In Search of Senior...

In January of 2011 I purchased my first membership to  It's been an interesting journey with a lot of plot twists and surprises.

The most elusive part of that search has been the "Search for Sr.".  

Christina's Obit
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Conrad Martin Klein Sr. and Christina Kauth were married in 1863 according to Christina's obituary.  Her obituary is really the only hard evidence for Senior that I've been able to find up until yesterday (05 Feb 2016).

Conrad Martin Klein Jr. was born December 7, 1866 which means his father had to have been alive approximately 9 months before that date.  

Christina, Junior's mother, remarried on October 9, 1867, almost 10 months after Junior was born, to Dominick Moes.  Conservatively, Senior had to have died sometime between March of 1866 and October of 1867.

Senior is said to have been killed in an accident in Wenona, Illinois.  Records from that time frame have been difficult to find.  Searching online, I found that a fire had destroyed a lot of La Salle and Marshall County records during that time frame that I needed.  I've also learned that La Salle County records were not reliably kept until the dates shown in the picture below.

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As a result, I've had to settle for searching any, and all, records that eluded to a Martin Klein on  

Part of the difficulty is the difference in names.  I've looked through a lot of census records and the person taking the census usually spelled the name however they saw fit.  Not only are surnames an issue, but also his first and middle names.  

For example, below are all the different ways I've seen to spell "Klein": cline, clyne, kleen, kline, kliner, etc.  Not only that, but some of our relatives went with the literal English translation of "Klein" and used the surname "Little".  I wouldn't be surprised at all if we were somehow related to the famous impressionist Rich Little.  He is likely a Klein... or, we're Little's [?].

Martin could be found by:  martin, matthias, matthew, martinus, conrad, conradus, or just initials [C & CM].

Moes has been spelled: moos, mous, moost, moes, etc.

Kauth has been spelled: kowth, kanth, kauth, etc.

And then there are the illegible, sloppy handwriting, census takers - if they could spell it correctly, you wouldn't know because you can't read their handwriting!  

The next problem is the condition of the documents.  Some of them are in pretty bad shape before anyone has attempted to scan them.  Some of the scans are made from copies that must've been made on the first Xerox machine because the quality is a complete disaster.

All of that to say - this has not been an easy process... I had to resort to finding any and all Klein's that might fit the bill and then research that individual's family tree.  I have at least 10 different family trees started on Usually, only to end up at another dead end.

One of those trees I started months ago came from another family's website.  (click HERE) where I found this:

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If you click on the image to the left you'll find a Pierre Klein married to Marguerite Bernard and eight children.  One of those children is a Martin Klein, born 13 Nov 1838, in Fouches, Belgium, Luxembourg.  1838 certainly puts him at about the right "marrying" age for an 1863 wedding.

Long story short, months ago, I took this information and built a family tree on hoping that some clues might show up.  Unfortunately, nothing came up for Martin.  There were plenty of clues for his siblings John, Dominic, and Elizabeth but very little to go on for the remaining siblings.

One thing I did find was that this family had came over from Luxembourg landing at the port of New York in June of 1857.  Unfortunately, ten years later Senior would be dead.  That is not a very big window to find him listed on any federal and/or state documentation.

Christina Kauth, Senior's future bride, was living in Belgium, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin in 1860.  If the Martin Klein above was our Martin, some time between 1857 and 1863 she would meet and agree to marry Senior and then move off to Illinois.

1860 Census
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The clipping to the left is from the 1860 census showing Christina living with her parents (Peter and Anna Kauth) and her two brothers, Valentine and Heinrich (Henry).

There were some Klein's listed on this same census but not the Klein's we're interested in (right now).

I was beginning to get a little frustrated so I turned my attention to the Kauth family.  Doing so led me to a picture of one page of a census taken in 1865.  Below is a clip from the page I ran into.

