Lena Roesch

Lena lived in three different centuries

1899 - 2001


Owen Picton

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Lena Roesch

Lena Roesch

Lena Roesch was born Magdalena Christina Rösch on 19 Oct 1899 in Richardson County, Nebraska and died 24 March 2001 at Falls City, Richardson County, Nebraska. I think her baptismal certificate shows her name written in German because my Mother had her name written in German on her baptismal certificate. Aunt Lena had her Grandmother on her Mothers side named Magdalena and an Aunt on her fathers side named Magdalena (Lena).

Lena lived in three different centuries to the age of 101 years old. Her parents had immigrated from Graben, Baden, Germany as children or young adults. The Roesch family was her parents with five boys and three girls. Their names are Lena Christina, Jacob Frederick, Mary Bertha, Henry Otto, Martha Eliza (my mother), Walter Elmer, Wilbur Herbert, and Edgar Robert. The last three younger boys: Walter, Wilbur and Edgar were born in Kansas. I think the three sisters took care of these three boys as they grew up but do not know who took care of who. Lena spent her teaching career at Kemmerer, Wyoming. A lot on this webpage would be the same for her brothers and sisters.

My cousin Cathy Ebmeier recently ask me some questions about Aunt Lena after she visited Kemmerer, Wyoming. This caused me to write the following about Aunt Lena as best as I can remember from information I had, plus answering Cathy's questions. Cathy asked and said the following related to her visit to Kemmerer, Wyoming where Aunt Lena taught school. Cathy said: "Her Dad did mention, as my mother did, how the kids put the apples out to dry each day on the roof and brought them in at night. He talked about how each sister took care of one of the little boys. I think his sister was Lena, but I'm not sure. Kemmerer is a coal town of about 2,500 people. We thought about Lena quite a bit, and wondered a lot about how she ended up there. I don't think I ever heard any stories about that. Did she know someone there? Did she take the train to get there? Did any family ever go visit her there? Did she have a house there? Did she ever go back to visit after she left? There is not an elementary school in town now, it is a county consolidated school. I did find a Lutheran Church (LCMS) which might be where she went. It seemed like a strung out town, not that great for someone that would have walked everywhere. Anyway, just wondered if you knew anything about why she ended up in Kemmerer or had any stories about her time there."

These are my answers. School systems like Kemmerer, Wyoming had a difficult time hiring school teachers. They had to pay a larger salary to obtain a teacher to teach in Kemmerer, Wyoming. I think Lena taught in Kemmerer, Wyoming because she could make more money teaching there than she could make at Falls City, Nebraska. I do not think she knew anyone in Kemmerer, Wyoming before she taught there. I do not know how she traveled to Kemmerer, Wyoming but I would guess by train because that is how one normally traveled if you did not have a car. I do not think she knew how to drive a car because she had to have her father take her to Midland College. My Mother Martha did not know how to drive either. I do not think Aunt Lena owned a house in Kemmerer but she did buy a house in Falls City when she retired. I do not know if she ever went back for a visit to Kemmerer, Wyoming.

Lena's Parents Life before Kansas

Old Falls City History before Lena's ancestors came to Richardson County, Nebraska. Plus there is Falls City history where now the old Falter's Clothing Store now stands which was part of the Falls City underground railroad. This location was used to hid run away slaves on the underground railroad. This all happen only about 25 to 30 years before our ancestors arrived (life had been very primitive in about 1855 to 1860). Our ancestors moved into an area with all this recent history.

Jacob F. Roesch and twin brother William were born on December 13, 1838 in Graben, Baden, Germany. Graben was a village, and Baden was a district (state). Jacob Roesch and Christina Rapp married on November 10, 1868. Christina (Katie) Magdalena Rapp was born December 12, 1833 in Buchenberg in the state of Badschwartzwald in the Black Forest Area in Germany. They lived in Graben, Baden, Germany where they had met while Christina (Katie) taught school.

Jacob Roesch was a weaver, tailor and shoemaker. He made his own wedding shirt. He started by growing his own flax. He made the thread, wove the cloth, and sewed the shirt. This hand spun, hand woven linen wedding shirt was made by my great grandfather Jacob Roesch for his wedding to Christina (Katie) Rapp in 1868.

Jacob Roesch I think spelled his name in Gernamy as Yakub Rösch. On his wedding shirt he sewed his initials in red as Y R with a dot over the Y. It is felt that the two red initials stand for Yakub Rösch. The first initial letter Y with a dot over it is reported to be the old-fashioned representation of the letter Y, which is how the Germans pronounce the J in Jakub---as Yakub (we say Jacob). They say a capital J and Y are interchangeable in German. Another comment, in Latin a *J* is rendered as an *I*. The original spelling of the Roesch name in Germany was Rosch with an umlaut over the o. When my great-grandfather Jacob Roesch came to America he got his citizenship papers. When he got his citizenship papers, they told him to spell his name as Roesch. The wedding shirt must be about 3 feet long with two initials in red in the lower left hand corner of the shirt. The shirt buttons down the back.

