The Family History of John Jr. and Emilie (Treichel) Tietz

By Ruth Tietz DeNault, San Clemente, California

Denault, Ruth Tietz. "The Family History of John Jr. and Emilie (Treichel) Tietz." n.d.

Donation of Grandmother Emilie's Shawl

John Tietz Sr. and wife Karoline (Jeschke) Tietz and family lived in Petersthal and Leipzig, Bessarabia, South Russia. Many people in this area were dissatisfied with conditions, mostly political, and decided to emigrate to the United States. Being farmers, the Homestead Act lured them to settle in North Dakota, as earlier emigrants from the area had settled around Hebron, North Dakota and reported that virgin land was available and a railroad went through the area. The family set out on their journey in 1899, arriving through Canada on June 2, 1889.

The children of John Tietz Sr. were John (Emilie Treichel), Sophie (Adam Giese, Christian Lemke), Emanuel (Elisabeth Ganthner), Daniel (Rosie Ganthner), Mike (Mary Golden), and William (Emma Wentz).

The family was large. The oldest son, John Tietz, Jr .was born January 24, 1879, and had married Emilie Treichel while in Petersthal (at Tarutino) in March, 1899. She was born February 22, 1880.

Emilie Treichel was the daughter of Jacob and Julia (Buchholz) Treichel, and was born in Kloestitz, South Russia. She was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran church.

Winters in the area were long and severe. Emilie’s father Jacob and Grandfather Ludwig Treichel loaded their sled with produce to be traded for food for the family during the winter. The weather was fair when they set out, but a blizzard caught them on the return trip and they perished on the steppes of Bessarabia.

Widow Julia (Buchholz) Treichel could not provide for her children, so some were sent to work for other families in the area. Emilie, about 10 years of age, was sent to another village to tend cows and care for children. (Marie Buchwitz Miller, who also lived in New Leipzig, North Dakota, remembered that Emilie came to their home to work.) After confirmation, an important milestone for Lutherans, she was hired by others to help with chores of all kinds until her marriage in Tarutino on March 11, 1899. Her brothers were Edward and Jacob Treichel. The sister’s name is not recorded.

Her hand woven shawl of blue and white wool was one of the few personal possessions Emilie had when she came to the United States as a bride and soon to be new mother. She entrusted the shawl to her daughter-in-law Katherine (Hertz) Tietz, Robert’s wife, in her later years who then gave it to her daughter Ruth (Tietz) DeNault. Emilie would wrap and cradle her children and grandchildren as she held them in her shawl.

The John Tietz, Sr. family, including John Tietz, Jr. and Emilie (Treichel) Tietz came to the United States on June 2, 1899, entering through Canada. The eight day voyage on the Atlantic was difficult. Passengers were allowed to bring bedding, clothing and baskets of food, mostly hard rolls or buns. Food served on ships was mostly steamed, not food to which the immigrants were accustomed.

Arriving in the Hebron, North Dakota area, John Jr. and Emilie worked as farmhands on a ranch owned by Christian Hintz, who had come there earlier. In later years Mr. Hintz was responsible for the growth of Odessa, North Dakota and built a number of houses there. While on the Hintz ranch, the first child, Bertha was born in December of 1899.

In the spring of 1901, John Jr. and Emilie Tietz moved to their homestead 14 miles north of later day New Leipzig adjoining the homestead of John Tietz, Sr. It was a busy time building shelters of timbers with the native rock, clay and soil for the family and for the livestock. The earliest building was a combination long dwelling with adjoining barn. The two bedroom home had floors of packed clay with sand sprinkled over it after sweeping.

The immigrants found the land strewn with buffalo bones from the buffalo hunts which previously slaughtered the large herds of the native bison. After the Battle of Wounded Knee when the Indians were placed on reservations, John and Emilie told of seeing encampments of Indians on the hills near them. They would break out of the reservations to go about their traditional hunting. They did not pose a threat of any kind.

Prairie fires were a constant fear of the settlers. Everyone had to defend their homes and barns with plow breaks and gunny sacks moistened to beat out the flames. These plow breaks could be seen 25 years later. The strong winds would sweep over the prairies with a vengeance. My father, Robert Tietz, was born with a large red birthmark around his waist. His mother, Emilie, always believed it was the result of her fighting a prairie fire when she was expecting his birth.

Blizzards were a constant threat to the settlers, with barns and sheds being covered with snow, and farmers needing to tunnel to tend to the animals. Farmers would tie a rope from the house to the barns to prevent getting disoriented and lost during blizzards.

Thirteen children were born to this marriage, and twelve survived to adulthood. Bertha (Emil Zeissler) was born Dec. 18, 1899, and died May 17, 1979. Mary (Robert Kautz) was born December 27. 1901. Reinhold (Josephine Jakober) was born October 17, 1903, and died January 16, 1974. Robert (Katherine Hertz) was born September 15, 1905. Robert died October 31, 1964. Edward (Hilda Haase) was born September 22, 1906. Emil was born August 3, 1908 and died in 1910 in the year of the flu. Albert (Adelia Garve) was born September 23, 1910. Helen (Rev. Otto Iszler) was born April 6, 1913. Arthur (Lydia Baesler) was born July 22, 1915. Oscar (Virginia Scardi) was born July 24, 1918, and died September 23, 1973. Edna (Roy) was born March 29, 1920. Theodore (Mattie) was born April 12, 1922. Elsie (Dan Hintz, Ted Eisenbarth) was born July 30, 1923.
I am sorry this list is not complete with dates of death, and requires further research.

Bertha and Mary remembered their frustration as their younger brothers were digging in the floor of the home with spoons, as a sand pile.

