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Theodore Lang

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Glückstal church memories as recalled in 1999 by Theodore Lang:

The very first pastor to serve at Gluckstal Lutheran Church was Pastor Heinrich Nagel, who was also shared with four other parishes: Neudorf, St. Peter, St. Luke, and Friedens. The first pastor called was William Burrach. He came to Gluckstal in 1918 from Danzig, N. D., and I believe this was his first call to the ministry after his ordination. He was the pastor that baptized my brother Leo in 1918 and my sister Ella in 1920. He was a violin player. We didn’t have an organ at the time, so he played the fiddle for hymn singing.

Our second pastor’s last name was Badenschneider who was a widower with a son and daughter and all were also stationed in Danzig, N.D at the time. He then came by train to Napoleon, N.D. When they had a Saturday service they needed a two night place to stay, and I remember them staying at the Lang’s sod earth rammed house as well as with other church members. Pastor Nagel resumed preaching at Gluckstal in 1924.

Pastor Nagel, had two sorrels (fox colored ponies) and they needed oats, ground barley and hay, and he would request those from church members. Before the graded road was built 1929, the immediate churchyard was a clean place because everyone hitched their animals outside of the yard. There were hitching posts outside the fence and there is still evidence of those with concrete anchors on the slopes of the ditch on the west side of the road where the horses and ponies, that the young men rode to church services, were tied.. I well remember August Jerke, Jacob Rittel, Jacob and Conrad Stadel, Gotthilf and Jacob Lang, Christ Werre, and Reinhold, John, Jr., Rudolph and Jacob Mertz, were some of the young men who rode on horseback to church. The buggies were small and the front seats were reserved for the drivers and mothers with infants and the rest of the family sat in the rear or back seat. The John Mertz, Sr. and Jacob Werre, Jr. families came in cars after they came into fashion, and they parked outside the fence too until 1929. After all the boys were confirmed, they sat behind the men, which was a tradition carried on from dorf Glückstal in Russia, but that was a bad idea according to grandma Elizabeth Lang who said that she did not like that practice because these young guys should be in Sunday school and the boys and girls should not be separated. The young women were especially interested in getting married by the time they were eighteen years old. Most anytime after that age, they considered themselves “old-maids.”

Steam Threshing Days:

I can well remember seeing five threshing rigs in operation at the same time with the accompanying smoke stacks on a rather calm days in the early 1920’s. The scene of this was north of the range of hills the Tappen, ND. “Buffalo Pitts” was the name of the rig that the Conrad Lang’s had and that they shared with John Albrecht. My father furnished the coal and hauled it with a grain box and because he did so, the fee for his threshing was less. Three miles south of the Lang farmstead the Ed Caffrey threshing rig used twelve bundle racks (hay wagons) with four “spike pitchers,” two by the machine and two out in the fields loading up bundles. All the helpers were paid $12.00 a day. Part of the bundle rack team was my uncle John Neumiller who worked for the Ed Caffrey rig. The boiler of the Pete Monson rig is still on site at section 24 the Einar Anderson homestead in Glendale Township. The total number of threshing sites were: 1). The hills north of Tappen, 2). Conrad Lang’s, 3). The Caffrey Place, 4). Pete Muson’s rig, and 5). The John Hochhalter site. Overlooking Alkaline Lake there is a three county junction: Logan/Kidder/Stutsman. South of Napoleon there were steam threshing rigs as well, run by the John Silbernagel, Sr, Steve Richter, and Conrad Wald. John Silbernagel, Sr. was the engineer and the separator man.

Anton C. Wald related to me that he was an engineer on his father’s threshing rig at a very young age. He also related to me that the Bitz rig was stuck for six weeks because they were trying to cross the creek to save moving mileage. Had they gone a mile or two farther west they would have had no problems crossing. After the machine was stuck, the Bitz’s hauled in rocks from the surrounding rock piles to the site, to gain footing, to get the machine out. A Mr. Herman told me in 1936 that a similar incident happened at Jud, North Dakota where an engine or maybe a grain separator too got stuck in a sink hole. The rig sunk until only the smoke stack was visible.

The Ed Caffrey rig was a J. D. Case brand and the Pete Monson rig was a Nicholas Shepard’s brand. In 1928, the Nicholas Shepard rig was used for the last time, because the boiler tubes leaked. The Tom Harrison rig was passing by the Fred Lang farmstead and needed some water for their steamer which was taken from the livestock tank. This action shorted the Lang’s supply of water for their animals.

A Retrospective of Horses from the Spanish-American War to Their Involvement in My Life. . .

Horses were last extensively used in warfare in the Spanish-American War in 1898, and Grandma Elizabeth Humamm Lang (born 9/27/1854) was a mere four years older than President Theodore Roosevelt, and she came to America in 1907 at the age of 52 Of course, Teddy Roosevelt’s Roughriders waged war in 1898 when he was 44 years old. My grandpa, Johan Roesch Jr., was a cavalryman just prior to 1898 in Russia. My father-in-law, Philip Gums, served one extra year as a cavalryman for a total of years and served extra because of the Ruuso-Japanese conflict from 1904 to 1905. The meaning of the name “Phillip” is “horseman” in Greek. World War I marked the transistion from the era of horse “power” to the realm of machinery driven war weaponry. Jumping into the third millennium, things have become almost completely motorized, and we are at the mercy of fossil fuels. Of course we used fuel as well, although it was not always fossil. We used “mischt” (cow manure) and coal.

One miscellaneous story I remember is of John Huft, Sr. who died because of a thigh-bone break due to a fall on slippery ground while chasing a hog, and he did not get immediate or any medical help. Also, Kathrina Huft , a daughter of John Huft, Sr., died of pneumonia at home and she also received no medical help. Both of those incidents happened in 1923.

In the summer of 1999, Alvin Ackerman, from McLaughlin, S. D. the son of Mary Oster who is a daughter of Christ Oster, Jr. and a grandson of Christ Jr. stopped by at my home and told of me of his grandfather’s fall off of a barn rooftop in which he suffered broken ribs, and rib injuries, it is well known, need emergency care. He, subsequently, died of his injuries. That happened on the place currently owned by Billy Hoffer, in Kidder County. This land was sold orginally to Jacob Kemmet in 1921 at an auction sale.


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