Jacob Roesch Wedding Shirt (Lena's Grandpa)

Jacob Roesch Wedding Shirt Initials (Lena's Grandpa)

Lena Roesch said that whenever her grandparents, Jacob and Christina (Katie) Roesch would have another baby in Germany, the whole family would go stay with Katie (Rapp) Roesch's parents except for her grandfather Jacob Roesch. Jacob Roesch could only go to the border of the nation he lived in and was not allow to go beyond the border. This was before Germany was united into one nation.

Aunt Lena Roesch in August 1997 related these comments. She said her Grandmother Katie Roesch had also been both a Lutheran deaconess and a kindergarten teacher. Her Grandmother Katie had a job teaching kindergarten in the town where Grandfather Jacob Roesch lived and met grandfather when they both were in their early 30's. Katie taught kindergarten for fifteen years before her marriage. This would make Katie one of the first Kindergarten teachers in the world because that occupation did not exist before about the 1850's. She said her Grandmother liked nice things and had some nice things such as a musical instrument. She said it was made of mahogany and was box shaped and maybe a yard wide with a keyboard.

Chuck and Nancy Cheshire report that records show that Jacob Roesch age 40 and occupation as weaver, wife Christina (spelled Christne) age 45, and five children arrived in New York on February 17, 1879 (their son, Henry's, 7th birthday) abroad the ship, Donau. The twins Lena and Lydia listed with the age of 11 months instead of their real age of 1 year 11 months. They had left from the German port at Bremen three weeks before. They were processed at Castle Garden on an island off the southwest tip of Manhattan. (The circular, red stone foundation of Castle Garden stands today in Battery Park. On the ship 4 passengers were in the first cabin and 8 passengers in the second cabin. The remaining 100 passengers (including the Roesch family) were in the steerage (economy class). The Statue of Liberty was not there at the time of their arrival.

My Great Grandpa Jacob Roesch and his family Great Grandma Katie, 4 daughters, and a son Grandpa Henry Roesch) came to Nebraska (in 1879) from Graben-Baden, Germany. They came to America for health reasons because Katie (my Great Grandma) was not well and the doctors in Germany recommended the move. After spending three weeks on the Atlantic Ocean, they arrived in New York City. Not being able to speak English they had some very humorous experiences in New York City. Since most of the immigrants from their part of Germany were settling in Richardson County, Nebraska, they decided to come here. From New York City to Falls City. Nebraska, they came by railway. They settled in a German community northeast of Falls City. The Becker family near Verdan, NE helped them get settled in this country. On April 3, 1879 Jacob Roesch bought 80 acres in the southeastern quarter of section one of Ohio Township in Richardson County, Nebraska from William and Maria Elizabeth Becker for $1,000 or $12.50 an acre. The Roesch family made their home on this farm. They were members of St. John's Lutheran Church, a rural church near their home. Jacob Roesch sold his farm to his son-in-law, Paul Grossoehmig, on March 1, 1905 for $5,350.

After they were here about a year my Great Grandmother (Christina (Katie) Roesch) died with T.B. on March 5, 1881, leaving my Great Grandpa (Jacob Roesch) a widower with 5 children. Jacob Roesch raised his children alone after the death of their mother. The children were Anna, age 11 years, (my line) Henry Jacob, age 9 years, Mary age 7 years and the 5 year old twins, Lena and Lydia. Jacob Roesch never remarried after the death of his wife. It is related that they did not do very well cooking and cleaning. Great Grandpa planted about 20 acres of grape vines but he was not much of a farmer and after about 10 years his son-in-law (Paul Grossoehmig) plowed them up and started farming the ground.

Roesch Family Story - Coming to Richardson County, Nebraska - About Lena (Roesch) Huettner - Sister to my Grandfather Henry Roesch Sr. and the Aunt of my Mother Martha Eliza (Roesch) Picton.

Walnut Wardrobe made from native Nebraska walnut wood by Jacob Roesch in 1880

Aunt Lena's Grandparents on her Mothers side were Frederick and Magdalene Zimmermann.

Little is known about Frederick, but his children loved him very much because he was always so good to his children. He enjoyed singing very much. He and his family spent lots of evenings singing. They were all good singers.

