|My People – My Forefathers
Kathryn Glatt Wald, originally from rural Hague, North Dakota
Now residing in Strasburg, North Dakota
[information in brackets was given by Val Wangler]
My grandparents came from the Kutshurgan area by Odessa,
Russia which included Selz, Kandel, Neu Baden, and Mannheim. I am
an only child of Lambert and Barbara (Wangler) Glatt.
The Family Wangler left in the year 1592 out of Tirol, (Ostrreich)
Austria- 20 km from Innsbrook; out of the dorf or community Schwarz
in the Black Forest – (eingewandert) settled. Between 1648-1660
– near the end of the 30 year war in Europe, there settled
one family Wangler – that came out of Tirol in the Black Forest
by Freiburg (Breisgan).
This is called Simonswald/Emmendigen. Up to this time, no one lived
there in this area.
[The earliest Wagler ancestor found dates to the middle 1600's in the village of Münchweier, Germany. Münchweier is located about 50 miles north of Switzerland and about five miles east of the Rhine River.]
In 1820 a widow, Elizabeth Wangler, fled with five sons out of
the Black Forest in that far away Czarist Russia. One son, Franz
Xaver Wangler b. 1830- d. 1911- settled in the Dorf of Baden, Odessa,
others in Odewitsch/Beresan or (Bessarabia); and even Northern Russia
in Siberia. Only one Wangler family – this mother Elizabeth
and her five sons went to Russia from the Black Forest.
[In 1808 Johannes Baptista Wangler left Münchweier with his family and moved to Steinmauren, Germany located 50 miles north of Münchweier. Johannes Baptista was a blacksmith. While in Steinmauren, Johannes Baptista's wife Ludgard died and in 1814, he married Elizabeth Wessbecker. In 1818, Johannes Baptista and his family emigrated to Baden, Odessa District with his immediate family along with his nephew who was also named Johannes Wangler.]
Many documents are believed to have burned in the German and French
war of 1870.
Anton Wangler, son of Wendelin and Magdalena (Schuh) [Schoch] Wangler, was
born September 29, 1870 in Neu-Baden, South Russia. Anton married
Magdalena Gross – daughter of John and Benedicta (Laturnus)
Gross on January 3, 1894 in Neu-Baden, Russia. Magdalena was born
in Mannheim, Russia on June 15, 1873.
In 1900, Anton and Magdalena decided to come to America where her
parents and many relatives had gone. They made the journey with
five healthy little girls: Margaret – 6 years old, Magdalene,
Benedicta, Veronica, and Rosa – 11 days old, when they started
out for the almost unknown world.
They drove 30 miles with a team of horses to board a train that
took them to Bremer [Bremen], Russia. Here Anton and the family got on the
ship “George Washington” for their two month long journey
to America. Mrs. Wangler and the children all got seasick. All were
afraid that the ship would hit an iceberg. They reached New York
harbor in November 1900; took a train west to Oakes, North Dakota
two days later, finally reaching Logan County on November 25th,
Anton Wangler homesteaded 14 miles southwest of Napoleon, North
Dakota. Anton’s brothers Raphael and Felix, sisters Veronica
and Magdalene remained in Russia. They were all taken to Siberia
where conditions were treacherous. Anton’s brother Raphael
starved with his wife and three children. These families lived in
Northern Siberia for approximately 20 years. They were condemned
to hard labor and suffered dearly from the severe cold and hunger.
I am currently communicating with my mother’s first cousin
who now resides in Bad Duerrheim West Germany, but has lasting memories.
[Raphael, his wife, and four of his seven children died in 1933 during the Stalin induced famine. Felix and his entire family were exiled after World War II in Tajikistan where he died in 1967. Veronica died in the famine of 1933 and Magdalena died in the Soviet Union in the 1950's.]
Anton and Magdalena had 14 children – five sons – Anton
Jr., Joe, Valentine, John, and Wendelin; and nine daughters –
Margaret, Magdalena, Benedicta, Rosa, Veronica, Anna Marie, Katherine,
Barbara, and Agatha.
Anton died at his home on March 3, 1939. Magdalena lived to be
87 years old. She died January 2, 1960.
