Pioneer History of the Strasburg Community: Feist, Burgad, Baumgartner and Bauman Blazed Trail for German-Russian Settlers in 1888

Baumgartner, John J. "Pioneer History of the Strasburg Community: Feist, Burgad, Baumgartner and Bauman Blazed Trail for German-Russian Settlers in 1888." Emmons County Record, 1984.

This year 1934 is one for celebration for all the people of Emmons county, especially the pioneer settlers. In 1884 Emmons was organized as a county, and it is now that we are to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. Because of this fact the old pioneers, as well as the present generation, have causes to rejoice.

It was during the fall of 1888 that the first settlers from South Russia in order to establish for themselves new homes in a new country. These first settlers were Jacob Feist, Joseph Burgad, Joseph Baumgartner and Sebastion Bauman. Because of the fact that these early people were looking for freedom and good land in America, and found it; and because they were so well pleased with the present location of Strasburg; and because they found there were great opportunities for others from their country, a movement was started for more settlers from their country.

More Soon Followed

This invitation was answered by the arrival soon afterwards of many of their friends. This second group included the families of John, Frank, and Jacob Baumgartner, Casper Feist, Albinus Schneider, Peter Kraft, Jacob Gefreh, Franz Gisinger, Egidius Keller, Martin Schwab, Lorenz Schwab and Phillip Keller. All of these took up their homesteads in the vicinity of Strasburg. They arrived on May 7, 1889, and on that same afternoon began to build their little sod huts.

Those first settlers found nothing but a vast expanse of prairie land, which at the time of their coming had just been burned over by a prairie fire. The first night after their arrival was accompanied by rain and snow. It rained for three days and conditions became so bad that some of the people were forced to seek protection under their wagon boxes.

Eureka was the closest railroad station and also the closest place where these people could find any market. In those days, of course roads were poor. What the people had to face during days of rain, snow and cold is hard for the younger generation to comprehend. Now we are moving along over improved highways in high-powered cars. In those days the best and fastest means of transportation was a team of oxen, or if a settler was fortunate enough, a team of horses.

The first two years of 1889 and 1890 were failures; but the year 1891 was such a good one for crops that it is talked of even to this day. This good year gave encouragement to these downhearted people and it was with renewed energy that they resolved to make the country their future home. More and more land was broken up, and new homes were built. The people began to love their new country and the freedom that it gave them in their enjoyment of a livelihood.

____??_____ first church. Their little place of worship was built on the homestead of Casper Feist about two miles north of the present site of Strasburg. With the completion of the railroad in 1902 the church was moved to Strasburg. Later this wooden building was replaced by a beautiful brick structure in the year 1910.

The first inhabitants of the town of Strasburg were John J. Baumgartner and Raphael Volk and their families. The coming of the railroad was followed by the quick growth of the village which in a few years had grown into a prosperous center for the community. Its citizens enjoyed living in it.

Today—after 45 years—these people can truly look back and view their accomplishments with pride and with a happy feeling that they have been duly rewarded for their hardships.

They have seen this community unfold itself from a mere nothingness to a prosperous, well-to-do, town.


Ludwig Senger, Hague; Mrs. Katherina Fischer, Roscoe, S. Dak.; Mrs. Helena Dilman, Strasburg; Egidi Keller, Sr., Strasburg; Mrs. Agatha Keller, Strasburg; John Keller, Strasburg; Karl Keller, Strasburg; Mrs. Regina Brickner, Strasburg; Mrs. Mariana Rohrich, Strasburg; Joseph Burgad, Strasburg; Mrs. Margaretha Burgad, Strasburg; Valentine Keller, Strasburg; Johannes Baumgartner, Sr., Strasburg; Mrs. Katharina Joseph Baumgartner, Strasburg; Mike Baumgartner, Strasburg; John J. Baumgartner, Strasburg; Anton J. Baumgartner, Leopold Baumgartner, Strasburg; Mrs. Ottilia M. Baumgartner, Strasburg; Mrs. Elisabetha J. Baumgartner, Strasburg; Mrs. Martha J. Baumgartner, Strasburg; Mrs. Marianna D. Baumgartner, Strasburg; Josabina Unszer, Strasburg; Elisabetha Kraft, Strasburg; Stephan Kraft, Strasburg; Grigori Kraft, Strasburg; Peter P. Kraft, Strasburg; Ferdinand Kraft Jr., Strasburg; Mary Feist, Strasburg; Anna Kuss, Strasburg; Mrs. Katharina Bauman, Strasburg; Joseph F. Baumgartner, Strasburg; Peter F. Baumgartner, Strasburg; Margaretha Wald, Strasburg; John A. Baumgartner, Strasburg; Anton A. Baumgartner, Strasburg; Joseph K. Feist, Strasburg; Kasper K. Feist, Strasburg; Mrs. Magdalena Gross, Strasburg; Mrs. Barbara Feist, Strasburg; Mrs. Regina Schwab, Strasburg; Egidi Schwab, Strasburg; Sager Ver Hoven, Strasburg; Rika Ver Hoven, Strasburg; Mrs. Wm. Dykema, Strasburg.

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