Sunday, December 27, 2009

Andrew Move the Family to Nebraska

In 1899 Andrew received a letter from Minnie Huber telling about a beautiful parcel of land located near South Bend, Nebraska. Andrew traveled by train to Louisville, Nebraska where Minnie and her husband, John George, met him at the depot.  The next day Andrew accompanied them by horse and buggy to look at the tract of land located two miles west and one half mile south of South Bend.  When Andrew inspected the land it looked so much like his home in Baden near the Black Forest, that he became homesick, even after all the years in America.  The eighty acres had a creek named Pawnee Creek, after the Pawnee Indian tribe.  The Pawnees had many campsites along the creek.  This creek flowed through the center of this property with crystal clear waters.  There was a high rock  hill along the creek.  The earth above the rock  hill was the same texture as that in Germany where the grapes were grown in Emmendingen, Kondringen.  The rich ground had an abundance of prairie grasses on it.

Andrew immediately went back to South Dakota and sold the 160 acres he had homesteaded, and the timber claim, all for a small sum of money.  This decision was made mostly because of all the years of drought, grasshoppers, locusts, and prairie fires that were often started by lightning.  His wife, Louise, protested as she did not want to leave her many friends and family and start all over again.

The eighty acres of ground at South Bend was owned by Joe Sweeney.  The purchase price for this ground was $3,000.00.  Joe Sweeney was related to John George Huber.  Joe had a daughter, Molly, who was married to August Newman.  Their children were John and Dottie.  The Sweeney family went to California from South Bend, but they were unable to take their two large dogs with them.  The dogs remained in the care of the Blum family until they were sent for.

The 13 acres of ground above the rock hill was planted to grapes and pasture.  The grapes thrived and produced many barrels of wine.  The grape rows were four feet apart and they used one horse and a plow to keep the weeds under control between the rows of grapes, and a hoe was used around the vines.  Each year as the plow was used, the Indian arrow heads would be plowed to the surface.  An Indian camp had been situated on the high hill.

A stone house was erected east of the Pawnee Creek.  Stones dug out of the rock hill were used for the house, and a cave was dug under the south side of the house to provide a cool place for the many kegs of wine.  The kegs were stacked two or three deep in clusters of six or nine to a cluster.  Other buildings included a large barn to accomodate horses on one side and the milk cows on the other, with a ladder to go to the hay loft.  Also a very unique building, which I doubt will ever be seen again anywhere, was a long building.  A corn crib was on the west side. The corn was picked by hand, and stored in this area.  On the east side there were enclosed grain bins, for wheat and oats.  The structure was built on pilaster posts, at least 12 feet high, so wagon's could be driven underneath to load grain and take it to the elevator in the winter.  This structure was built by a rock wall.  Andrew used large rocks from the rock hill to build the wall at least 20 feet high.  It was enclosed with a floor above the wall and to the side of the corn crib and grain bins, to allow unloading of grain in the bins and crib area.  A chicken house was erected along the same rock wall, with a building above and to the north side, which contained space for the storage of corn cobs, fire wood for the cook stove and heating stove, and storage area for goods and materials needed for the farm operation.

A natural spring appeared south and east of the chicken house, a little higher on the hill.  The water appeared to be coming out of the ground from the roots of a red oak tree.  A cistern type hole was dug about ten feet deep near the spring on the lower side.  This was enclosed and a dumb waiter was installed, with a rope and pulley with shelves attached to the rope.  The butter, eggs, cream, milk, and other foods were kept on these shelves as it was cool in the summer and never froze in the winter.  The cool spring water flowed through this structure, with the use of a wooden trough, a pipe was used to continue the water into the chicken house.  The trough was constructed through this building, and a pipe was installed to exit the water from this building to a tank for the cattle and hogs, and continued out to the pond.  The natural springs always kept clear fresh water in this small pond.  In the winter time when the pond froze over, Albert, Martin, and Marvin Sutton, and the Snyder sisters would ice skate on the pond.  One of the girls name was Hazel.  They lived one mile west of Pawnee Creek.  Many winter nights the Blum family and friends would ice skate on the pond by the light of the moon.

Oak tree on Homestead 1917

Oak Tree in 1995
The stone house had a spiral staircase leading from the second floor to a tower.  This room had look out windws, one to the north and one to the south.  In later years and additon was constructed on the south side of the house.  Directly north of the stone house Louise planted her garden.  On the north of the garden and to the east, was another rocky area about 30 feet higher than the rest of the ground.  Ths land proved to be highly productive for pear, peach, apple, and cherry trees,  Also grown in this location were raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and gooseberry bushes.  Andrew had name tags printed with read:  Andrew Blum Fruitgrower.  While walking through the pasture there were gooseberry bushes everywhere.  It didn't make any difference what kind of berry you wanted, they grew profusely along every road.  This included, chokecherry, elderberry and wild plums.

Louise Blum in Cabbage Garden
On July 15, 1900, Andrew Blum Jr., was born.  In 1901 the family living at the South Bend homestead were Andrew and Louise, Louise's mother, Caroline "Jenne" Moessinger, seventy nine years old, the seven Blum childre, Ida 19, Ernest, 17, Albert 13, Louise 9, Marie 6, William 3, and Andrew 1.  Andrew Jr,, was not born exactly normal.  He was small in stature and mentally impaired. My dad, Cecil Pierce,  tells me what he remembers of him was that as children they would chase him and tease him.  He liked to keep all of his things neatly organized, and they would mess up his things and make him mad. Great Grandmother always wondered if she had sinned in some way that God would punish her through her child.

Andrew Junior and Andrew Senior

During the year of 1904, Louise's mother, Caroline, put a large granite pan of potato's on the stove to cook.  It was the type of pan that was small on the bottom and big around on the top.  It did not set well on the stove, which burned corn cobs and wood.  The burner lid would be removed so the pan could be placed directly on the burning cobs, and wood.  Caroline went to check to see if they were done and the kettle tipped over and the boiling water poured out onto her legs.  The skin from the burns did not heal and someone suggested that they use a lamb manure poltice.  The Talbotts had lambs, so they got some manure from them and tried it.  This treatment did not help and soon after that she had a stroke.  It was some time later that she passed away on May 30 1905 and was buried on June 6, 1905 at the Trinity Lutheran Church north of Murdock, Nebraska.  There is a large headstone upon her burial place engraved in German.

My grandmother, Marie, took her grandmother's passing especially hard.  They were very close, and were bed mates. Ida Blum postphoned her wedding from June 1st to June 15th for her grandmothers funeral, and Ernest was home for a few day as he was attending taxidermy school in Omaha.  Ernest told of his granmother Caroline being so dilirious from the pain that she tried to climb the walls.

Martin Blum was born March 8, 1905 at South Bend and was almost 3 months old when his grandmother died.