Frederick Zimmermann's occupation was weaving. He was a weaver in Graben, Baden, Germany. They spelled Zimmermann ending with two n's but it was changed here. The Zimmermann's and their neighbors lived in the village of Graben, each had a tract of land outside the village, where they raised their food, also food and pasture for their cow. The women and children usually took care of the tract of land. Dennis Herbster reports that his dad Henry always said that the Mack, Mangold, Merz, and Zimmerman families came to Nebraska together from Graben, Baden.

Zimmerman Family Story - Life in Germany - As Remembered by Eliza (Zimmerman) Hey - Sister to my Grandmother Mary (Zimmerman) Roesch and Aunt to my Mother Martha Eliza (Roesch) Picton

In 1887, Frederick and Magdalena Zimmermann came to America after their oldest son, Karl, had to go in compulsory military training. I think that Lena's Grandma Magdalena Zimmermann felt she had no choice but come to America. Magdalena Zimmermann had a Grandfather ( Jakob Friedrich GAMER ) drafted into Napoleons army and he had died in Russia during the war of 1812. So she must have had a fear of the draft and war. They decided to leave before their sons, William, and Henry, had to go into military service. Coming to America had to be difficult for my Grandma's parents. Her parents had four children buried in Germany and had to leave their graves behind knowing you can never visit their graves again. They also had to leave behind there oldest daughter Christina Hebster who was married with a son and about 8 months along in expecting a child. They came about six years later. They all immigrated from Graben, Baden, Germany. Lena said Graben, Baden, Germany was a half days walk from the French border at the time her parents immigrated. Someone else told me that Graben, Baden, Germany is about a mile back from the Rhine River on flat bottom ground (I do not know if this is true about the Rhine River).

My Grandmother was Mary (Zimmerman) Roesch. Her parents were Margaretha Magdelina (Suess) Zimmermann who married Christoph Frederick Zimmermann in 1861. Frederick and Magdalena Zimmermann, and their five younger children left Antwerp, Belgium on the ship Rhynland and arrived in New York on Dec. 2, 1887.

Suess towel

Aunt Lena's Mother was Mary (Zimmerman) Roesch. Her mother was Margaretha Magdelina Suess who married Christoph Frederick Zimmermann in 1861. Margaretha Magdelina Suess was given a towel in about 1855 made by her father Jacob Frederick Suess with her initials M.S. in red on the towel as shown below. Jacob Frederick Suess raised the flax, spun and wove the linen cloth towel for his daughter my ancestor Margaretha Magdelina Suess.

Suess towel initials

Earlier Family Nebraska History


Lena's Early Life in Nebraska

Lena Roesch's child rocking chair purchased for her in early 1900's

When my Grandma's brother Karl's military training was over, he came to this country, but he had contracted TB of the bone while in the German army and came to Nebraska to die. Lena says a doctor operated on him on the kitchen table in the house North of Falls City. He died at age 25 less than a year (a day after Christmas, 1891) after coming to this country with T.B of the bone.

They and their younger children settled in the German community northeast of Falls City, Nebraska. They bought a farm and lived on this farm until their deaths. This farm was in the family a long time and was later owned by a grandson, Carl Zimmermann. Carl Zimmermann's daughter Joyce says that when Frederick Zimmermann family first come from Germany, the house had only 2 rooms, 1 upstairs and the other down stairs. My Mother and my Grandma Roesch took another tour of the house in the late 1950's. The discussion was when was the additions added to the house. Grandma walked over to a door looked at the inside corner edge of the door and saw the date she had place there in the 1890's when the addition had been made.

The Zimmermann family became members of St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church, located 12 miles northeast of Falls City. St. Peter's was a rural church near their home. In 1969, the congregation at St. Peter's Lutheran Church celebrated their 100th anniversary.

In 1897, my Great Grandfather (Frederick Zimmermann), drove his team and wagon into Falls City to do some shopping. On his way home something scared his horses. The wagon tipped over and Frederick died of the injuries he received. Magdalena Zimmermann remained on their farm home with members of her family until her death in 1908. Frederick and Magdalena (Suess) Zimmermann are buried in St. Peter's Lutheran Church Cemetery 12 miles northeast of Falls City, Nebraska. I think the accident happen North of Falls City on what is now highway 75, on the East side of the road just before the road turns West and goes up the high. Does any one know?

After my grandma [Mary (Zimmermann) Roesch] came to Nebraska she worked for different neighbors doing house chores. All the schooling grandma had was in Germany where her father would drill the children in their multiplication tables when they woke up in the morning. Lena said her mother Mary (Zimmerman) Roesch learned English in school in Germany before she came to the United States. The family joined St. Peters Lutheran Church near Barada, Nebraska. My Zimmerman great grandparents are buried in the St. Peters Lutheran Church cemetery. People were buried in this cemetery by sequence when they died and not next to relatives. You should know the lot numbers to find there graves.

