Taken from the
Testimony of Christine (Huettner) Cheshire
Daughter of Lena (Roesch) Huettner a sister of my Grandfather Henry Roesch Sr.
I was raised in a Christian home. First I'd like to tell you about my background. My parents came to America from Germany. Their families were part of a group of families from the same area and the same church who had made plans to move to America. Eventually there were about 30 or 40 families involved; but they came over in groups of 3 or 4 families at a time. The ones who went over first sent word back about the great opportunities and the healthy climate in America. They were all farmers. They settled in an area 7 miles north of Falls City, Nebraska because the land was great for farming. As each family came over the ones already here would help them get started. They provided a place for the newcomers to stay in their homes and as the newcomers got a home of their own, they would give them a cow so they could have milk and butter and they gave them chickens so they would have eggs. They had all moved to the same area so they could help each other. That really established a little German community.
My mother's family came first; my father's family came over about ?4 years later. My uncle on my mother's side, Uncle Janssen [married to Annie (Roesch) Janssen, sister of Lena (Roesch) Huettner], was the Pastor of the Lutheran Church in Germany. He became the Pastor for the group over here when he came to America. Uncle Janssen would hold church every Sunday in the different farm homes or sometimes outside under the trees. They spoke only the German language in church. As a matter of fact they spoke German in the entire community. They finally decided they needed to build a church. Especially my Uncle Janssen. Everyone gave their money and labor to build the church that included everyone - men, women and even the children. I remember sweeping and cleaning up after the workers. The church was built entirely by the labor of the members. They named the church after the church in Germany - Saint Paul's Lutheran Church.
My mother [Lena (Roesch) Huettner, sister of Henry Roesch Sr.] and father [Herman Huettner] met and married in that church. They moved away from their parents and established a home of their own. They bought a farm across the fence from my mother's twin sister [Lydia (Roesch) Grossoehmig]. All seven of us children were born on that farm. We went to church every Sunday regardless of the weather. I remember in the winter when it was so cold and how my mother would heat bricks in the oven and my dad would put straw in the wagon. It was great to put our feet on the bricks and off we'd go to church. We went in the baggy with the "fringe on top" in the summer but I remember winter trips the most. I want you to understand I was a little girl when all of this happened, but my mother and father talked to us children about their life and the church all the time
No one worked on Sunday. Mother would wash and iron and lay out all our clothes on Saturday. She even prepared all the food for Sunday-on Saturday. Dad would shine all our shoes on Saturday night. I can still see all 7 pairs of them lined up - from the oldest to the youngest
In our home, not only was one prayer said at mealtime, hut my dad said a prayer before and after the meal. The prayers were always said in German. No one left the table till he finished saying both prayers. And everyone had better have their hands folded just right or they would get a crack on the knuckles. I can remember a few raps on the knuckles and for sure I can remember every word of both of those prayers. In fact I could say them right now. Every night we would all gather around papa and he would read a chapter from the big German Bible. Then mother would take us all upstairs, listen to our individual prayers, tuck us in and give us a goodnight kiss.
They started a German school for the children in the church. My father wanted to be sure we would all remember the German language and get a thorough education in the Lutheran religion so we all went the first three years to school at the church. Can you imagine how the teacher felt in the little public country school when I showed up and couldn't speak a word of English? Especially since my first teacher spoke and understood very little German. The first year in public school was a struggle. I learned a little English and the teacher learned a lot of German. I went through 3 teachers but I made it through the eighth grade. My father moved us all to Falls City so we could go to high school.
I can remember coming home from school. Mother would be sitting in a chair next to the stove by a window overlooking her garden. She had her Bible in her lap reading and looking out the window at her garden. She had finished work and was resting... probably all the rest she would get before bedtime. I could smell the bread she was baking. She baked everyday and the bread would always be ready when the children cane in from school . I know that this was her quiet time, when she would read the Bible and pray. A time when she was close to the Lord. In fact she was so close to the Lord that on the day she died she told papa at breakfast, "Papa I am going to Heaven today." Papa said, "no-no - you can't leave me." Mother said, "yes papa my Lord is coming today to take me home." Mother said she was tired and went to the bedroom to rest. Daddy called her sister Mary (Fischer) and she came but mother died that morning about an hour after her sister came to the house. But the influence of her Christian life still lives on through her children and everyone that knew her.
So mine has been a life in a strict Christian home, but with a loving and kind mother and father. Sprinkled as an infant in the Lutheran church; learned the catechism and confirmed when I was 13 years old.
If you like this life story, would you consider making a donation to a church or religious affiliated non profit institution or if unable, then to a Space Exploration through a Foundation or other non profit institution. Do this in the memory of Christine (Huettner) Cheshire or one of the other people indicated.
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