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Settlement Family Registry  -- Bethune, Colorado
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Excerpted from a work prepared in 1996 by 
Dale Lee Wahl, Grevena Avenue NE, Bremerton, WA 98311-4042

First a little history of Kit Carson county is in order.  This part of the country became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803.  It's location is approximately 39 deg  30' longitude and 103 deg 30' latitude.


Between the fall of 1889 and the spring of 1890, the first Germans from Russia  started showing up to start their cluster of farms known as Friedensfeld (Friedensfeld - the field of peace), later to be known as the Settlement.  The four families of Christian Baltzer, Dorothea  Baltzer, Friedrich Stutz, and Andreas Bauer departed from Russia for America 12 October 1889.

They first went to Scotland South Dakota with their intentions of settling in Colorado.

In the spring of 1890, the families started leaving from Scotland to Colorado by train and wagon.

There were other families who also came to the area before these folks, such as the Fanslaus, Andrew Bauders (Kramers) and Jacobers arriving before 1890, and perhaps even the Schlichenmayers.   Others followed them.  Some of those who also came at about that time (1890-1892) were Christian Doblers (with 7 children), Jakob Schaal, Christian Strobel, August Adolfs (with Grandpa), Otto Winters, Matthias Haefner and Matthias Schaal.  Other families have also been reported, such as - Jacob Strobels (with four children), Johannes Schaal (with wife and two brothers, Matthias and Samuel - age 17)

We need to recognize the scene these folks were coming into, with their dreams and preconceived pictures in their minds.  The Homestead Act was in place for them, the railroad now was completed, the young town of Burlington was offering promises of a prosperous future, with Bethune 7 miles to the west.  It was about 12-15 miles to the north of Bethune that the Settlement was established.

We may ask, why the "Settlement" . . . why did they cling together in this land?  There have been several answers to such a question.  They had just left a closed community that had been their home for two or three generations, where they lived in their villages going to the fields, gardens, pasture land, and vineyards to do their farming.  This is what they knew and this is what they were comfortable with.

Most of them had come from the same region in South Russia.  They had a common language and a similar if not a common religion.  They were strangers in a hostile new land where they needed each other for support and comfort.  Even today, you will see the farm homes tending to cluster within sight of each other near where the homesteads came together.

The soil was a sandy loam making it easier to plow and till.  The rainfall was scarce.  First efforts was to establish and develop a place to live, and to open up the land and plant crops.

They had to do with the materials at hand.  Some of them were almost penniless upon their arrival.  Some made dugouts, a hole cleared out of the hillside with a framed opening with a door made of lumber.  It is reported that some lived out of their wagons the first year.  Some reports sound very much like the same sod houses we are so familiar with in the earlier Dakota Territory.  It is reported that some had enough money to buy lumber and were able to build a house or shack.

They continued to come to the Settlement.  In 1892 more came from the Scotland SD area.  Some of these folks were Martin Stahlecker and Samuel Schmidke.  It is believed that this is also when John Wahl came to the area.

Also in 1892 Christian and Andrew Adolf came from Russia.  In 1899 Christian Gramm, Andreas Weber and John Zeigler came.  In 1906 and 1907 more folks continued to come - the Knodels (Johannes, Andreas, Jakob, Gottlieb and the widow Knodel), Karl Weiss, Johannes Weiss, Peter Knodel, Karoline Schaal and Herman Stoltz.  In 1908 the William Adolf family came. That was about the last of the families to come to the Settlement.

Church services were originally held in the home of Christian Dobler.  As they out-grew his home, in 1893 they decided to build a church.  Mr Baltzer donated a piece of land to be used for the church and a Cemetery.  In 1902 the congregation decided they need to build a parsonage.  On 7 September the parsonage was dedicated at the same time the church was incorporated as Immanuel Lutheran Church of Friedensfeld Colorado.

There were more than 25 families in 1908 living in the township where the Settlement was at.  They were the families of August Adolf, John Wahl, John Stahlecker, John Schaal, Christian Dobler, Jacob Strobel, August Fanselaus, John Eiglers, Gottlieb Gramm, John Weisshaar, William Adolf, Gottfried Wiess, Frank Kramer, Gottlieb Amman, Herman Amman, Chris Stahlecker, John Meyer, Fred Stutz, Andrew Bauer, Gottlieb Bauder, John Jacober, Andrew Bauder, Andreas Bauder, Sam Schaal, Matt Schaal, and the Schlickenmayers.

Many of these folks had been here for a couple of decades, when during WW I, some of the sons had been called to the service of their new country, they still underwent the persecution of status as "alien enemies" similar to many of the rest of the GR immigrants at that time.  The 17 January 1918 issue of the Kit Carson County Record, published in Burlington, contained the headline "All German Enemies in Colorado to sign register of February 4th".  This newspaper (page 4) reported that "Rules governing the registration of all German alien enemies are being sent out this week to chiefs of police and post masters by Samuel J Burris, United States marshal of Denver.  The registration will be made Monday, February 4th.  Miss Rhoda Yersin, postmistress of Burlington, has been designated as registrant for this territory".


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