Our ancestor Christoph Frederick Zimmerman is listed as C.F. Zimmerman in the 1890 Richardson County, Nebraska Farmers index with a Barada address.

It is said my Grandma Roesch, (who was ten years old at the time when they came to America) that they never talked much about coming to America, because it upset her mother. My Grandma Roesch was twenty years old when her father died in a run away horse accident. She got married less than four months later after her father died. She made her own wedding dress and it was all in black. They were married at St. Peters Lutheran Church near Barada, Nebraska.

My Grandmother - Maria (Zimmermann) Roesch wedding blouse

My Grandmother - Maria (Zimmermann) Roesch wedding skirt

Lena said her grandfather Jacob Roesch lived in the house he originally purchased when he came to America, which she called the Roesch homestead. She said she was the only one of her brothers and sisters who was born in the Roesch homestead. The Roesch homestead was located about a half mile from her home.

Jacob Roesch was naturalized as a citizen of the United States on March 9, 189l. On the 1900 census, Henry and Jacob spelled the last name as Roesche and Jacob is retired. Aunt Mary Schmidt reports that Jacob Roesch returned to Germany during the winter of 1903/1904 to visit his twin brother William and his sister Katherine. They had their picture taken together. Katherine had married and had a family. William never married. Jacob Roesch had two daughters who were also twins. Do not be confused, there is an Ellis Island passenger record of a different Jacob Rosche from New York who departed from Bremen, Germany on the ship Main and arriving on August 30, 1906 at age 61.

When my mother Martha was born her parents were living about 10 miles North of Falls City. Grandpa Roesch and his family were living in the house on his farm and great grandpa Roesch was living in his original small house about a half mile away. Lena Roesch says in Nebraska, she and her parents lived near to a creek and the yard was small.

Aunt Lena Roesch in May 1996 related this story. When she was a little girl her Grandfather Jacob Roesch lived with them (I think he had his own house next door on the same farm). One of her jobs each day was to go down in a deep cellar and draw two glasses of wine out of a barrel for her grandfather. She had to suck on a tube in the barrel to start the wine flowing into the glass. She would then bring the wine to her grandfather. She said her Grandfather knew a lot of religious stories and was always telling her a religious story. She thinks that her Grandmother Katie Roesch had been a Lutheran deaconess before she was married. She wore clothes and a white hat like a deaconess in Germany.

Jacob Roesch died June 14, 1910. Jacob and Christina Roesch, are buried at St. John's Lutheran Church Cemetery (also known as Werner Cemetery), located about 9 and a half miles northeast of Falls City, Nebraska. Cemetery location for St. John's Lutheran (Werner Cemetery) -Arago Twn, Sec. 16, earliest stone 1872, From Jct Hwy73/Hwy159 4 mi E. on Hwy 159; 5.5 mi N on blacktop road.

Lena's Life in Kansas

On March 1, 1912, Grandpa and Grandma Roesch and their five children moved to a farm near Reserve, Kansas. Aunt Lena would have been 12 years old on the date they moved. They bought this 240 acre farm. It had real nice improvements. The house was only ten years old and real modern for that time. On March 1, 2012, the only building in use is the house and it has been updated to a modern house but all the other unused building are being allowed to return back to nature. A rural school was across the road from their home which was so convenient for their children but now is gone.

Dr. William Zimmermann of Midland College (Lena's first cousin) told me that my Grandpa, Henry Jacob Roesch had reddish blond hair.

Ruthanna related this story: In 1912 Grandpa Roesch bought the farm in Kansas where he raised his family. The farm has a big expensive looking house and is located 6 miles South of Falls City (across the state line in Kansas). The farm had been owned by someone named Wyatt who had lost it because he could not make the payments on the farm loan. It was felt that the man's wife and family had foolishly spent too much money causing Mr. Wyatt to lose the farm. As is the custom, one takes procession of a farm on March 1st. Well, the Wyatt's did not move out and had the excuse that there was snow on the ground and that no one would move in that kind of weather. Grandpa was not aware of this and he lived about 10 miles North of Falls City. So he and his neighbors loaded everything into many horse drawn wagons and started early in the morning for the new farm home in Kansas. They had arranged the wagons so that what they wanted to unloaded first was on the first wagons. The last wagon contained food that might freeze and that was placed in a load of oats to prevent the food from freezing. Herman Huettner was driving the last wagon and ate canned fruit during the entire trip. Grandpa was very surprised when he arrived at his new farm that the Wyatt's were still there. Mrs. Wyatt and her children did not seem very friendly. After much discussion, it was agreed that the Wyatt's would spend the night in the West part of the house and Grandpa and his family would spend the night in the East part of the house which was the heated part. Someone brought a keg of beer and the men spent the night in the living room around the stove. Even Mr. Wyatt came over and spent the night with the rest of the men. All the men spent the night in the living room except for Herman Huettner who had eaten all that fruit and was too sick to drink any beer. In a few days the Wyatt's were able to move out.