Death from a heart attack came suddenly to John Tietz, Sr. in 1901, and he was buried in a country cemetery where a future church was planned, but did not materialize. Trinity Lutheran Church was build north of that site. Robert Tietz was the first child baptized at Trinity. Today it is a museum, and used for occasional church services. John Sr.’s widow Karoline lived in New Leipzig in her later years, and died at the home of her son Emmanuel on July 12, 1927. Their remains are now in the New Leipzig cemetery.

Another fire incident happened several years later. Permission had been granted to dig flat rocks on land owned by the state that was used for pasture. It was hard work to dig up the hills and haul the rocks to the farm, probably with a stone boat, but John Tietz Jr. did not relax until he had built a barn of mortar and stone 40 feet wide and 100 feet long. The roof was of wood hauled by a horse team from Glen Ullin. The completed structure had stalls for many work horses, feed bins near the doors and a harness room where repairs could be made easily during the winter months.

The homesteads of John Tietz, Jr. and his widowed mother Karoline were in sight of each other. John’s younger brothers lived with there mother a half mile to the north. Dan Tietz awoke early one morning to see an unusual redness in the sky, and ran to John and Emilie’s homestead to alert them, but it was too late to salvage anything from the burning barn, where the animals died in the flames.

Tools and harnesses and livestock had to be replaced. A wooden barn was built on the site, and some of the salvaged rocks were used to build a cattle barn. Other barns and farm buildings were also built from native rock and soil before the fine wooden home was constructed of timber brought from the railroad to the north at Glen Ullin, a day’s journey in each direction. The summer kitchen stood apart from the home, and was the storage for sausages and meats throughout the winter. It always had the delightful fragrance of smoked sausage.

The white two story wood home was well built and spacious with five rooms downstairs and five rooms upstairs. There were porches on both levels, with the lower porch later being enclosed. The kitchen was large to accommodate the family with a long kitchen table and a bench behind the table where the boys always sat. The kitchen had a cupboard, ice box and cream separator plus a smaller table for fresh baked bread and
kuchen. A pantry was nearby. Later a kitchen sink was added after water was piped in and a power plant was installed run by a motor in the basement and later by a wind charger. The upper level had an open space at the top of the stairs where the sons would gather to play their musical instruments, a delight for everyone.

On the first floor next to the grandfather clock was a pump organ. In another room was a player piano, and a Murphy bed, which delighted the grandchildren. On Sunday evenings the children and grandchildren would gather at the organ to sing hymns and traditional songs. The farm was hard work for the children of John and Emilie, but a joy for the grandchildren. A large mattress hammock was strung beneath the cotton wood trees where they could play, as well as at the sharpening wheel or in the horse buggy stored in the horse barn. And there was always ice in the ice house ready to be made into home made ice cream

The farm had many cows, horses, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, sheep and exotic peacocks. It was a thriving and largely self sufficient enterprise. John Tietz, Jr was a strict disciplinarian, particularly with his sons. When the family gathered for meals, always begun with prayer, conversation was discouraged.

In later years when the extended family would gather, the men would have noon dinner on Sunday, then the children would have their meal, and finally the women would have their meal at leisure before doing the clean up chores.

At harvest, sheep shearing or butchering season, all the sons and families would return to the family farm to help with the work. Some of the sons had adjoining farms, and the family would assist each other in the harvest. Emilie preferred to help in the fields in the early years, letting her daughters do most of the cooking, baking and baby sitting. She set a brisk work pace.

During the years leading to World War II and during that war Emilie wrote to her sisters in Bessarabia. She sent them clothing and money to help them through the difficulties and privation they were suffering. Then she no longer heard from them, as they had been removed from their homeland and sent away to an unknown fate. Emilie’s mother had remarried and at least two children were born to that marriage.

John Tietz, Jr. died on May 15, 1945 of a heart attack while he was visiting his farm, walking along a grove of trees at the entrance which he had planted some forty years earlier. He lived 66 years, three months and 21 days. He was a head deacon at Trinity Lutheran Church for 29 years and was well respected for his faith, industrious work ethic and his honesty.

John and Emilie had retired to New Leipzig. He planned to leave the well developed and prosperous farm to his son Oscar, then with the U. S. Army in Germany. When Oscar returned from war he did not wish to return to farming after his war experiences. The farm was sold. The original two story home was torn down, and the lumber was reused to build a modern home on the site.

Emilie continued living in New Leipzig near many of her children and grandchildren. until 1955 when she sold the home and moved to the Good Samaritan Home in Elgin, North Dakota. Sunday, November 19, 1957 Emilie suffered a stroke and was taken to the Elgin Hospital where she died November 26, 1957. She lived 77 years, 9 months and 4 days. She set an excellent example of motherhood for her children and grandchildren.

Services for John Tietz Jr. and Emilie Treichel Tietz were held at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Leipzig, and they are buried in the New Leipzig Lutheran cemetery south of the town. Blessed be their memory!

Ruth Tietz DeNault, daughter of Robert Tietz and Katherine Hertz Tietz 4-29-2007

John Tietz Jr. and Emilie (Treichel) Tietz family portrait taken about 1927

Back row: left to right: Bertha (1899), Albert (1910), Edward (1906), Robert (1905), Reinhold (1903), Helen (1910), and Mary (1901).

Front row: left to right: Theodore (1922), Edna (1920), John Jr.(father), Arthur(1915), Emilie (mother), Elsie (1923), and Oscar ( 1918).

Emil Tietz died of the flu in 1910 at the age of 2 years.
The family lived on a farm 14 miles North of New Leipzig, North Dakota.



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