Five Generations on Homestead

Neu, Leona. "Five Generations on Homestead." Prairies 7, no. 7: June/July 1984, 88-89.

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The history of the Woeszner homestead goes back to Beresina, Bessarabia, South Russia.

Jakob Woeszner was only three when his father died. His older brothers provided for him until he was 15. Then Jakob had to go by himself. Little is known about his life as a youth. He married Anna Marie Biederstadt. After their wedding, they ventured together to the new land of America, arriving in the spring of 1890.

They settled on the prairies of McIntosh County in Beresina District. A relative had come before to this area, so there was some comfort for the newcomers in the strange land.

To this couple, children were born as time went by. In 1897, there was a diphtheria epidemic. The Woeszner family lost three of their four children.

With lots of hard work and lonely and trying days, they proposed, adding more land to their homestead.

Their son, Jacob J., married Marie Sackmann in 1923. The senior Woeszners moved to Ashley in 1924.

Jacob J. and Marie took over the farm. Their efforts of farming were soon slowed down by the 1929 economic crash followed by the “Dirty 30s.” They used every means to hold on to their farm. As the years and crops got better, they enlarged the farm.

Their youngest daughter, Estella, remained on the homestead. Jacob and Marie retired from farming in 1947, and moved to Ashley where Jacob J. took up house building and other carpentry work.

Estella married Edwin Neu. Their aims and dreams were to raise purebred Hereford cattle. Their ranching efforts were successful. They still live on the farm.

Following in their footsteps is their son, Ralph, who grew up on the ranch and participated in 4H and F.F.A. He completed his college education at North Dakota State University, and returned to the ranch in 1977. He built his own home on the homestead. Ralph married Debra Schlenker.

The fifth generation of the family is three-year-old Shiloh.

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