1865 Census
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To the left you'll see Peter and Ann Kauth residing with 2 males and 1 female in the household.  Below that, next door to them was Valentine and Mary Kauth with 1 male and 1 female at the household.

In 1865 Christina would have been married almost two years and was off to Illinois where Junior was born.  Peter and Anna had only Christina's younger brother Henry living with them as he was only 9-10 years old.  Valentine, her older brother was living with his new wife Mary next door to their parents.

All of the above is nice, but I was shocked to see a census from 1865 as I'd searched for one on for a long time!  Nothing ever turned up on for the town of Belgium in 1865.  This led me to Google where sure enough - I was able to dig up the entire census (11 pages) from 1865 after an hour of digging.

What I found was the key I needed!  A few doors down from the Kauth's lived a Peter and Margaret Klein.  Both listed as being foreign born.  Could this be the same Peter (Pierre) and Margaret (Marguerite) from the website shown above?  Not only that, but they lived next door to Peter Roller (more on that later)!

1865 Census
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Notice that they are living with only 1 male and 1 female in their household.  Dominic, their youngest child would have been 19 at this time and likely out on his own somewhere.  Perhaps even with one of his siblings somewhere.  He didn't go too far because he was married in 1870 in Belgium, Wisconsin.

This census finally placed a Klein family, that made some sense, in the same area as the Kauth family near the time when Senior and Christina were married in 1863.

The census also provided a smorgasbord of our family history.  The Klein's, Kauth's, Rollers, and Moes are all in this same neighborhood (literally neighbors) as well as family friends and future relatives like the Klos family for example. 

Eventually, I'll point out all the names that make a difference, but for now I need to try and dig up hard evidence pointing to Peter and Margaret Klein as being my Great-Great-Great Grandparents.

1860 Census
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The information that I have so far is:

Peter Klein, born 19 Apr 1805 in Luxemborg.  They arrived at the port of New York in June of 1857 and traveled to Belgium, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin by 1860.  They are shown on the 1860 census with youngest son Dominic (age 14).  

Also, it should be noted... guess who they were living next door to in 1860?  

Answer:  Maggie Roller's grandparents Peter and Elizabeth Roller.

I think they may have went to Wisconsin to settle with family.  My best guess at this point is they were somehow related to Jean (John) Nicholas Klein and his family who had settled in the area in the 1840's.

There are also a couple of other Klein family members on this census and living very close to the Kauths.  One is Amandus and Mary Klein living 6 doors down from the Kauths and about the same from Peter and Margaret Klein.

There's also an older lady by the name of Josephine Klein living in the area.

I need to finish piecing this all together but this could certainly answer a lot of questions.  It could be the reason that Junior met Maggie Roller.  Her relatives lived next door to Peter and Margaret Klein.  Junior, having family in the area (Klein's and Kauth's) may have traveled from Chicago, where he was now working, to visit family and that's how he met Maggie!

There are Moes listed in the area.  When we spoke with the Walgenbach's, they said that Dominic was traveling to Illinois to "see his friend Martin Klein".  It's possible they were friends because they all lived in the Belgium area.  They also could've been friends from enlistment in the Civil War (Illinois enlistment) or even from being friends in Luxembourg.  

A couple of census recordings claim Dominick arrived here in 1851 - however, both census records look like they actually read 1857 - the "1" and "7" looking very similar.  Next, Dominic's obituary claims that he came to the U.S. at 17 years old, which puts his arrival at 1848.  Is it possible that Moes was on the ship from Luxembourg with Martin in 1857?

Hopefully, this is going to open some doors for me.  I've finally got something to go on and will post up my findings as I go along.

Introduction... provided enough information to keep me interested in continuing my search and the story below is the result of my findings.  You may also be interested in our full family tree on  If so, ask and I'll send directions on how to view that information.  

There is still a lot of research to be done as many of the state records are not available online.  Much to my frustration, there was very little information available on the internet for Conrad Martin Klein Sr. (from Luxembourg, Germany).