In 1913 my grandfather Henry Roesch Sr. and six other men signed the charter to organize a new congregation in Falls City, Nebraska, the church was called, St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran. It was located at 20th and Towle Street. Henry and Mary Roesch, my grandparents, were both charter members of St. Paul's Lutheran. In 1953 a new church was dedicated on this location. In 1976 all of Henry and Mary Roesch's children, their husbands or wives were members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Many of the Grandchildren and their families were present for the 100 year celebration in 2013. Aunt Lena would have been about 13 years old at this time.

My Grandparents had telephones from two different phone companies in the house in Kansas because they lived near the Nebraska-Kansas state line. One was hooked to a Nebraska phone company and the other to a Kansas phone company. This was handy but it also had its problems. Lena says she was the one that always had to answer and talk on the phone. She said her sister Mary was afraid to talk on the phone. Lena Roesch says she would call the relatives on the phone when ever another baby was born. She also said that Grandpa would use the phone to find the prices that grain was selling for. The problem with two phones was that a friend would call from one state and want to know the price of something such as eggs, creme or grain in the town of the other state.

According to Lena Roesch, Grandpa and the hired man named Leopole planted the row of pine trees along their driveway leading to their house in Kansas. When the trees were being planted Grandma was expecting a child.

My mother related this story: One day grandma was walking down the lane and noticed that one of the pine trees had been mowed off but its two bottom branches were still alive. She took a corn husk laying nearby and tied up the two branches. Now when you drive by you see this big double trunk tree on the end of the row.

One time Grandpa Roesch took his car to town to be fixed and they loaned him another car while they were working on his car. So he drove the car home to the farm in Kansas and he realized as he was driving into the garage that he did not know how to stop. He drove right through the garage and made a hole in the back of the garage.

Someone for Christmas gave the family a jug of pickled herring. Pickled herring must not have been one of their favored foods because after a few months they had to throw it out. The chickens eat the herring and all the chickens dropped dead. It was felt that the salt in the herring was what killed the chickens.

There was a country school across the road from their house. I think it was called Little Chapel. All the Roesch children attended this school. Their house was a big house so they had room for the school teacher to board at their house. Lena Roesch says when brother Henry was only 12 years old, he had a girl friend who was 10. They refused to stop seeing each other which made our grandparents unhappy with him.

Lena says the corner of their yard across from the school (Little Chapel) contained the orchard. She said the orchard was planted before they moved there and our grandparents never planted any fruit trees. She also said the out house was located in the orchard.

My Mother (Martha) said that travelers traveling between states Kansas and Nebraska would use the Little Chapel grounds as a campground. I think she said some of the groups were the Mormans, Gypsy Caravans or some might be just moving a herd of horses. One time a group stayed there because they had heard that Hiawatha, Kansas was having a Halloween Parade and they were afraid to go on.

Lena's Life after Moving Back to Nebraska

My Roesch Grandparents in August 1930 moved to 2003 Towle St., Falls City across the street from our Lutheran church in Falls City. Aunt Lena would have been 30 years old on the date they moved. Walter, Wilbur, Edgar, Lena and Martha (my Mother) were the children that moved with them. My Mother got a job working for JC Penny's. Some of my earliest memories of my grandfather would be seeing him sitting on his porch swing as I came out of church. The state of Nebraska past a law in the 1930's making it against the law to give church services in German. The US Supreme Court then declared the law unconstitutional. I do not know for sure why my grandfather stopped attending church (he was one of the charter members) but German services may have been discontinued and a major conflict had occurred in the congregation. Apparently, there had been a disagreement between the Pastor and the congregation during Sunday Morning Worship and the entire congregation walked out. The Pastor then called the police. My mother (Martha) and some of the other young people then returned to the church service to see what was going to happen next. Edgar remembers leaving church and one policeman showing up. My mother said it made the national news and was in all the newspapers. This happened before I was born.

