My parents, Jacob Strobel and Katherina Dobler were born and raised in Russia in villages some 50 miles inland from Odessa, a port in the Black Sea. Their ancestors immigrated from Germany about 1810, and thus spoke German, and never Russian. They came by covered wagons by way of Poland where they had to spend the winter. My great-grandfather was born there that winter. In the spring they resumed their journey to the Black Sea area, which was all virgin prairie. Those that survived endured many hardships. Villages were finally established' and the prairies plowed and began growing i wheat and other grains. The surplus they hauled by wagon to Odessa and sold and exchanged for other goods they needed. Cattle, swine, poultry and sheep were also raised. The wool from the sheep was all home spun and woven into fabrics for clothing, etc.
In the year 1885, when my father was 17 years old,
he and an older and a younger brother along with an uncle and family left
Russia and came to America. An eight day boat ride on a German built
ship and manned by mostly German sailors, so they could at least converse
in their native tongue. They landed, on Ellis Island, where the U.S.
government maintained, an emigration station, near Liberty Island site
of Statue of Liberty. (The Statue of Liberty was unveiled the following
In 1890 both the Strobel and Dobler families came to Colorado after hearing that homesteads were available here in Kit Carson 1, County, and also the climate was milder. i Here again the land was all virgin prairie. My father along with others, came from the Dakotas by train to St. Francis, Kansas, where the railroad ended, and from there with horses and wagons to the Yale area some 18 miles northwest of Burlington. They worked for ranchers along the Republican River, but especially at the Cox Ranch (the now McArthur Ranch). My father helped dress native rock to build the ranch house, dated 1898;, also the barns and rock walls for corrals. My father also worked in Denver digging ditches for water lines etc; at the Globe Smelter, and then hauled ore by wagon from mines in the Montezuma area west of Denver. Street cars were then drawn by a horse and had a place where the horse could stand when the car would coast down hill.
My father and mother were married Jan. 8, 1893, as were my mother's sister Christina and Pete Knodel, double wedding. That fall in November my oldest brother Theodore was born and to better support his new family, Dad again went to Denver the next, spring and took along his wife and new son. This time he worked at the London Dairy, headquarters were just north of the Stapleton Airport. They milked about 200 cows on an average, but my father was the hostler and cared for the horses that were used to deliver the bottled milk to Denver and bring, bran, etc. for the dairy cows: also alfalfa haying along the creek where he was the stacker.
My father finally homesteaded in the year 1906, north and west of Bethune. I am the youngest in the family and was born on the new homestead, Dec. 1908. My older three brothers, Theo, John and Albert and sister Emma (Mrs. Jake Schaal) were born where my parents lived for about 15 years, about 6 miles S.E. of the new homestead, but never obtained title to the land. The new homestead was all buffalo and gramma sod. So that spring of 1906, Dad and brother Theo plowed about 20 acres with walking plows and prepared it to plant corn and feed, and, as there was no well at the new homestead, they had to bring water in barrels for the horses from the first farm home. Later that year my father had a well put down and a windmill erected. It was not until 1913 that Dad had his first good wheat crop.
That spring his older brother Chris sold out and
moved his family to N. Dak. Brother Theo went along with his uncle,
but after a year or so felt called to the Christian Ministry and enrolled
in Redfield Seminary, S. Dak.
We boys continued farming the original homestead and other land my parents had acquired before they retired; each of us boys got 2 quarters to begin farming. Sister Emma received equivalent in cash and livestock. She married Jake Schaal in 1921. In 1936 she had a fatal accident when she attempted to kindle a fire in the cook stove with tractor fuel and the can exploded. Brother Theo married his school mate at college the same year, 1921. Brother John married Margaret Weisshaar in 1927. In 1936 they went to Calif. where he worked at construction, concrete and carpentry. Albert and I married sisters, Lena and Anna Ziegler in 1931 and 1933 respectively.
Albert and I remained through the depression and dust bowl years of the thirties. The ensuing years also had their ups and downs, but as deep well irrigation developed over the years and crops and feed for livestock became more stable, the economy was boosted considerably. However, the considerable drop of the water table due to the deep well irrigation poses problems as well and will require prudent management of our natural resources. Hopefully all who use and benefit from the use of these resources, directly or indirectly, will be willing to help conserve them for future generations.