One of these days I'd like to take a trip to Wenona, IL and another to Gregory County, South Dakota where my Great Grandfather, Grandmother, and Great Uncles are buried.  My Dad still has an aunt and cousins living in the area.  My hope is that there will be more to report after these trips.

For anyone that may be interested, I have copies of Newspaper articles, census copies, marriage certificates, obituaries, etc. available.

I'll be updating this blog as I gather information.


The Beginning...

Although little can be found (online) concerning the head of our family line (pre-USA), Conrad Martin Klein Sr. emigrated from Luxembourg, Germany sometime before 1863.  It was that year that he took his bride, Christina Susannah Kauth of Belgium, Wisconsin.  At this time I can only speculate on their marriage, but they were likely married at the Holy Cross Catholic Church, in Belgium, WI as it was the oldest Catholic (relatively young at the time) Church available in the area at that time.

Christina Kauth
Date Unknown
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Christina Kauth was born to her parents (also from Luxembourg), Peter and Anna Kauth, on March 22, 1845 in Holy Cross, Wisconsin.  At the age of five, she was living in Germantown, WI, later living in Belgium, WI (age 14).  

Port Washington (Lake Michigan), WI resides between Germantown and Belgium, WI.  It is likely here that Conrad Sr. arrived from Luxembourg.  Neither the 1850 or 1860 census lists him as living in either area prior to 1860.  Conrad Sr. may have arrived sometime after 1860, prior to his marriage in 1863.

Conrad and Christina were married and sometime later left for Wenona, Illinois.  At this time, I have no certainty as to why they moved to Wenona, IL.  During that period a coal mine and railroad construction attracted those seeking employment.  It is possible that they moved to Wenona to farm as well.

Shortly after their marriage they gave birth to their first child, a daughter, Christina (1864-1869) and their second, a son, Conrad Martin Jr..  Conrad Martin Jr. was born December 7, 1866 in Wenona, La Salle County, Illinois.

Conrad Martin Klein Sr. died in Wenona, Illinois according to family accounts which claim that he died in some type of accident.  Conrad Sr. must have died some time after March of 1866 (conception of Conrad Jr.) and before October 9, 1867 when Christina remarried Dominic Moes.  According to a phone conversation with the Walgenbachs, Dominic went to Illinois to see his friend (Conrad Martin Sr.) after the Civil War had ended.  Eventually, a trip to Wenona may help as I plan to search through archived records and newspapers.  A fire is noted in Wenona (1870) which destroyed many records.

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As mentioned above, Dominic Moes and Christina (Kauth) Klein were married, according to their marriage certificate, in Illinois, on October 9, 1867.  They continued to live there where they farmed for eight years in Osage Township, IL (just east of Wenona).  Christina Klein (older sister of Conrad Jr.) died at a very young age as she is not listed on the 1870 census as living with her mother and Dominick.  Conrad Jr. (listed as Martin) is listed on the census (age 4).

Dominic and Christina...

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Dominic and Christina
Date Unknown
Dominic and Christina’s Marriage

Dominic Moes and Christina (Kauth) Klein are married on October 9, 1867 in Wenona, Illinois.  The marriage license lists her as “Susannah Klein” and “Christina Klein” on the license. 

Dominic and Christina Moes History in Illinois

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Christina and Susan
Date Unknown
Dominic and Christina farmed the land in Osage Township, La Salle County, Illinois (about a mile east of Wenona) from 1867 to 1873.  The two of them had their first daughter in Illinois as listed on the 1870 Federal Census (Susannah (age 1) and Martin (age 4) in 1870).  They moved from Illinois to NW Iowa and settled in Floyd Township, Hospers, Iowa in 1874.  Susannah Moes married John William Walgenbach and the Walgenbachs still farm the land to this day.