Barbara Wangler, b. March 22, 1906 my mother, married Lambert Glatt
on December 17, 1929. Lambert, son of Michael and Katherine (Faith)
Glatt was born July 24, 1898 and died March 19, 1956. Barbara died
November 11, 1957. They lived on the family farm two miles Northeast
of Hague until their retirement in 1947.
My great-grandfather, Michael Glatt and his wife Katherine (Hopfinger)
Selzler had a son also named Michael, born September 29, 1860 in
Kandel, Russia. Michael, my grandfather, married Katherine Faith
b. March 25, 1863, d. November 4, 1931; of Selz, Russia in 1883.
In 1885 Michael, his wife Katherine, and their first child –
Katherine, born in Russia; along with his brother Anton and sister
Rosalia came to the United States. The Glatts lived in New York
for several months before moving to Ipswich, South Dakota where
Michael worked for a farmer for two years.
With a team of oxen and a covered wagon, the family moved to Hague,
North Dakota in 1887. Michael and Katherine took up a 160-acre homestead
two miles east of Hague. Here, their first home was a crude dugout.
They built a house of adobe blocks later. Michael and Katherine
had 10 children; 5 sons: Joseph, Michael, Ludwig, Lambert, and Frank;
and five daughters: Katherine, Karolina, Johanna, Juliana, and Eva.
Michael died March 8, 1915. Katherine continued to farm with sons
Lambert and Frank until 1919; when she retired and moved to Hague.
Lambert started a new farmstead one-half mile northwest, where he
lived as a bachelor for a few years until his marriage to Barbara
I, Katie, being an only child – now live on this farm and
land that was proclaimed a Centennial Farm in June 1987; being under
constant ownership of the Glatt family for 100 years.1
I was born November 5, 1930 and married Felix Wald of Strasburg,
North Dakota on July 8, 1852. Felix, son of Anton M. and Ida (Bernhardt)
Wald was born October 23, 1930.
Felix and Katie have four sons – Gary, Duane, Dean, and Darin;
six daughters – Jody, Kathy, Janet, Karen, LeeAnn, and Carrie.
The family is also blessed with 12 grandchildren.
Sylvester Wald, the emigrant, was born in Oberlauterbach; son of
Philipp Wald and Anna Eva Stoltz. He got married at the age of 21
in Niederlauterbach on February 17, 1789 to Margareta Illig, 19
years old, and daughter of Johann M. Illig and Christina Wolf. The
names Wald and Wolf have vanished from this area where as the name
Illig still survives in Niederlauterbach as well as Stoltz in a
The great-grandparents of Felix are Martin and Rosina (Badge) Wald.
Their son, Martin b. November 11, 1868 in Russia; married Magdalena
Keller on December 28, 1892 at Fort Yates, North Dakota. Magdalena
born in 1876; died February 4, 1909 at Strasburg, North Dakota.
Martin remarried Dorothy Meier in 1911; she died October 4, 1931.
On January 28, 1932 Martin got married again to Josephine Shaeffer.
Martin died March 7, 1956.
Anton – son of Martin and Magdalena (Keller) Wald was born
October 16, 1898 at Strasburg, North Dakota. On November 7, 1921
he married Ida Bernhardt at St. Michael’s Catholic Church.
Anton died September 28, 1978 at Strasburg.
Anton and Ida had three sons – Martin, Felix, and Anton;
three daughters – Benedicta, Marie, and Alice.
Martin Wald lived in Russia until he was 19 years old. Upon his
arrival in America, he settled at Menno, South Dakota for eight
months. Martin came to Emmons County and homesteaded east of Strasburg
in 1890; remaining there for 36 years.
In 1806, Franz Bernhardt, at the age of 20 migrated from Bruchsal,
North Baden Germany with his parents and family to Odessa, Russia.
Bruchsal is located close to Karlsruhe. Franz and his family moved
to Kostheim, a village which was already established in the Moloschna,
Taurien area. This territory is named Saporoshji at present and
is located about 200 miles Northeast of Odessa.
