Anna Katherina Schoessler was born to Johannes Schoessler and Ann
Katherina Boekel, on the 12th of February 1873 in the village of Walter,
Russia. When Anna Katherina was born her brother Henry was twelve, her
sister Katherine Margaret was nine, her sister Magdalena was six, and
her brother George was two. Anna was baptized in the village's large
brick church with a tall steeple topped with a gold cross, with a bell,
with a pipe organ, and with an interior which had a balcony all around.
On a set Sunday, Anna would have been baptized with other infants all
dressed in sparkling white dresses. In the year of Anna's first
birthday, 1874, the Russian Czar Alexander II introduced universal
compulsory military service. This shift in policy became the concern
and conversation in all the village homes.
Anna's village was on the hilly side (west) of the Volga River about
70 miles from Saratov Russia. Her village was built along the Medwediza
River. Some 5900 persons lived in the self sustaining agricultural
community. She was a descendant of the original 99 settlers of 1767.
The Schoessler house was made of wood logs split and chinked with clay.
Anna would have cozied up to the centralized wall oven on wintry days to
enjoy the warmth.
When Anna was about 8 or 9, she would have attend the one room school
house with classes separated by partitions of curtains and wood panels.
Her language studies would have been both in German and Russian, and all
the math would have been in Russian.
Anna's father Johannes was a stag coach driver covering the route
between Walter and Saratov. Anna and family must have worried every time
Johannes drove the coach to Saratov through the robber and wolf infested
regions. Anna was the fifth born. When Anna was two years old her
brother John was born. Her uncle Jacob Schoessler sailed for America
when she was three years old. When Anna was six years old her sister
Katherine Elizabeth was born, and when she was eight her sister
Elizabeth was born.
In 1891, when she was a young lady of eighteen, her older brother
George left Russia for America (the dread of every family was to have a
brother, son, or husband drafted into the Russian Army). At the age of
twenty, Anna married Conrad Walter, also of the village. It seems that
they were married the 3rd of January in 1893. Marriages were performed
once a year (usually during the Christmas season) in Walter with,
sometimes, from 15 to 70 couples married at one time. It was common for
wedding celebrations to last for 3 or 4 days. Her first born son she
named John who was born the fourth of December 1893. Her second born was
a daughter, Katherine, who was born the 10th of March 1896. She was 23
years old then. At the age of twenty-five, Anna gave birth to her
second son, Conrad, the 1st of June 1898.
Anna Katherina (Schoessler) Walter left Russia for America with her
husband and three children, a seven year old, a three year old, and a
year old. As many others before them, they made the agonizing decision
to leave the land of their ancesters, their parents, many of their
brothers and sisters and relatives.
Anna would have been faced with what she must pack and what she must
leave behind. The final solemn hour would be a last communion and a
farewell prayer from the pastor. Up the Volga River by boat and then by
rail through Russia and Poland, they would travel some 1500 miles before
reaching the Port of Hamburg, Germany.
They left the old country behind for the new from the German port of
Hamburg, four days before Christmas, December 21, 1899. Anna was three
months pregnant. The trip across the Atlantic took only twelve days,
but the smells and boat movements must have been difficult for Anna.
The family landed in New York, January 2, 1900. The view of the Statue
of Liberty must have brought tears to the immigrants eyes. Ellis Island
was brand new, but the fear of standing before immigration and health
inspectors was a frightening ordeal. It must have been no small chore
to keep an eye on three small children and deal with their questions and
Anna must have been relieved to have a German speaking
representative meet them as they landed on Manhatten Island and directed
them to railroad services which would take them to Lincoln, Nebraska.
They were immediately settled in Lincoln, Nebraska. They joined the
other Germans from Russia immigrants who settled at the west edge of the
city that dips into the salt flats. Anna and Conrad became members of
the Zion Congregational Church located at 4th and F Street. That June of
1900, on the 10th day, son George was born. Anna was twenty-seven years
old that first year of their arrival in the new world. The following
year, the year of 1901, Anna Katherina posed a faint smile, with her
husband and her four children. With her hair combed back, with a high
collared dark dress, and with her hand touching her husband, she
presents a picture of a young immigrant woman, just one year into her
new life in the new world.
At the age of twenty-nine, Anna gave birth to her fifth child Daniel
on the 14th of October in 1902. Her sixth and last child was Martha born
the 20th of August 1904. In the year 1902 and 03, that area with
Lincoln's immigrant residents was heavily flooded. I wonder how many
times Anna thought about whether or not she and Conrad made the right
decision to come to the new world. Husband Conrad got a job with the
railroad shovelling coal at the round house. Her father and mother,
Johannes and Anna Katherine, still in the Village of Walter decided to
join their children in America. Anna must have anticipated their coming
and prayed fervently for their safe arrival.
Anna's sixth and last child was Martha born the 20th of August 1904.
Anna was unable to regain her strength after the delivery. On April the
8th, of the year 1905, 12.05 a.m. Anna Katherina died of embolism. The
Sunday State Journal, April 9, 1905, has the notice that "Anna Walter,
wife of Conrad Walter, died at 12:00 Friday night at 621 G Street, age
33 years. The funeral will be held at 4:00 o'clock this afternoon in the
church at 4th and F Street. Interment at Wyuka Cemetery."
Surely, she left her husband and children reluctantly, but in the
faith that she was in the hands of her Savior Jesus Christ. In that
year, in November, Conrad remarried: life must go on. It was the
following year, 1906, that Anna's parents, whom she was so anxious to
see and greet, arrived in Lincoln. With tears in their eyes, they must
have stood by her grave, a few months too late to embrace and see her.
Anna's grave remained unmarked. Her husband and children, a new
unit of second marriage and step relationships, moved to Billings,
Montana. All who loved her and knew her best, also moved from Lincoln.
Her unmarked grave probable would not be visited for many years. On
September 28th 1989, workmen laid a marker at her grave to serve as an
everlasting and loving tribute. On the marker, next to the engraved
cross and Easter lilies, is the name "Ann Katherina Walter 1873 --
1905." For some reason and error the headstone maker failed to spell
her name "A-N-N-A." Anna Katherina Schoessler Walter
born 12 February 1873 in Walter Russia, married 3 January 1893 in Walter
Russia, died 8 April 1905 in Lincoln, Nebraska USA.
Error: Error opening log file