Last Week I spoke of hardships for those pioneers who left the eastern side of the Mississippi and Missouri to live on the western sides of those rivers. Leaving green trees and water behind them to break ground in a new type of environment.
My ancestors, Karl and Klementina REIMAN(N), began their separate lives in Woeflinswil and Oberhof, Canton Aargau, Switzerland. They were hard working, strong willed people who packed up their five children and made an extraordinary adventure, migrating to a strange, foreign land - to "Recklau, Nabraska, Nach Amerika". [If you need a tad help here: Red Cloud, Nebraska, North America.]
Aargau, a Canton in the Northern plateau of Switzerland, contains the ancestral castle of the Habsburgs and is close to the Rhine River. We know they were hard working and industrious, for there Karl was listed as Seilers or Posamenter and peasant. He was also gravedigger and coroner, guard, and finally mouse catcher. Talk about your moon-lighting. Seilers is of occupational roots meaning rope-maker, but Posamenter refines the occupation to silk ribbon maker. Guard was the position of Constable or Policeman, whose duties also including "official" deliveryman or courier. Mouse catcher will give you a laugh, but there were bounties on mice who of course fed on the grain. [I have one of the homemade "traps" used to catch them.] Oh, peasant meant "farmer", though Carl kept some cattle, he was mainly an orchardman, raising cherry trees from which that unique Cherry Brandy Kircsh is made from.
These skills brought to "Amerika" made them self sufficient. The father and four boys were workers, machinists, blacksmiths, brick makers, carpenters and farmers in Nebraska.
So, these good folks did indeed cross the wide Missouri to a new and strange land, for which they were most grateful. Klementina wrote home that "I have it much better here than at home, don't worry." .... "Everybody is helping us. In the whole world you can't find any better people than the ones we met here. Now the whole Catholic parish sticks together and buys the land, but only for Catholic families. When they arrive they are cared for like we were taken care of. Dear beloved brother and sisters, don't worry; me and the children and father have much more to eat than at home."
Nebraska did indeed attract a "tough" breed of people as well as develop a unique "brand" of people.
If you would enjoy reading Klementina's letter describing the trip to "Recklau" it can be found at: http://www.ukans.edu/~kansite/hvn/articles/oliver.htm