Dominic and Christina Moes History in Iowa

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Dominic and Christina (front center)
Conrad Martin Jr. (back center)
Moes Daughters

Dominic and Christina settled in Hospers, Iowa in 1874 as farmers.  Conrad Martin Jr. assisted on the farm until 16 years of age.  They also held school at their home for the community until the school was eventually built.

Dominic and Christina had a total of 10 daughters together, six of whom were still living in 1900. 

Susannah (Susan) Moes was Dominic and Christina’s first daughter.  She was born November 9, 1868 in Osage Township, La Salle County, Illinois.  She married John William Walgenbach.  She named one of her sons, Martin Walgenbach, after my Great-Grandfather.  Susan died July 1, 1953 in Iowa at the age of 85.

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Downtown Hospers, Iowa
My Great Grandfather (Conrad Martin Jr.) farmed until the age of 16, with his step-Father Dominic Moes.  The Walgenbach family still farm the same property in Hospers, Iowa.

Two of the Moes girls with their husbands.  At this time, I'm not exactly sure who is pictured in either photograph.

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I'm fairly certain this is
Frank Baadte and 
wife Elizabeth Moes

A Little about Dominic Moes – Husband of Christina (Kauth) Klein...

Sherman's men destroying
a railroad in Atlanta.
Dominic Moes was born on January 13, 1831 in Hagen, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.  He arrived in the United States in 1851 according to census records.  According to his obituary he arrived in the United States at the age of seventeen placing his arrival in 1848. 

On August 9, 1862 he enlisted with Company B, 104th Illinois Infantry, for the Civil War.

Dominic was wounded (shot through his right shoulder) at the battle of Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863), where the Union Army suffered defeat.  He later marched with General Sherman at the Atlanta campaign during the summer of 1864, and on to Sherman’s March to the Sea (Savannah Campaign).  The Savannah campaign ended on December 21, 1864 with the capture of the Port of Savannah.  Dominic was discharged with his Company June 6, 1865.  They traveled from Washington and arrived in Chicago on June 10th, 1865 where they were paid and returned home.

By this time, Conrad Martin Sr. and Christina were living in Wenona, Illinois.  Dominic was honorably discharged from the Civil War and traveled to Wenona, Illinois.

David Walgenbach, great-grandson of Dominic, told me on the phone that Dominic went to see his friend Martin Klein after the Civil War.  It’s possible that they, Dominic and Martin, traveled from Luxembourg together or that they knew each other from living in Illinois.  There’s not much information concerning their acquaintance.   

I did find one record that stated almost all of the men in Company B, 104th Illinois Infantry were from La Salle County, Illinois.  They were recruited at Ottawa, Illinois, just north of Wenona, Illinois.  This leads me to believe that Dominic was living in the area before his enlistment and it’s likely the reason he returned to the area (Osage Township, east of Wenona, Illinois) after being discharged.

Dominic farmed in Osage Township (just east of Wenona) for eight years after marrying the widowed Christina in 1867.  Conrad Martin Jr. was living with them. 

Christina’s firstborn daughter (Christina) must have died at a very young age as she is not listed on the 1870 census.  

I can find no information concerning Conrad Sr.’s grave.  There are no records of him, or his daughter (Christina), listed on the internet.  It's possible that Dominic and Christina may have buried both of them on their farm land as there were not many public cemeteries at the time.  The oldest cemetary, as far as I can tell, is Cumberland Cemetery, in Wenona.  I also found another note on the internet stating that there was no law concerning the recording of deaths in Illinois before 1877.

Christina's Death...

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Christina's Marker
Christina (Kauth) (Klein) Moes, my Great-Great Grandmother, died at the age of 58 on September 7, 1903.  She is buried at St. Anthony’s cemetery in Hospers, Iowa with Dominic.  They share a common gravestone, which is shown to the left, but Dominic’s name is no longer legible.