The Roesch Oil Field Northeast of Falls City was named after Grandpa Roesch but he did not make any money from this. The story within our family goes that the Herbster's (one of Grandma's sisters) lived Northeast of Falls City. They had about 15 children and this was the time of the depression in the 1930's. The Herbster's were about to lose their farm. So our Grandpa bought the farm so that they would not lose it. An oil company then leased the ground from Grandpa and stated drilling for oil. Then Grandpa deeded the farm back over to them. Oil was then discovered and the oil field was named "The Roesch Oil Field" after Grandpa because he had signed the lease. Since Grandpa no longer owned the land he made no money from this.

After church each Sunday all the Roesch children and grandchildren would visit at Grandpa's and Grandma's house across the street from the church. Grandma would serve everyone candy. Everyone had a good time. Every Christmas Eve all of the children and grandchildren would meet at Grandpa's and Grandma's house after the Children's Christmas Eve service at church. We would all exchange gifts and have a good time. In later years I remember we would all sit around and eat a lot of peanuts. Another favored time when we would all get together would be for Thanksgiving Diner.

One time I was visiting my Grandma Roesch (Lena's Mother) with my Mother and I think my sisters. Grandma was eighty some years old and still very limber. She showed us that she could still touch the floor without bending her knees. Grandma wore her hair rolled in a bun. She said that she had not cut her hair since she was 16 years old. She unrolled the bun and her hair hung down below her knees. My sisters sometimes would visit Grandma early before she was fully dressed. Dorothy said her hair would still be down hanging below her knees.

Harold Roesch related this story. When Grandpa was having heart trouble his doctor told him to drink beer every day. So after he died, Grandma did not want those few bottles of beer around. So the men went out into the kitchen and finished off the beer. Harold was present when they did this.

I remember Uncle Wilbur telling this story as I remember it. He and Aunt Vivian took a trip to Europe and visited the cemetery where our ancestors in Germany had been buried. They looked around and could find no grave markers for our ancestors. They asked someone where to look and they pointed to a building with a window on it. The person said go to that building and press the button. They went to the window and pressed the button. A light come on and the building was filled with bones. It turns out that at this time if no one pays an annual fee to the cemetery they dig up the grave and place the bones in this building. This is now common all over Germany.

One of my earliest memories of Aunt Lena was her working at the First National Bank & Trust Co. in Falls City, Nebraska. I think this is correct but who knows. As I remember it I think she was working setting at a desk in a building filled with desks with a lot of people working directly across the street South from what is now the current location of the First National Bank & Trust Co for the bank. So I think she worked for the First National Bank & Trust Co.

WW II Years

Aunt Lena would have been about 41 or 42 years old when the war was starting, I think she took the teaching job at Kemmerer, Wyoming between May 1937 when she graduated from Midland College or as late as 1942. Aunt Lena had two brothers serve in the military during WW II. Uncle Edgar Roesch was taken in the first draft. Wilbur Roesch joined the military service as an Officer. That would have left only Uncle Walter living at home with Grandpa and Grandma. Uncle Walter had been sick a lot as a young child. It was believed he suffered too high a fever when young and so he was not smart. I am sure he could not pass the draft exam. The following are webpages about there military service:

Life as a Prisoner of War - by Wilbur Roesch - Son of Henry Roesch, Sr

Stories about Edgar Roesch - Son of Henry Roesch, Sr. Brother of Wilbur Roesch

Wilbur Roesch missing

Lena's School Years

Lena started school when she was 7 years old. She did not start school until her brother Fred started school because of the distance. The school was at the opposite side of the section (a distance of over 2 miles) so she and her brother would cut through the center of the section, cross county, over a creek and thru a field filled with cattle. When sister Mary was old enough, she walked to school with them. Lena was afraid to walk through the field with cattle so sometimes her grandfather would walk to school with her the long way around the section. After Lena was in school a few months, the teacher promoted her to second grade. Her mothers training at home helped her do this. Then in future years she was promoted an extra grade again.

Lena Roesch relates this story: One time Aunt Anne Zimmermann and her son William Zimmerman stopped by. Aunt Anne was driving the car. She said Aunt Anne was a good driver. William was 15 years old and had just graduated from Salem High School. She was taking William to Atcherson, Kansas to start Midland College. She was concerned about William behaving himself in college because he was so young and so she wanted Lena Roesch to attend Midland also and keep an eye on William. Lena was 17 at the time but had gone to school for only 9 years. So they said to Aunt Anne how would they let Lena in? Aunt Anne replied, well William skipped two years of high school and they are letting him in. Don't worry. Lena's Mother was a seamstress and so could make a lot of nice cloths for Lena but her Mother was also expecting another child. Her Mother said it was up to Lena to decide. Well Lena said sister Mary was 4 years younger but was not doing very good work in the house because Mary liked to do work outside. So after some consideration, Lena decided she had better stay home and help her mother. William would graduate from Midland College, go on to earn a Doctors degree in History and Dr. William Zimmerman would return to Midland College as Dean. Midland College has now become Midland University at Fremont, Nebraska.

