Meidinger-Dockter Centennial Celebration a "Party
on the Prairie" Along the Banks of Beaver Creek in McIntosh
Halverson, Carol Just. "Meidinger-Dockter
Centennial Celebration a "Party on the Prairie"
Along the Banks of Beaver Creek in McIntosh County,
ND." Wishek Star, 10 September 1997.
Katharina Meidinger Dockter's 100th birthday would have been August
16, 1997. She died in 1965, but her family decided to throw a party
for her anyway. Calling it a "party on the prairie", her
grandchildren took this opportunity to honor her memory and reunite
the family along the shores of Beaver Creek at the home of her son
and daughter-in-law, Alfred and Elaine Dockter.
Coming from Washington D.C., New York, Missouri, Texas, Minnesota,
and both Dakota's, almost 80 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren
and extended family from ages 1 to 83-years-old spent the weekend
eating German-Russian food and swapping memories. The surviving
children of Henry and Katharina were present: Helen and Julius Just,
Berlin, ND, Viola Aipperspach, Aberdeen, SD, Alfred and Elaine Dockter,
Zeeland, Harry and Agnes Dockter, Bismarck, Laverna and Clifton
Kaseman, Wishek. Daughter-in-law, Alma (David) Dockter, Cresbard,
SD, and nephew, Kenneth Dockter, Washington D.C. were honored guests.
The centerpiece of the two-day event was Sunday worship at St.
Andrew's Lutheran Church on August 17, when everyone gathered in
the church home where Henry and Katharina were baptized, confirmed,
married and buried. All ten Dockter children received their Christian
education there. Alfred and Elaine Dockter raised their children
at St. Andrew's and remained active members.
More than 30 family members assisted in the worship service led
by the oldest grandson, Pastor Don Just, Austin, TX. Katharina's
youngest daughter Laverna Dockter Kaseman, organized the worship
service and served as organist. German hymns and prayers were included
and as the "Vater Unser," The Lord's Prayer, was recited,
the church bell at St. Andrew's rang across the prairie as it has
since the larger church was built in 1906. The original stone church
built in 1893 still stands on the church property. Immediately following
the close of the worship, Katharina Meidinger Dockter's surviving
children carried the Altar flowers to the graves of their parents
and sang the child's prayer their mother taught them, "Mude
bin ich, geh zur Ruh," "Weary Am I, to Rest Must Go."
Alfred Dockter, with his team of horses and covered wagon, escorted
the great-grandchildren back to his farm on the shores of Beaver
Creek for a closing meal of traditional noodle soup and roast beef.
Sparklers adorned a huge birthday cake as all present sang "Happy
Birthday, Grandma Katie." With that, the "party on the
prairie" came to a close. All departed that day, wrapped in
the embrace of a family history.
August 17, 1997. The decendants of Henry and
Katharina (Meidinger) Dockter following worship at their ancestral
church, St. Andrew's Lutheran, rural Zeeland.
August 17, 1997. Katharina Halverson, St.
Louis Park, MN, wrapped in her Great-Great-Grandmother Katharina
Thurn Meidinger's blanket. The blanket came to America from
Kassel, South Russia in October, 1884. It was given to Katharina
Meidinger Dockter upon her marriage in 1917.
August 17, 1997. Following worship, the surviving
children carried the Altar flowers to the grave of Henry and
Katharina (Meidinger) Dockter and holding the ancestral blanket
their mother wrapped them in as children sang "Mude bin
ich, geh zur Ruh," the childhood prayer their mother sang
August 17, 1997. Meidinger and Dockter descendants
learning their Germans from Russia history in the cemetery of
104-year-old St. Andrew's Lutheran Church near Zeeland, McIntosh
Reprinted with permission from the Wishek Star.