Native Eurekan Celebrates Her Century Mark Sunday

Bergman, Linda ."Native Eurekan Celebrates Her Century Mark Sunday.", Northwest Blade, 11 July 2001.

Christina Knapp of Eureka observed her 100th birthday on Monday, July 9. An open house at her home was held in her honor on Sunday afternoon, July 8.

Christina Knapp was born on July 9, 1901, on a farm about thirteen miles northeast of Eureka in McPherson County. Her parents were Jacob D. and Katherina (Neuharth) Opp. She had thirteen brothers and sisters with three dying in infancy. Ten children remained which included three brothers and seven sisters. Today the only remaining siblings are Christina, her sister, Mrs. Gust (Martha) Mettler, who lives in Rapid City, in an assisted living center and her youngest sister, Mrs. Bert (Erna) Stroh, who lives in the Eureka Health Care Center.

Christina was raised on a farm and had to work hard along with her other siblings. She remembers a sod house on the premises that was used to keep fuel. She was born in a frame house that was built on the farmland. Growing up on a farm required everyone to participate in the chores. She occasionally helped with the fieldwork, but mostly helped with the housework. They had a few cattle, hogs and chickens. They made their own butter and baked their own bread. She still enjoys cooking strudles, dumplings, kuchen and cookies. She always had a big garden, but has a small one now.

She attended country school until the sixth grade when she stayed at home to help. She walked about a mile to school every day unless the weather was really bad and then her dad took her by horse and buggy. In the winter if the weather was too bad even for the horse and buggy, they just stayed home. In school, she learned reading, spelling and arithmetic and how to speak English. German was the language they spoke at home and at recess or when the teacher wasn't within hearing distance. One of her jobs at school was to clean the blackboard at the end of the school day.

She married Jacob Knapp in 1921 after a year's courtship. His parents were Johann and stepmother Elizabeth Spitzer and they lived about four miles down the road from Christina's homestead. Jacob's mother died when he was about four years old. The wedding took place at the church she attended between Leola and Hosmer and is now owned by the Hutterite colony. The reception was held in the family home.

Jacob and Christina started their own farming business following their marriage. They raised three children--Orville, Marietta and Phillipina. They moved into town in October of 1958. Jacob died December l, 1989. Orville and Marietta have also died.

Christina enjoyed going to barn dances on Sunday afternoons and remembers vividly hearing Lawrence Welk play at the country club the very first time it was held in Eureka. She has lived in the same house for 80 years even though some remodeling has taken place. This same house was moved to Eureka 43 years ago in the fall. She also remembers looking forward each year to the big 4th of July celebrations in Eureka. It was always a lot of fun.

Christina has kept busy by scrubbing her kitchen floor, cooking, and doing her own laundry. She enjoys reading and listening to the news on the radio. Her son-in-law took her on a small plane and she also flew on a jet to Florida. Going from horse and buggy to a jet is quite a change. She has kept her hands busy by making quilts, afghans and crocheting doilies that she passes along to her nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

She said,"I was very sickly as a child and never thought I would reach 100." Well, you made it, Christina, and it was a joy visiting with you.

Reprinted with permission of the Northwest Blade.

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