Streeter Woman Celebrates 104th Birthday

Schumacher, Jennifer J. K. "Streeter Woman Celebrates 104th Birthday." Napoleon Homestead.

When Matilda (Schlenker) Dockter of Streeter, ND was born, Grover Cleveland was President of the United States, the Civil War was 30 years old and the Wright Brothers had not taken their first airplane flight.

Matilda recently celebrated her 104th birthday with family and friends in Streeter.

She was born on July 31, 1895 in South Russia (Klöstitz, Bessarabia). Her parents were John and Christina Schlenker and they made their living by farming. When Matilda was 7 years old, she immigrated to the United States with her parents and 7 brothers and sisters.

Matilda remembers the 21-day journey across the Atlantic ocean, "I recall that the ship was very crowded and the weather was very bad. I also remember that everyone was very sick from the constant motion of the ship." When Matilda's family arrived in New York, the two youngest children in the family died and were buried in New York. The family traveled to Kulm, ND where they stayed with friends until they were able to build their own sod home near Gackle. The family grew to include 13 children.

In 1915, Mahtilda married August Dockter and they also became farmers and the parents of 7 children. Matilda's husband died in 1954. Matilda has lived on her own in Streeter up until one year ago when she moved in with her daughter, Vi Remboldt of Streeter.

Matilda admits to some medical problems but states "I don't want to mumble or grumble." She is no longer able to do her long time hobbies of quilting or making braid rugs, but she does enjoy visiting and attends church every Sunday.

When asked about the secrets to her longevity, Matilda states, "I always worked hard and kept moving." Matilda is looking forward to turning 105 years old so she can say that she lived in 3 different centuries.

Reprinted with permission of the Napoleon Homestead, Napoleon, North Dakota.

Note: On 21 September 1994, Michael M. Miller completed an oral interview with Matilda Schlenker Dockter at Streeter, North Dakota. Assisting with the interview was Lillian Mayer Schlecht, rural Medina, North Dakota. When we arrived at Matilda's home in Streeter, she was in working in her garden and still living alone.

The oral interview with Matilda Schlenker Dockter appears at the following Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) website page: For other oral interviews, see the GRHC website at "Oral History."

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller