Woman Celebrates 104th Birthday
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
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
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
The oral interview with Matilda Schlenker Dockter
appears at the following Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
(GRHC) website page: http://library.ndsu.edu/gerrus/interviews/dockter.html.
For other oral interviews, see the GRHC website at "Oral