Franz had a son named Damian who married Katherine Wolter. They
hand a family of six sons and four daughters. One son, John, is
the grandfather of Ida (Bernhardt) Wald.
Jacob and Regina Bernhardt family immigrated to America in 1906.
The Russian border was guarded by the Bolsheviks. The family took
an alternate route by train for St. Petersburg in Northern Russia.
There were many German settlements near St. Petersburg. They boarded
the ship – Furnessia – at Glasgow on June 8, 1906 and
arrived at New York on June 18, 1906.
The Jacob Bernhardt family boarded the train once again and arrived
at Linton, North Dakota June 23, 1906. They settled on a farm 10
miles east of Temvik, North Dakota.
Ida Bernhardt, daughter of Jacob and Regina (Mae) Bernhardt was
born May 13, 1903 at Maryfield, Russia. She died June 23, 1971 at
Jacob Bernhardt was born March 21, 1863 in Russia; died March 24,
1937 at Strasburg. Regina was born February 25, 1868 in Russia;
died August 5, 1942 at Strasburg. Jacob and Regina were married
October 7, 1886.
Ludwig and Christina (Schwan) Welk had immigrated as children to
Russia from Alsace-Lorraine. Ludwig b.? d. 1937; Christina was born
in 1871 and died in 1940. Ludwig Welk came to America in the late
1890’s. For many years he followed his trade as a blacksmith;
operating a shop in Strasburg. He was an old country musician and
played for weddings throughout the county in the early days. Their
children were John, Lawrence, Louis, Michael, Barbara, Anna, Mary,
Eva, and Agatha.
The Ludwig Welk homestead farm located three miles west of Strasburg
represents the ingenuity of the German Settlers from Russia. The
home built in the late 1890’s with 18-inch mud brick walls
is typical of the German settlers.
Lawrence Welk, son of Ludwig Welk, was born on the family farm
near Strasburg, North Dakota on March 11, 1903. He left the farm
on his 21st birthday- March 11, 1924; determined to make a career
for himself in the field of music. In 1925, he joined Geo. T. Kelly’s
“Peerless Entertainers” and experienced his first road
work. Welk’s radio career was started with his own 5-piece
band on WNAX, Yankton, South Dakota in 1927; playing at the station
during the day and appearing at dance halls in five surrounding
states at night. In 1936, Lawrence made an appearance at the St.
Paul Hotel in St. Paul – followed by an engagement at the
William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. It was there that “Champagne
Music” became his trademark. In 1951, Welk and his group moved
on to their first television program and became the most popular
music show in Los Angeles. When the Dodge dealers signed on to sponsor
him nationally on the ABC TV network, the show caught on with such
tremendous impact that Welk signed the first “life-time”
contract in music history. Mr. Welk received the Horatio Alger Award
at ceremonies in New York, being one of the only two North Dakotans
ever to receive it.
Lawrence Welk married Fern Renner on April 19, 1931. They have
three children; Shirley Jean (Fredericks), Donna Lee (Mack), and
Growing up only 15 miles from Strasburg, North Dakota, my husband’s
home town, Lawrence Welk was a prominent man in the community. His
popular T.V. show became a part of our life; an on many occasions,
his visits back to Strasburg were always a memorable occasion. Lawrence
being a German-Russian meant that he was one of us; and everyone
loved him – young and old alike. His memories of Strasburg
and the goodness of his heart always remained with Lawrence as he
made numerous contributions to the city of Strasburg.
Lawrence and his family are lending their full support to the restoration
of the Homestead Farm near Strasburg where Lawrence grew up as a
young man. The finished farm site will be a fitting tribute to the
man whose “Champagne” music entertained millions for
over three decades. The Welk Heritage Foundation project will restore
Lawrence Welk’s birth place to the condition it was when he
left home in the early 1920’s.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Welk home site restoration were
held Tuesday June 26, 1990 at 2:00 p.m. Among the list of dignitaries
attending were: Governor George Sinner, Clarence Bauman, President
of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society, and Bob Mitchell of
the State Historical Society. Nearly 200 people attended in record-breaking
temperatures. Entertainment was furnished by the Young German Singers,
the Strasburg High School Band, and others. Lunch was served by
members of the local Germans from Russia Chapter.
Construction advanced well ahead of schedule with the completion
of the work on the Welk’s summer kitchen, buggy house/garage
and the sod house. Construction at the Welk farmstead has ceased.2
Growing up in the German-Catholic community of Hague, North Dakota
enriched my life with the full meaning of these German ethnics,
food, customs, music, and dance that still remain a big part of
The German Russian women bore large families and were equal to
men in working in the fields. As women shared the work of the farm
yard, so the men also had their duties within the art of making
Bratwurst (sausage) and hochzeitschnaps or “red eye”,
a potent alcoholic beverage flavored with burnt sugar.
Courtship and wedding customs received much attention as the German
Russians held elaborate festivals. The three-day celebration was
typically held at the home of the bride. The gala fiesta featured
an accordionist seated on the table providing the music of Polka’s
and Waltz’s. German singing was another very popular custom
of the time. These customs of German dance, music, song, kuchen,
and strudels are still common in our daily lives. Even today, the
“red eye” and German kuchen are symbols of a German
The German Russian wedding has become an important hallmark of
ethnic identity and the event is enjoyed by all.
German singing and dance was the basic means of entertainment at
the time as radio, T.V., and movies were not yet available.
The German Russians never lost faith in the “promise”
of “Amerika” as the countryside was filled with numerous
settlements, farmsteads, and rock piles.
Another noted feature is the church spires of the Cathedrals of
the prairies that garnish our rolling plains of the German-Russian
triangle. St. Mary’s Church of Hague, St. Peter and Paul’s
at Strasburg, and St. Anthony’s of Padua, Hoven, South Dakota;
being the most impressive with the Bavarian architecture.
Nonetheless, regardless of where North Dakota’s Black Sea
Germans may find themselves today, they are slowly coming to the
realization that theirs is a rich heritage to be proud of and to
be shared. The people who have found employment elsewhere find that
there is always a longing for how it was “daheim” (at
The Russian German made his greatest contribution to society in
the form of manual labor. He built a granary out of the steppes
I speak German Fluently and through the encouragement of friends,
became a member of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society 19 years
ago. In this organization, I have made life-long friends. Through
their inspiration, my interest in the lifestyles of our ancestors
was spurred on by leaps and bounds.
Thus, I started getting involved in family histories. My major
concern was to record the heritage of our forefathers along with
the genealogy of the prospective families. All this research has
led me to write and publish three books entitled: “The History
of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Town of Hague”;
“Hague Area Part II”; and “The Wanglers.”
Book one features the church’s beginning in Dakota land as
well as all the church records up to date; also the establishment
of the Hague community. “Hague Area Part II” focuses
on local family histories, customs, as well as local and state data.
“The Wanglers” is a family history featuring not only
statistics, but the hardships endured by our ancestors upon their
arrival in America; and also those who were unable to come to America.
I am currently communicating with several families from Germany.
It was through my efforts and a German letter I had placed in the
German Newspaper – Volk Auf Dem Weg – that the Jacob
Harsch family of West Germany found their relatives in North Dakota
in 1988. Mr. and Mrs. Harsch came to America in the summer of 1989
to meet their long lost relatives. They paid a visit to our farm
home and were most grateful.
As I bring this resume’ to a close, I must say that I am
indeed proud and honored to be of German Russian descent; living
in the heart of Dakota country where it all began.
1. Felix and I retired from farming in 1992; built
a new home at Strasburg, ND where we reside today. Our son, Duane,
and his wife, Eileen, currently farm all the land – now under
family ownership for 117 years.
2. But the birthplace of Lawrence Welk continues to attract tourists
– 3,000 plus annually; who are enlightened by life as it was
in the early 1900s.
3. To summarize the wholesome memories of life as it was during
the childhood years of my husband Felix and I – plus our 50
years of marriage and a family of 10 children – inspired me
to write and publish Yesterday and Today: A Journey Through
the Days of our Lives by Katie Glatt Walt, June 22, 2002 –
consisting of 470 pages and 2400 photos (mostly color).