Christina’s obituary, from the Newspaper, The Alton Democrat, September 12, 1903 reads as follows:

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Christina's Obituary
“Mrs. Dominick Moes of Hosper and one of the pioneers of Sioux county died at her home Monday and was buried from St. Anthony’s church Wednesday – Rev. Father Gehling conducting the last ceremonies.  Deceased was born at Holy Cross Wisconsin in 1845 and came to this county with her husband twenty-eight years ago.  Her maiden name was Christina Kauth and she was married to Martin Klein in 1863.  He died at Winona Illinois two years later after the birth to them of two children – Christina and Martin – the latter of whom is still living.  In 1867 Mrs. Klein was married to Dominick Moes at Winona where they lived eight years.  Ten children were born to them of whom four are dead.  The seven living children of the two marriages are Martin Klein of Chicago, Mrs. Walgenbach of Hosper, Mrs. Peter Theis of Canova South Dakota, Mrs. John Heitzman of Sheldon, Mrs. Joe Enders of Hartford South Dakota and Mrs. Budde of Hosper and Mrs. F. J. Baadte of Matlock.  Deceased was widely known in the county and a large number of the old settlers from different towns were present at the funeral.”

Christina had 12 children total (seven of which were still alive in 1900).  Dominic and Christina had 10 girls.  Conrad Martin Sr. and Christina had two children (Christina and Conrad Martin Klein).

Dominic's Death...

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Dominic raised Conrad Martin Jr. as his own son from shortly after his birth in 1866.  Dominic died December 9, 1914 in Hospers, Iowa.  He is also buried at St. Anthony’s cemetery in Hospers, Iowa. 

It is worthy to note that these two men had a respectful relationship.  Conrad Martin Jr. was raised by Dominic and gave Dominic’s name to his youngest son, Conrad Dominic Klein.  Dominic obviously raised Conrad Martin Jr. from a very young age and instilled in him the hard work ethics and values that made Conrad Martin Jr. a successful and well respected man in his own community.

Dominic also left an equal portion of his estate to Conrad Martin in his will.

It is also worthy to note that Conrad Martin and his step-sisters also loved each other.  They spent a lot of time together over the years and at least two of the sisters, Susan (Moes) Walgenbach and Martha (Moes) Budde, named her sons “Martin” after my Great-Grandfather.  "Martin" has been passed down through their family to this day - I can't help but wonder if they even know where their namesake originates?

When Dominic died, Frank Baadte (husband of Elizabeth Moes) was named the executor of the estate according to a court document I have from March 24, 1915.  I also found further documents which show a legal dispute over the estate between the Moes children after this appointment.  

Originally, the land was left to Susan and her husband William Walgenbach according to the account, but the siblings disputed the validity of the original will.  Apparently, all was settled in favor of Walgenbach as the Moes farm is now named after them and is still owned by their family today.

Dominic’s obituary, from the Newspaper, Harwarden Independent, December 17, 1914 reads as follows:

Lived in County Forty Years

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Dominick's Obituary
Dominick Moes died at the home of his daughter at Hospers Dec. 9th at the age of 83 years.  He came to the United States from Luxembourg at the age of 17 years and settled in Sioux County in 1874.  He was a Civil war veteran and was wounded at the battle of Chicamaugua, later marching with Sherman to the sea.  He has amassed a fortune estimated at $75,000.  He is survived by six married daughters.”

Conrad Martin Klein Jr. ...

As mentioned earlier, Conrad Martin Jr. was born December 7, 1866 in Wenona, Illinois.  By the age of four his Father and sister had both died.  Christina, his mother, had remarried Dominic Moes and he now had a new sister, Susannah - named after Christina.  They farmed just east of Wenona until 1874 when they moved to Iowa.

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Conrad Martin Jr.
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Conrad before Chicago?
The 1880 Census shows Conrad Martin Jr. as living in Hospers, Iowa.  Conrad Martin Jr. is now 16 years old and listed as a farmer/laborer on Dominic Moes (later Walgenbach’s) farm. 

