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Two Farms for Families

"Two Farms for Families." Prairies 7, no. 7: June/July 1984, 85-87.

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Not just one farm, but two farms (which are neighbors), have both been in the Wald family for more than four generations. Those are the farms of Bill Wald and James A. Wald, each about 12 miles northwest of Venturia.

In the beginning, one of the farms was owned by Sebastien Wald (the great-grandfather of Bill and James). The other farm was owned by Sebastien’s done, Stanislaus.

Then, two brothers each owned one of the two farms: Sebastien S. and Stanislaus.

Next it was uncle and nephew arrangement: Sebastien S. and Markus (Bill and James’ father).

After that the two farms were owned by first cousins: Sebastien Jr. and Markus.

Next, it was a son and father arrangement: Bill and his father, Markus.

Lastly, they are owned by two brothers, Bill and James.

Bill lives on his great-grandfather’s homestead. At present, he is a McIntosh County commissioner.

The great-grandfather, Sebastien Wald, was born in Russia in 1848 and died at McIntosh County, north of Zeeland, in 1920. His wife, Elizabeth (Schweitzer) Wald was born on December 25, 1849 and died December 17, 1926.

Both emigrated to the U.S. on October 19, 1888. They were accompanied with their five children: Conrad, Stanislaus, Katherine, Sebastien, and Markus. The family traveled on the vessel, the S.S. Trave, via Port Bremen to New York. Their former home was in Strassburg, Russia.

(Indeed, the Walds were one of the 60 founding families of Strassburg. Sylvester Wald was the first chief mayor of Kutschurgan District in Russia. Michael Streifel was Strassburg’s first mayor. Sylvester Wald was born in Germany in Neiderlauterback, Alsace. He married Margaretha Illig on February 17, 1789. She was born in 1768.)

By November 7, 1888, Sebastien had moved to McIntosh County, between Zeeland and Venturia, filing a claim on land listed as Section 21, Township 130, Range 72, Blumenthal District.

He built a home at that location, where he and Elizabeth lived until their deaths. Then the house was purchased and moved to the Kasper Schatz farm. Later it was sold to Herbert Stroh and moved to the edge of Venturia, where it is still standing, but with an addition.

Before the death of Sebastien and Elizabeth, their son, Sebastein S. II, and his wife, Magdalena (Welder), took over the farm and raised eight children there. They farmed until 1946.

At that time, Sebastien Jr. III and his wife, Cecelia (Jund) Wald purchased the farm. Their children were Donald, David, and Jane, and farmed on their forefather’s place until 1965. they sold it to Bill and Mildred (Glatt) Wald.

The homestead was under the name of Sebastien Walds for 77 years. It has been continually under the Wald name for 96 years.

The farmstead had been expanded and modernized into a productived dairy and grain farm by the present owners, Bill and Mildred Wald.

Bill and Millie’s children are Twila, Betty, Sheila, Curtis, Darcy, Alvin, and Lee.

At that same location, about two city blocks apart, is the farm homesteaded by Stanislaus and his wife, Mary Anna (Mattern) Wald. Stanislaus and Sebastien S. II were brothers.

Stanislaus and Mary Anna had seven children: Sebastien, Theresia, Stanislaus Jr., Anton, Markus, Elizabeth, and Ludwig.

Stanislaus was born in 1879 and died in 1954. Mary Anna was born in 1882 and died in 1911. They were married on November 19, 1900. Mary Anna only lived to the age of 29, leaving a son of 26 days at the time of her death.

That son, Ludwig, born in 1911, was killed in a farm accident at the age of six years in 1917.

It was difficult for Stanislaus to raise seven children, but he was helped by his sister-in-law, Agatha Mattern. Then on September 11, 1911, Stanislaus married Phillipina Schlisser, who was 19. She then became the children’s new mother, raising all of them to adulthood. She and Stanislaus had no children. Phillipinia was born in Russia in 1892 and died on June 23, 1980.

Markus and Katherine had nine children, who were raised on their farm. They were Phyllis (she died when she was 15), Elsie (Mrs. Adam Gross), Alvin (married to Rose Senger), William (married to Mildred Glatt), Mary Ann (Mrs. Joe G. Gross), Donna Mae (Mrs. Joseph Feist), Margie Ann (Mrs. Sam Piatz), Theresa (Mrs. Wayne Bates), and James Allen (married to Valencia Schumacher).

James and Val are the present owners of the farm. Their children are Mickey and Tommy (who died in a house fire in 1976), Becky, Timmy, John, and Jimmy.

Sebastien Wald

The following is an account of Sebastien’s death, which appeared in the February 12, 1920 edition of The Ashley Tribune, which told of the esteem the community felt about Wald.

Pioneer Citizen Dies
Very Sudden

Sebastien Wald, Well Known, Dies Following Coughing Fit Monday

Sebastien Wald, a pioneer farmer and resident of our county residing near Zeeland, was called into the great beyond by his Maker early Monday morning. Sunday evening he was in perfect health and many of his old friends had assembled at his home where an enjoyable visit was had by all. Wald always had a sunny disposition and his merrymaking that evening was heartily enjoyed by all the guests.

A good night’s sleep was the usual rule with Wald and at 6 o’clock Monday morning he arose very much refreshed and rested. Shortly after he had risen, he was attacked with a fit of coughing which he was unable to check.

The cough played him out and he died at his farm home several miles northeast of Zeeland.

Although Wald was far advanced in years, his death came as a great shock to him many Zeeland and McIntosh County friends. His age was about 72.

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