Introduction...


Luxembourg
(Click to Enlarge)
Adeline Gnirk published a book called "The Capital City Saga" which recorded, in part, the history of Gregory County, South Dakota including the city of Burke where my Great-Grandfather, Conrad Martin Klein Jr. (referred to as "Junior" throughout these posts), settled in the early 1900's.  Included in that book were biographies of those who lived in Burke, South Dakota and one of those biographies was of my Great-Grandfather.  You can read a copy of that biography by clicking HERE

Keep in mind that much of that biography is based on second hand recollections of that era that have been found to be mistaken.  Many of the mistakes are corrected in these posts found on this blog-site.

Burke, South Dakota is not where our family story begins.  Conrad Martin Klein's father (referred to as "Senior" throughout these posts) is said to have emigrated from Luxembourg.

My father pulled Adeline's book from his bookshelf and showed me Junior's biography while we were home visiting for Christmas.  That is the moment that the "bug bit" and I became interested in genealogy.  It must've been the Christmas of 2010 because January of 2011 is when I purchased my first membership to ancestry.com.  

Ancestry.com provided enough information to keep me interested in continuing my search and the story continues to unfold as I search.  

While there are still many unanswered questions, and a lot of research continuing, we have found that our story is a little different than what we had always assumed.  The research isn't always easy and often it's quite boring and tedious.  It seems that as soon as I feel like I've reached a dead-end in the search, I'll find one more little piece of information buried deep in some location I wasn't expecting, and the next thing I know I've found myself knee deep in new information!

Below is the ever-growing and unfolding history of our branch of the Klein's from Luxembourg.

My mother's side of my family, the Dunahoo's, can be found by clicking HERE.

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


Glen Klein


NOTE: When you reach the bottom of the page - click on the "Older Posts" in the bottom right corner to take you to the next page of posts.

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 was born to her parents (also from Luxembourg), Peter and Anna Kauth, on March 22, 1845 in Holy Cross, Wisconsin.  

The 1850 Census (click HERE) lists Christina, age 4, living with her family in Germantown, Washington County, Wisconsin.

By the time of the 1855 Census (click HERE) her family had moved to Belgium, Wisconsin.  Christina and her family were still living in Belgium in 1860 (click HERE) before her marriage to Conrad Martin Klein Sr. in 1863.  

Christina Kauth
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Port Washington (Lake Michigan), WI resides between Germantown and Belgium, WI.  It is likely here that Senior arrived from Luxembourg.  I have not been able to locate him on any census prior to his marriage in 1863.

Senior and Christina were married and shortly after 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.  There are also a couple of Klein families that were living in the area at the time.  Those families are still being investigated.

Shortly after their marriage they gave birth to their first child, a daughter, Christina (1864-1869) and their second, a son, 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.  Christina's obituary also claims that he died shortly after their marriage.  You can read her obituary by clicking HERE.

Senior must have died some time after March of 1866 (conception of Martin 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).

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


Dominic Moes was born on January 13, 1834 in Hagen, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.  Dominic's obituary states that he died December 9, 1914.  Most of the census recordings point to his birth as being in 1834-1835 as well as the mention of him being 17 years of age when he arrived to the United States in 1851.

According to his funeral card (click HERE) he was 83 years of age on December 10, 1914 when he died placing his birth in 1831.  After reviewing all other evidence I believe whoever had the funeral card printed was mistaken about his true age.  Dominic was likely "80" years of age when he passed just before his 81st birthday.

Dominic left Luxembourg for the United States with his older brother, his brother's wife Margaret (nee Clemens), and their two young sons Peter and Bernard.  They arrived in the United States in 1851 according to census records.  Dominic's older brother, born in 1822, died in Belgium, Wisconsin around 1861 leaving his widow Margaret "Moos", and five children.  


According to the 1860 census (click HERE), Dominic was working as a farm laborer for Richard Rubert.

Sherman's men destroying
a railroad in Atlanta.
On August 9, 1862 Dominic 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 10, 1865 where they were paid and sent home.  I found an online article listing all of his Regiments activities and you can read that by clicking HERE.

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

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, or even Wisconsin.  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, NE of Wenona, Illinois and Hope Township where Dominic was living in 1860.  To see the 1860 Census click HERE.  

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.

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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 on the 1870 Census (click HERE) as "Martin", "age 4".  The map to the left is the approximate area that they lived.

The 1870 census lists the households in order of visitation.  Starting with David Clark, then W.H. Compton, the next logical residence is shown at the bottom of the map as Dominic Moes.  I'm also taking into account the value of property listed on the census and the map from 1876 shown below.  

Dominic is not listed on the 1876 map because he was
1876 Map - Osage Twp
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likely farming on rented property.  The 1870 census lists his "Value of Real Estate" as zero and "Value of Personal Estate" as $450.00.  Judging from the census information and the 1876 map I find it safe to assume that Dominic was likely renting property from Peter Howe as he owned a lot of property in the area at that time.  Peter Howe was a wealthy banker in Wenona at the bank known as "Howe, Hodges & Kalson", later as "Howe & Son".  Peter Howe and his wife were murdered in their home during an attempted robbery in 1888.  You can read about that by clicking HERE.