He left the farm, shortly after this census, for a job in Chicago, Illinois.  Conrad Martin Jr. worked construction, as an iron worker, building bridges, with the Iron Workers Labor Union in Lake View Township, northern Chicago, Illinois.

I can't say with absolute certainty, but I believe Dominic had the picture, to the right, taken before Conrad Martin left for Chicago.

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Conrad and Maggie Wedding
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St. Alphonsus Church
Chicago, Illinois is where he married his bride, Margaret Ann Roller, on St. Valentine’s Day (February 14, 1900) at St. Alphonsus Church in Chicago.  You can find a history on the church by clicking here.  They rented a home in Lake View Township, Chicago, Illinois (according to the 1900 census) right up the street from this church on Wellington Avenue.

My wife, Amy and I, went and visited this church and it's quite beautiful.  The whole neighborhood has a very cozy feel to it.

Marriage License
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St. Alphonsus Church

According to City Directories, and the 1900 Federal Census, the building they lived in is shown below with Saint Alphonsus Church in the background.  

1345 West Wellington Avenue
Chicago, IL
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Sometime shortly after their marriage they moved closer to Lake Michigan to Chicago Ward 25 on Racine which is today's Lincoln Park area (see 1900 census) and had their firstborn child. 

A son, Theodore Martin Klein, was born in Chicago on July 27, 1901.  Young Theodore Martin was baptized at Saint Teresa of Avila Church, in Chicago, on August 4, 1901.  His sponsors were: Theodore Geimer and Angelica Roller, Maggie's sister.

Theodore Geimer must have been a good friend of Junior as it appears his first born son was named after him, and he's listed as his Godparent along with Angelica.  I found a Theodore Geimer, a plumber, age 26, living in Ward 21 which is neighboring to Junior's area there by Lake Michigan.  I'll try to dig on this more a little later to see if I can find any further clues.

Theodore Martin Klein lived a short life and died on February 8, 1903.  He was buried in Belgium, WI.

Their second son, Emil Frank Klein, was born in Chicago on May 31, 1902.  Emil also lived a short life and died on June 27, 1902.  He was buried in Belgium, WI on the 28th.

Another child was born to Conrad and Maggie in December of 1903 while still in Chicago.  Thirteen months later (1905), while living near Hospers, Iowa, the child died of diphtheria.  At the time, Maggie was pregnant with their next child who was stillborn three days following the death of their second child.  (See article below which is taken from The Alton Democrat, January 21, 1905.)

In 1904, six months prior to their devastating loss of children, Conrad Martin Jr. returned to Hospers, IA (from Chicago) on his way to Chamberlain, South Dakota to apply for the Rosebud lottery.  He stayed with his step-sister, Susan (Moes) Walgenbach, en route.

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A Newspaper article, from The Alton Democrat, July 16, 1904 reads as follows:

“Martin Klein is here from Chicago to visit his halfsister Mrs. William Walgenbach.  He is employed with a constructive gang of iron workers.  He went from here to Chamberlain to register for the Rosebud drawing.  He belongs to the labor union and gets forty-five cents an hour for work.”

1900 Chicago City Directory
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To the left is a clipping from the 1900 Chicago City Directory showing Conrad Martin Jr. at his Wellington Address and listed as a "bridgebldr".  This is the same year he married Maggie and the address is the same as the 1900 census from June 2,
1900.  This address is right down the road from Saint Alphonsus' Church where they were married.  I also have a voting record from 1892 showing a Martin Klein as living in the area for two years.  This would put him as leaving Hospers, Iowa around 1890.  I'm still digging for more information on this.

