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Jacob and Katie Roesch (Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Roesch)


Frederick and Magdalena Zimmerman(Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Zimmerman)

by Owen Picton

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.

Lena Roesch (Granddaughter) 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 and was not allow to go beyond the border. This was before Germany was united into one nation.

Jacob Roesch was a weaver, tailor and shoemaker. He made his own wedding shirt. It is currently at the home of Mary Syre. He grew the flax, 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.

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.

On the 1880 Census, he spelled his name as Jacob Rasche, and says he is from Bauden and is living at Ohio, Richardson County, Nebraska. His wife Christina is shown as Katie. Jacob Roesch applied for naturalization in Falls City, NE on October 20, 1880. Jacob Roesch is listed in 1890 Richardson County Farmers index at:

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.

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.

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 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.

Someone has also related the story about great grandpa Roesch having to go to Falls City for supplies every so often. After his wife died he had to leave his son (grandpa Roesch) and his daughters alone. He would drive a one horse buggy to Falls City for supplies. Sometimes it took longer than expected and it would start to get dark. The children then would walk over to the neighbors (a quarter mile away) and stay with the neighbor lady (I think a Mrs. Herbster) until great grandpa returned.

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 deaconess before she was married. She wore clothes and a white hat like a deaconess in Germany.

Aunt Lena Roesch in August 1997 related these comments. She said her Grandmother Katie Roesch had also been 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.

Frederick and Magdalena Zimmerman (Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Zimmerman)

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.

In 1887, Frederick and Magdalena Zimmermann, and their five younger children left Graben, Baden, Germany. and came to America. Grandma Mary (Zimmerman) Roesch and her parents on the Zimmerman side had also lived in the same small town in Germany (Graben-Baden) as the Jacob Roesch family. Frederick was anxious to come to this country because friends had written how wonderful it was, but Magdalena didn't want to leave her family. After their oldest son, Karl, had to go in compulsory military training, they decided to leave before their sons, William, and Henry, had to go in military service. Their oldest daughter, Christina, was married and had small children, so she and her family remained in Germany. She was very sad at leaving part of her family in Germany. Her daughter Mary (Zimmerman) Roesch, who was ten years old, said they never talked much about coming to America, because it upset her mother. They also had four children buried in Germany (Frederick, Lena, Minnie and an infant child) as per notes from Martha (Roesch) Picton. Then several years later, the Zimmermann's daughter, Christina, her husband and children, also followed her family to this country. 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 less than a year 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.

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.

After my grandma 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 at:

Christoph Frederick Zimmerman is listed as Christ Frederick Zimmerman in the Baden, Germany Emigration Index, 1866-1911 on It show this family of 7 persons emigrated from Graben, Karlsruhe, Baden in 1887. It also shows a Karl Friedrich Zimmermann emigrated from Graben, Karlsruhe, Baden in 1888.

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 They also have three children, in-laws, and grandchildren buried in this cemetery In early days at this cemetery they buried the dead side by side and finished the row, then they started another row, for that reason they are not buried side by side. You count the graves from the east. Frederick Zimmermann's grave is in row eight, the second grave Magdalena (Suess) Zimmermann's grave is in row nine, grave fifteen. The lettering is so badly worn off that it is almost impossible to read the names on the monument.

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