Christina’s firstborn daughter (Christina Klein) must have died at a very young age as she is not listed on the 1870 census.  The only household children are Martin Klein (age 4) and Susanna Moes (age 1).

1876 Map - Osage Twp
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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 cemetery, as far as I can tell, is Cumberland Cemetery, in Wenona.  

There is also an older cemetery on East 659th Road called "Wenona Community Cemetery" and it is noted on the 1876 map to the left.  The red square at the bottom of the map is where I believe Dominic Moes was farming in 1870.  The red square at the top is the Wenona Community Cemetery.  I would think that Senior and infant Christina were both buried there but neither are listed as being there online.  However, there were problems with missing/broken headstones.  I'll be taking a trip down there soon to walk around and see what I can find.

One of Dominic's nephews, Bernard Moes (mentioned above), later traveled to the Wenona area himself in 1878.  Bernard was the second eldest child.  It was shortly after this that Dominic headed for Iowa and Bernard followed.  Bernard's siblings and mother also moved to Sioux County Iowa shortly after and lived just south of Dominic in Granville.


1908 Map - Hospers Iowa
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In 1874 Dominic and family moved from Illinois to Iowa.  The map to the left shows Dominic's two properties.  You can see the town of Hospers just to the NW of section 11.  

The southernmost property is the original homestead as listed on the 1880 Census (click HERE).  The southern property is the farm that Junior worked with Dominic on.  There is an aerial photo of that farm, as it exists today, in another post written concerning Junior.  

The northern property is Dominic's second property.  There was a notice written in the Alton Democrat, December 11, 1885, that Dominic bought the northern property from W. H. Smith.  You can read that notice by clicking HERE.

After his death, the northern property was taken over by his first daughter Susan, who married John William Walgenbach.  The Walgenbach family still farm that property to this day.  Below is a snapshot of the Walgenbach farm as it appears from above on Google Maps.


Dominic Moes Property
Passed on to Walgenbach
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Below is a plot from 1923 and 1961 showing the same property in section 11, now being farmed by the Walgenbach family.  The southern parcel, section 23, had been sold.


1961 Map - Hospers Iowa
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1923 Map - Hospers Iowa
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Dominic and Christina...

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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.


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Dominic and Christina Moes History in Illinois

Christina and Susan
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Dominic and Christina farmed the land in Osage Township, La Salle County, Illinois (about a mile east of Wenona) from 1867 to 1875.  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).  You can see that census by clicking HERE.  

Shortly after the census was taken another daughter (Margaret) was born November 27, 1870. 

Their third daughter (Katherine) was born in January of 1872.  She is listed as having been born in Troy Grove, Illinois which is about 30 miles north of Wenona.

After the birth of their fourth daughter, Mary Ann Moes (born December 4, 1874), they moved from Illinois to NW Iowa and settled in Floyd Township, (Hospers) Iowa. 

Anna Martha Moes was born in July of 1878 in Hospers, Sioux County, Iowa as was her younger sister Mary Elizabeth Moes in 1880.

Dominic and Christina Moes History in Iowa
Dominic and Christina seated in center
Conrad Martin Klein Jr - center of Moes Girls
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Dominic and Christina settled in Floyd Township, Iowa sometime between 1875 and July of 1878 as farmers.  They also held school at their home for the community until the school was eventually built.  Christina must've taught reading and writing as Dominic could neither read or write.


Downtown Hospers, Iowa 1910
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Family accounts have Dominic and Christina settling in Iowa in 1874 but that seems highly unlikely with Mary Ann Moes being born in the dead of winter, December 4, 1874, in Illinois.  Their next daughter, Anna Martha Moes, was born in July of 1878 in Hospers, Iowa so sometime between the two dates, Dominic moved his family to Iowa.

There is an article I found in The Alton Democrat from February 18, 1954 entitled "Pioneer Days in Floyd Township".  In the article it talks about the "original 17 men who came to Floyd Township with Theo. Gehlen".  Dominic is listed in the article and I did find out that Gehlen came from Illinois.  Whether Dominic was one of the "original 17" is questionable, but he likely knew Theodore Gehlen and/or the men that traveled with him.  It's highly likely they all served in the Civil War together.  Eventually I'll compare the names in the article (to read click HERE) with Dominic's Civil War roster which may explain why he moved to Iowa.

Dominic and family are listed on the 1880 US Federal Census for Floyd Township, Sioux County, Iowa on page 4 of 12.  You can see that page by clicking HERE.  Conrad Martin Jr., listed as "Mathias" on the 1880 census, assisted on the farm at age 14.

Dominic's nephew, Bernard and new wife Annie (Sloan) Moos, joined Dominic at Floyd Township later in 1879 after their marriage in Wenona, Illinois.  They are listed as neighbors to Dominic on page 5 of 12 in the same census.  You can see that page by clicking HERE.  