1900 Federal Census
Martin & Maggie Klein
1345 Wellington Street
Chicago, Illinois
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As a side note, a couple of thoughts come to mind:

[1] In 1904 the average wage is listed at being twenty-two cents p/hour.  Conrad, making forty-five cents p/hour, was a pretty good wage back then, and…

[2] He left that good job to farm the land in South Dakota with his new family.  He was known, according to his obituary, as a man “who forced a living from the soil even in difficult times and was never given to depend on anyone else for his livelihood” (see quote in his obituary below).  The quote, "even in difficult times" brings to mind the Great Depression of the 20's and the dust bowls of the 30's known as the "Dirty 30's".

[3] Chamberlain, South Dakota was one of the tamer drawing locations for the Rosebud Lottery.  Bonesteel, SD got exceptionally ugly for this drawing.

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Bonesteel, South Dakota
Conrad Martin Jr. was likely standing in line (at Chamberlain) for days to apply.  The article said that in Chamberlain they spent the night in line to apply and the line reached down the blocks for miles.

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August 4, 1904

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August 4, 1904

Conrad Martin Jr. won his drawing, and is shown as winning (#325) as a citizen of Chicago, Illinois in the Newspaper, Milford Mail, August 4, 1904.  There were only 2500 winners out of close to 110,000 registrations.  The congressional papers show close to 107,000 registrants.

Conrad's lottery won him the NE ¼ (160 acres) of section 19.  Below is the original Land Patent.

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Section 19 - Burke, SD
There’s much to be said about this Rosebud Lottery and the men that made their claims in that area.

My Dad has a book called The Capital City Saga, by Adeline S. Gnirk that details the Rosebud Lottery winnings, the formation of Burke, South Dakota, the Great Depression, the grasshopper infestation, and the “Dirty 30’s” that they all went through.

As a personal thought – I am amazed at what the people of that time went through, not only to survive, but also to my Great-Grandfather’s accomplishments – obviously, a testament to his character.

One of my favorite quotes, concerning this era, from the same book as above (p. 344) is as follows:
“The sunsets of Gregory County were far and away the most beautiful I have seen anywhere.  The Saturday afternoon procession of Indians in their buckboard wagons was always colorful and interesting spectacle.  There were so many good times; and there were bad times; hail storms which destroyed gardens and crops (one I recall left such an accumulation of ice that, hours later of a July afternoon, there was yet so much of it that had not melted that we made ice cream); tornadoes which sent us scurrying to our cyclone cellar; drouth which parched the earth while the blazing sun burned up the foliage; the dust storms which blackened the sky at noonday and buried fences post-high in the top soil from lands far away; the grasshoppers which came in such numbers as to destroy all vegetation and crunch underfoot on the sidewalks of little towns; the devastating depressions which truly tried men’s souls.  Yet through it all, the people had a quality of goodness and love and concern, one for another,  and a never-faltering faith in God.  Gregory County, and our parents, taught us to be strong, compassionate, resourceful, frugal, and with God’s help, self-reliant.”
After the announcement of his lottery winning, I’m assuming that he went to his property to build his first barn.  Unfortunately, tragedy strikes…

In 1904, Conrad arrives in Hospers again.  A newspaper article form The Alton Democrat, December 10, 1904 reads as follows:

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“Martin Klein came to town this week in a covered wagon.  He is a son of the late Mrs. Moes.  He drew a claim in the Rosebud and quit a good job in Chicago to file on it.  The recent prairie fires in that region burned him out of house and home and the Rosebud has lost its charms for him.”

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"The recent prairie fires" mentioned above were the result of revenge by the "King of the Cattle Thieves".
“Jack Sully, the old "King of the Cattle Thieves," met death at the hands of a posse sent out by U.S. Commissioner Charles Tidrick, formerly auditor of Sioux county, Iowa.  A series of prairie fires swept over a large area of South Dakota west of the Missouri river.  It was thought that Sully's gang were using the method of wreaking vengeance upon some of the ranchmen who aided the officers in the final campaign against Sully.  The entire cattle range in Gregory county had been destroyed by the fires, leaving no winter range in the greater part of the 400,000 acre tract ceded by the Rosebud Indians and opened to settlement the preceding summer.  Great quantities of hay put up by the ranchmen was also destroyed by the fires."

