1931 and is buried next to his wife Etta at the Pioneer Cemetary in San Bernardino. Rheinhold was a member of the brother hood of Locomotive Engineers and the Native Sons of the Golden West.

Mary Catherine "Kate" Kleinhans married William T. Nickeson, 20 March 1888, Beatrice, Gage County, Nebraska. William T. Nickeson was a banker in Ellis. They had only one son William born, 18 March 1889, Ellis, Gage County, NE. Who passed at an early age of 2years 3 months 9 days , 27 July 1890, Ellis. They adopted their nephew Clarence Leslie Nickeson of Ellis. Kate died 17 January 1945, one month short of her 58th birthday. A year later William T. Nickeson died, 19 January 1946. They are both buried at the Diller Cemetary, Jefferson County, NE.

Arthur Kleinhans married Susan "Susie" McGinely of Thomas County, KS. in 1894, Colby, KS. They had two boys, Benjamin Arthur, 25 March 1895, and Harry William born, 23 October, 1897. 6 months after Harry' was born, Susie died from an illness, 7 March 1898. she was 29 years Old. Arthur left the two boys with inlaws to raise and moved to Long Beach, California near his brother Rheinhold. He never remarried and worked the City of Long Beach as a blacksmith and also for the power company there. Arthur died 3 February 1937, Long Beach, Los Angeles County, Californa, and is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetary, Long Beach.

Wallace "Walter", their youngest son married Mary Corbets of New York who already had a 5 year old daugher, "Minnie" from a previous marriage. their marriage took place in Beatrice, Gage County, Nebraska, 24 February 1896. They had three children from this marriage, Willaim Kleinhans, born 3 December 1897, Linclon, Ne. Raymond Kleinhans, 19 February 1899, Lincoln, Ne. and Catherine Kleinhans, October 1, 1894, Lincoln. Mary (Corbets) Kleinhans died, 9 March 1938, Lincoln, Ne. And Walter died 17 November 1952, Age 78 years. Walter and Mary are both buried at the Calvery Cemetary, 40th and "O" streets, Lincoln, Lancaster County, Ne.

I am still researching the descendents of Wallace or Walter Kleinhans and any information would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, Mark D Kleinhans

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