Many years later, Lena went to Midland College which now had moved to Fremont, Nebraska and she graduated from there. Lena worked out a deal with Midland since she had gone to school for only 9 years. For each class she needed for high school, she would take the college class and at the end of the semester, also take the high school equivalency test and pass both. She said that her father often took her back and forth between Fremont and Falls City while she was in college.

Lena Roesch graduated from Midland College in May 1937.

Jacob and Christina Rapp Roesch

Kitchen Clock

This Kitchen Clock was a wedding gift to my Great Grandparents Jacob and Christina (Katie) (Rapp) Roesch. This was Lena's Grandparents. They were married November 10, 1868. It has the names in old German handwriting. It shows the names as Jakob Rösch and Christina Rösch on the front of the clock. Simon Rapp, the brother of Christina (Rapp) Roesch was a clock maker and he made the clock and gave the Kitchen Clock as a wedding gift to them.

The Kitchen Clock was left at the Fred Roesch (Grandson of Jacob and Christina Roesch) farm when Henry Roesch (son of Jacob and Christina Roesch) moved off the farm. It was decided by some of the children of Jacob and Christina Roesch to give the Kitchen Clock to the museum in Falls City. Mary (Roesch) Fischer (sister of Henry Roesch) went out to the Fred Roesch farm, picked up the Kitchen Clock and took it to the museum in Falls City (I think in the late 1940's). I think the museum still has the original gift records. As I was growing up, I would sometimes go to this museum when I was at the Prichard Auditorium and look at the Kitchen Clock.

This old German clock was made in Germany by Simon Rapp (a clockmaker), brother of Christina Magalena (Rapp) Roesch. It was a wedding gift to Christina Rapp and Jacob Roesch, by her brother. They brought it with them when they came to America in 1879. It was donated to the Richardson County museum by their daughter, Mary (Roesch) Fischer. The clock was missing the hands and did not run when it was donated. It was open on the sides, top, and bottom with bucket weights under it which would hold sand. The word Rapp (the clock makers name) was written on the clock some place. Rapp was pronounced like it rhymes with cop.

The front of the clock has the words Christina Roesch and Jacob Roesch all written in German. The painted face has a column painted on the right and left sides of the face. At the top of the face is a picture. Nancy Cheshire found that the picture is a scene of small monastery on the side of Rigi mountain overlooking Lake Lucerne. Under the picture is written “Das Klosterli auf dem Rigi” which translates to “the small monastery on the top of the Rigi”.

The clock is located at the Richardson County Historical Museum, 1401 Chase St, Falls City, NE, 68355 USA Phone:402-245-4407. One should call for times when open.

Kent Memorial Lutheran Church Vacation

Harry Zimmerman lived at Sunrise Beach, Lake of the Ozarks, MO in the late 1940’s and 1950's (son of Ludwig William Zimmerman and Grandson of Christoph Frederick Zimmerman). The family had a house fire and his stepson Kent lost his life. The Kent Memorial Lutheran Church was erected by him on the site of the house fire. The church sits on Hwy 5 and is on a hilly stretch of road. The site overlooks part of the Lake of the Ozarks. As I remember, Harry Zimmerman was a carpenter and house building contractor at Sunrise Beach, MO. He built his own house. The first night he moved in, the house caught fire and burnt down causing the death of Kent.

Aunt Lena Roesch was a first cousin to Harry Zimmerman. Kent's death made the national news. In my country school our assignment at that time was to tell a current event. One of my classmates used this event as his current event and I wished I had. We visited the Harry Zimmerman family in Missouri along with my Aunt Lena Roesch in about 1952. We traveled as far as Memphis, TN. I remember seeing all these small black tar paper shacks being used I think as homes in Memphis, TN. Aunt Lena went with us on the whole vacation. Dr. William Zimmerman of Midland College, Fremont, NE was a brother of Harry Zimmerman.

Another part of the story is that Dr. William Zimmerman had been elected as a delegate to a Lutheran Church Convention in Chicago at the time of the house fire. So he canceled his trip to the Lutheran Convention in Chicago and went to Missouri to help his brother. The person who replaced Dr. William Zimmerman to the Lutheran Church Convention in Chicago died in a hotel fire while at the convention in Chicago.