Thanks to Jack Sully, Conrad Martin's belongings were burnt up.  According to family account this included all of his paperwork which may have been helpful in my search today.  You can read more about Jack Sully by clicking HERE.  Google provides plenty of other newspaper articles and write-ups on Sully also.

Below is claimed to be Jack Sully's son, holding the reins to the horse that Sully was riding when he was shot and killed on May 16, 1904.

Rosebud Indian Reservation
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If the fires were not devastating enough, they faced even more tragedy.  As mentioned above, Conrad and Maggie had three children who had not survived before settling in Burke, South Dakota.  The article below describing the loss of their second and third child.

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Newspaper, The Alton Democrat, January 21, 1905 reads as follows:

“We regret to report the sad bereavement of the Martin Klein home southwest of town.  On the eleventh their thirteen months old child died of diphtheria and three days later a little one – which might have taken the others place in the parental hearts – was stillborn.”

He and his wife are listed on the Census as living in HospersIowa (no children) in 1905.  Conrad is also listed as an occupant of BurkeSouth Dakota in 1905 on another Census record.

Nonetheless, they moved on to BurkeSouth Dakota from HospersIowa.  His first barn, including all of their possessions and paperwork, was burnt to the ground so Conrad and Maggie stayed with neighbors while constructing their soddy house.

By 1913, Conrad Martin Jr. had become a successful farmer.  A newspaper article from the Hospers Tribune, February 14, 1913 reads as follows.

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“Martin Klein, a step-son of Dominick Moes, has been here this week from Burke, South Dakota, to visit his people.  He took a homestead near Burke several years ago, and now has a valuable place, as a new railroad is expected to run within a mile of his farm.  He had not visited Hospers for several years, and was surprised at the many changes that have taken place here.”

This was likely the last time Conrad had seen his step-father alive as Dominic died in 1914.

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Conrad Martin Jr. later purchased the NW ¼ (160 acres) of section 17 from Fred Bender on December 1, 1926.  

He also purchased the NE ¼ (160 acres) of section 15 from Aristhide LeBlanc on November 2, 1932.  According to the auction listing below, only 65 acres of this property had been cleared for farming.  The remainder of the property was timber and pasture.

By 1932 Conrad owned 480 acres of land.  Below is a map showing the original Klein homestead (lower left, closest to Burke) and his later acquisitions.  The red boxes in the map photo below show his properties.

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Raymond, Rosie, and Ambrose were all born in the soddy home.  While living in the soddy Conrad was building their new larger barn and eventually building their frame house where Victor and Conrad were born.

The pictures below were taken and sent to me from my Dad.

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Below is a picture of the house my dad was raised in on section 17 (north of the original homestead).

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Below are pictures that I found online of Burke, South Dakota.  I'm sure that when Conrad walked these streets this is what he saw.

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Downtown Burke, 1909

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Burke Livery Stable 1910

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Candy Store 1909

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Burke, SD
1915 Blizzard

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I mentioned earlier that Conrad had become a successful farmer.  My Great Aunt Maxine (wife of Conrad Dominic Klein (youngest son of Conrad and Maggie)) sent a copy of an auction notice that appeared in 1948 after Conrad Martin Jr.'s death.  If you click on the image below you'll see the land he had acquired in addition to his original 160 acre homestead.  Overall, it sounds like a great farm on 480 total acres.

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At this auction, the land was auctioned on October 19, 1948 as follows:

The "Martin Klein Homestead" was purchased by Herman Raschke (husband of Rose Klein) and Victor Martin Klein.

The "Bender Quarter" was purchased Henry McLeod

The "Pat LeBlanc Quarter" was purchased by Herman Lubbers.

Two of Conrad's children bought the original homestead (Rose and Victor), but they later sold the farm to Herman Lubbers on January 23, 1951.