Graf - Buck Family Heritage:
Family Photographs and Memories of Streeter, North Dakota


Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries,
Fargo, North Dakota, 2005, 183 pages, softcover

Family portrait of Theobald "Teddy" Graf and Fredericka Enztminger Graf with Rose, Arthur "Teddy" and Minna Italia (without Mary), Streeter, North Dakota. Circa 1909.
Photo taken in 1875 in Odessa, Ukraine (South Russia) relating to the Buck family.
Wedding portrait of Karl Hirning and Dorothea "Dora" Buck. Circa 1913.
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to announce publication of this important book, Graf - Buck Family Heritage. In July of 2001, David, Katherine and Philip Westine donated to the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection from the estate of their mother, Gertrude Buck Westine, what is now the archival "Ludwig, Jr. and Christina Graf Buck Collection." After reviewing this valuable gift including the family history, photographs, recipes and letters, the idea of a publication was developed which became reality with this book. The book is dedicated in memory of Dr. David Westine.

The book includes these sections: 1) Family Commentaries; 2) Buck Family including the Ancestral Tree of Ludwig Buck, Jr. and Family Photographs; 3) Graf Family including the Ancestral Tree of John Graf, Jr. and Family Photographs; 4) Adolph and Wilhelmina Buck Graf including collected photographs, Tanta's Recipes, and the Mittleider Letters; and 5) Recipes and Photographs of Katherine Etalene Graf Knalson. There is a detailed index for the book.

Phyllis Knalson Bancroft writes: "Helping compile this book of heritage flooded me with memories, both mine and those recalled and told by my cousins. I especially remember the women with awe: the aunts and "Tantas." Great Aunt "Tanta," the matriarch of Streeter, was my grandma's sister, Wilhelmina (Minnie) Buck-Graf. This book has been both a point of curiosity and a labor of love. I could selfishly think of this publication as "Mama's Book" or "Katie's Book," but it is truly a story of all the Graf-Buck women. Their indomitable spirit infused their children with courage, energy, a strong work ethic, and a value of education. These qualities to us third and fourth generation Americans confirm a sense of pride in our German-Russian heritage."

Patsy Knalson Ramberg writes: "My earliest memories of family are that we were Germans from Russia who settled in Streeter. The family was reluctant to tell any more about the family than that. As time passed, my mother, Katie, began to become curious about the people who came before, even those who stayed in Russia. She kept in especially close contact with her brothers and sisters. She was the ninth of 12 children. The family become Americanized largely through education. Four of the sons and at least two of the daughters were educated beyond high school. They became a minister, a banker, a farmer, aviators, and teachers."

Philip Westine writes: "I have always known that music and education were extremely important in the Buck family. Six of my grandparents' seven children earned college diplomas and all were musically talented. I was five years old when I took my first piano lesson from Aunt Martha. I still play the piano and am thankful for my mother's (Gertrude) and Martha's insistent encouragement. As I got older, I enjoyed walking or riding my uncle's chrome bicycle, all around Streeter, seeing yards and gardens with older women tending them in "Babushka" scarves and long, black dresses."

Katherine Westine writes: "As a child, I loved the Old World feeling of things in my grandmother's and aunts' houses: the "feather beds," the "plachts" (woven blankets with dark and deep colors), the old Edison phonograph with the many cylinders, and especially the food (Strudel, Kaese Knopf, Kuchen, and sausage). My grandmother would always spoil us by letting us eat a bit of the dough before the Strudels were put into the kettle."

The book's section, "The Story Told by the Mittleider Letters," were written in Blumenfeld (Caucasus) within a short period (1929-1930). They revel tragedy of the Russian German farmers in the Soviet Union in a most dramatic sequence.

Recipes of Wilhelmina "Minnie" Buck published in the book include: Pickled Cherries, Chocolate Pie, Date Pudding, Rhubarb Wine, Dandelion Wine, Grape Juice, Carrot Pudding, Farmer's Fruit Cake, Spice Cake, Raisin Cake, Sour Milk Cookies, Sour Cream Cookies, Donut Balls, Anise Cookies and Leb Kuchen.

The section, "Germans from Russia Recipes," are produced exactly as Katie Graf Knalson jotted them down on recipe cards. Recipes include: For Buns, Kuchen, Christmas Bread, Gra'mama's Cookies (Herrschen Salz), Stroodle, Kaese Knoepfla and Halupsi.

Wedding party portrait of Buck family relatives. Photographer is Gottlieb Lang, Friedenstal, Bessarabia. Circa 1906-1911.
Interior of the Graf and Buck dry goods store at Streeter owned by Adolf Buck. Circa 1908.
George J. Wentz house and fenced yard in Streeter, North Dakota. Standing in front of the house are mother Margaretha Graf Wentz (Christina Graf Buck's sister) and her three daughters. Circa 1912.

Graf-Buck Family Heritage: Family Photographs and Memories

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