Some Other Vacations Related to Aunt Lena

One time my parents with us three children took a trip to Yellowstone National Park (in the early 1950's). On the way home we stopped at Kemmerer, Wyoming but it was in the summer and Aunt Lena was not there. Dorothy thinks that my Mother had Aunt Lena's address and we drove by her address but did not stop because she was not there. I think it was a small town (less than a 1,000?) and with one Lutheran church (an LCMS) which I understood Aunt Lena attended because there was none other.

My sister Dorothy remembers Aunt Lena taking a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska by bus and taking my sisters Mary and Dorothy along. Dorothy did not remember the reason. They stayed at the Corn Husker hotel. Aunt Lena told them to not walk on the hotel room floor with bare feet because one does not know how clean the floor is. Dorothy says she still follows this rule.

One time Aunt Lena took a vacation to California about 1946 or 1947 when her brother Uncle Wilbur Roesch was in a military hospital in California. Uncle Wilbur and Aunt Vivian took her to the Rose Bowl Parade.

One time Aunt Lena took a vacation to Europe about the time she retired. I think she flew to Europe in about 1959 to 1961 because her Mother died Nov 15, 1959, Lena was going to be 62 in 1961, She could have gone onto Social Security in Oct, 1961 and may have. It was about the same time that the 1961 US Olympic Hockey Team and coaches died in a plane crash flying between the US and Europe. Aunt Lena took a lot of slides on this trip and had a very long slideshow when she got home.

Lena Roesch Trip

Mary Idol Letters from Martha and Lena Roesch

Mary Idol 7-18-1927 Letters-from Martha and Lena Roesch

[Martha (Roesch) Picton is the Mother of Owen Picton and Mary Idol is a Granddaughter of Henry and Mary Biddle also Mary Idol is the Mother of Harold Roesch. Harold Roesch had these letters.].

The letters show that Mary and Edward Schmidt were married by this time. Edgar Roesch had not been well but was getting stronger (I did not realize that Edgar must have been sickly when he was young). Edgar, Wilbur and Walter Roesch were still young and learning to ride a bicycle. I think the niece of Mary Idol referred to in the letter would be Imogene Myers who was born in 1926. Fred Roesch was not married yet. This was the time of year farmers worked on threshing crews to harvest grain. Lena Roesch would help prepare the food for the threshing crew when they come at the end of the week to harvest my Grandfathers grain. Grandmother Roesch was canning beets that day. They had ripe tomatoes and peaches.

Lena's Later Years

I think Aunt Lena went on a diet about the time that she was about 60 years old. As Lena got older, Uncle Edgar tried to figure out her diet. Uncle Edgar was doing her grocery shopping so this was what he found. She eat mostly vegetables and fruit. The meat she ate was mostly fish and a little chicken. She ate no potatoes. She did not eat tomatoes because she was afraid that the seeds would get caught in her intestines. I say she proves that one can go on a diet at age 60 and live to a 101.

It was difficult for her brothers and sisters to invite her over for a meal because she would only eat her special diet and would not eat their food. She was the oldest child in the family and they all died before she died. They should have been eating her diet.

Aunt Lena bought a house in Falls City when she retired at about the age of 62 in about 1961. She exercised every day by walking. Lena had a sufficient amount of money when she retired but we had a lot of inflation between 1961 and 1986 making her funds to become limited. By 1986 she was 86 years old. I think her money was running out which made it difficult for her.

Aunt Lena fell at age 86 in her home and could not get up. They found her in her home on the floor. She had no broken bones and was OK. Aunt Lena knew she had no choice but go to the nursing home. She lost her home in the process. She lived in the nursing home from age 86 to age 101.

It was difficult in the nursing home. Her body shrink and she had difficulty walking. She wanted and tried to exercise every day. Over all things went well for Aunt Lena. Her mind stayed good. She was able to join in and be part of the various activities. She had to demand that they help her exercise by helping her walk down the hall each day. She had to demand her special diet. She spent about 15 years at the rest home in good health.

Comments by Aunt Lena at her 100th Birthday party:

The classes she taught in Kemmerer, Wyoming were 36 students in size. They would send the extra students over 36 to another town. There was a picture of her with the students in class. We counted them and there were 36.

Lena's comments on nursing homes:

Living in a nursing homes is a lot like living in a college dormitory, they both have rules to follow.

If you live in a nursing home everyone thinks you are an imbecile, so you need a lawyer to watch over thinks for you.

The last time she was at the dentist, she had some small cavities. She said do not fill them until after she is 100 years old.

She received a 100th year birthday cards from President Clinton of the United States and also from Midland College. One of the birthday cards was from Ken Herbster. He had Lena as a school teacher. The card said it was in 1933 at the Arnold school.

Owen Picton

451 16th Street, #116

Blair, Nebraska 68008


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