Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Immigrant children; November cemetery post

This past Saturday was a beautiful fall day.
Almost all the leaves are off our trees.

Hardly any breeze and mild (60's); so we did some yard work.  They say that winter will be arriving this coming week.  We unplugged the fountain, threw out some of our plants and others I prepared to bring inside for the winter.

Mom told me an interesting story this past week about 17 immigrant children buried in a cemetery north of Peabody.   As it was such a beautiful afternoon, we decided to follow this up.
 It is an emotional story that has been passed down among the families of the Swiss Volhynian Mennonites which we are a part of.  But it was the first time we had ever heard of this.

We drove northeast past Walton and just before we got to Peabody, we turned north on Mustang Road.  (we didn't see a sign, but had looked it up on GoogleEarth and knew where to turn)

 The suggestion was that if it had been raining, it would be better to go an extra mile and take Nighthawk Road out of Peabody.  You can see why looking at the ruts in the road below.
 It looks like this creek overflows the bridge when there is a good rain.  Last week we had 7 1/2 inches!
 3 1/2 miles north of Highway 50, we came across this little cemetery.  Just over 100 gravestones.




 We should have packed a picnic!
 Isn't this beautiful??  Such detail!

 There are many young folk buried here.






  So many babies died in those early years.


  
These little markers had only the initials of the children on them.  Can you imagine the pain these parents experienced?

 My husband worked with a Horst and now his daughter works with him.  Wonder if they are related?  (She texted that they are!)

There were not too many current graves at this cemetery.  Most of these are from the late 1800's and early 1900's.


Here is the stone to memorialize the immigrant children.  The story is below:
"In 1874, as 8,000 Mennonites emigrated from Russia into Kansas, Swiss Mennonites who first 
settled in the area near today’s Moundridge, stepped off the train at Peabody. The men went to 
scout and buy land in Mound and Turkey Creek townships. When they returned three weeks later, 
they discovered that “almost all the children became sick. Some children died. The town had no 
cemetery at this time. A few miles north there was a place with a few graves. Since there was no 
other way of transportation, the bodies were carried there and buried.” Until recently, that 
location has been a mystery. 
 An article came to light in the January 1875 issue of the Herald of Truth newspaper out of 
Elkhart Indiana. A correspondent from Peabody, KS wrote, 
 “I found this country completely devastated by the grasshoppers, but the farmers now have 
out a very fine crop of wheat... They seem well pleased with the country. Brother Stucky’s party 
buried about fourteen children here on Brother H. Hornberger’s farm.” 
 A quick check of land records show that this Henry Hornberger farm was exactly the site of 
what is today’s Catlin Mennonite Cemetery. So, we know that the Swiss children are in this 
cemetery, which is located 3 miles North, 1 West, and ½ North from the Northwest corner of 
Peabody. After 138 years, they have been found." - swissmennonite.org

 We are related to these families.  I was a Voran and all Vorans are related.  And we are related to Albrechts, Gerings, Kaufmans, Krehbiels, Schrags, Stuckys and Wedels.  Al and I are 3rd cousins so we share many relation.  Allen is a 3rd cousin to himself even since his parents were 2nd cousins!

There is a similar story I posted about 300-400 Russian Mennonites that died in a smallpox outbreak after they immigrated to Kansas as they wintered in Florence.  I am sure they wondered why they ever left the old world and came to this land!

We drove north out of the cemetery just to take a scenic country drive.


 There were many farmers harvesting beans and milo.  Winter wheat is coming up.




We could see the elevators of the town where our kids live so thought we might drive in and surprise them!  We came upon this little country church.

 It was at this church where we actually first laid eyes on Adam.  But we don't remember it really...we just know we saw him because he was part of a choir.  You see, when he was a freshman in the Moody Choir, they came to this church to sing.  Jill wanted to go hear them because she planned to attend Moody and wanted to be in the choir.

I remember seeing some boys hanging out of the windows as we drove up.  I told Jill "One of those boys might be your future husband!"  It probably was Adam!!  His sister played the piano with someone else we knew who was from this church and we recall her well.

We drove on to the kids' home.

 Surprise!!!

The children had hand, foot, and mouth disease this past week.
Allen is inspecting the blisters on Claire's hand.
 
Claire loves to play with toddler apps.

The older girls played outside a lot this day.


Adam will be turning off the sprinklers since winter is going to be coming.  But today, the girls were having one last hurrah!


We were invited for supper.   Delicious!


Hannah practicing her guitar.  She is really doing well!  She is taking lessons through the school.  Incidentally, my parents purchased this guitar for me in Japan when I was in high school.  I never got the hang of it though. I'm amazed at the talent that Josh, Adam and now Hannah have with it!

Playing "introducing Claire!"   She runs out to the living room full of giggles as you holler this.  It was a game we played with the other 2 when they were young too.  She was feeling so much better after her oatmeal bath.  It helps with the itchy blisters on her body.

A fun and interesting day!

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