In 1882 Bernard's mother Margaret (Clemens) Moos (widow of Dominic's brother), and some of her children with their families, also moved to the area just 8 miles south of Dominic in Granville, Iowa.  Eventually I'll post more about their families, but for now those stories can be found on my ancestry.com account.


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The 1885 State Census is the first time that we see the entire Moes family (6 daughters and "Martin Klein") together on one census living on the NE 1/4 of section 23 in Floyd Township.  That property is shown in the picture to the left in the bottom red square.  You can view the 1885 census by clicking HERE.

December 11, 1885 The Alton Democrat posted a notice that Dominic had purchased property from W. H. Smith seen in the photo to the left in the northern red square.  You can read that clipping by clicking HERE.  This is the property that is still owned by Dominic's heirs to this day and is farmed by the Walgenbach family.


1892 was a celebratory year in Hospers... it was the Silver Wedding Anniversary of Dominic & Christina (Kauth) Moes.  The Alton Democrat referred to it as "The most notable social event that has occurred in this vicinity for a number of years" in an article published October 15, 1892.  You can read that article by clicking HERE.

By 1895, the only daughters still living at home were Mary Anne, Anna Martha, and Mary Elizabeth.  There was also a young man named "John Van Der Twall", age 9, living with them.  I have not done any digging on him as of yet.  To see the 1895 State Census click HERE.

Dominic and Christina had a total of 10 children together, six of whom were still living in 1900.  The 1900 Census shows Christina as having a total of 12 children, 7 of whom were still living in 1900 which would include Christina and Martin Klein.  This census also shows the year Dominic arrived in the States as 1851.  To see the 1900 census click HERE.

Dominic and Christina's daughters married as follows:

Susan Moes (1868-1953) married John William Walgenbach (1860-1921)

Margaret Moes (1870-1913) married Peter Theis (1867-1937)

Katherine "Katie" Moes (1872-1953) married John Henry Heitzman (1859-1930)

Mary Ann Moes (1874-1923) married Joseph Sylvester Enders (1865-1929)

Anna Martha Moes (1878-?) first married Joseph H. Budde (1874-1908) and then Walter Enos Jennings (1887-1946)

Mary Elizabeth Moes (1880-?) married Frank A. Baadte (1869-?)

There is a lot more information available for them on my account at ancestry.com including marriage licenses, children, etc..  Eventually, I'll get around to researching their lines a little more thoroughly also.

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

I'm fairly certain
this is
Frank & Elizabeth
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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 families to this day and I can't help but wonder if they even know where their namesake originates.

When Dominic died, his children fought over the legal rights to Dominic's property and fortune.  To read more about that from the newspaper clippings click HERE

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

Lived in County Forty Years

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.

Conrad Martin Klein
Pre-1900
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The 1880 Census (click HERE) lists Junior as "Mathias", "age 14" and "assisting on farm".

The 1885 Census (click HERE) lists him as "Martin Klein", "age 16" and as a "Laborer" on the farm.

You can see from the above that they weren't exactly precise in their record keeping.  By 1885, Junior was 18 at the time of that census.

Both of the census' above list Junior as living in Floyd Township (Hospers), Sioux County, Iowa.

By the time of the 1895 Census only Dominic, Christina, and their three youngest daughters were living at home.

There is a newspaper clipping (click HERE) from the Alton Democrat, April 27, 1889 mentioning Junior as being "Martin Klein of Hospers".  Shortly after that, he left for Chicago, Illinois at the age of 23.

Below is an aerial snapshot taken from Google Maps of the Moes original homestead where Junior would have farmed with Dominic.


Moes First Property
Original Iowa Homestead
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Junior is recorded on the 1892 Voting Registration as living at 85 Waller Street in Chicago's 8th Voting Ward, 13th precinct.  You can view that record by clicking HERE.  It lists him as living in the precinct for 16 months, and in the county and state for 2 years.  Below is a map showing how the 8th Voting Ward looked in 1900 and a snapshot to the right showing how it looks today.  His residence would've been approximately deep center field of Smyth Elementary School's baseball diamond near the tennis courts.


Chicago 1900
Ward 8
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85 Weller as it looks today...
Smyth Elementary School
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Conrad and Maggie Wedding
St. Alphonsus Church
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Chicago, Illinois is where he married his bride, Anna Margaret "Maggie" 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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Conrad Martin Jr. worked construction, as an iron worker, building bridges, with the Iron Workers Labor Union in Lake View Township, northern Chicago, Illinois.  Below is a clip from the 1900 Chicago Directory listing him at his address on Wellington as a Bridge Builder.  You can see the whole page from that directory by clicking HERE.


1900 Chicago Directory
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St. Alphonsus Church
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The 1900 census lists both Martin and Maggie renting at the 1345 Wellington address on the June 2, 1900 census (click HERE).  According to City Directories, and the 1900 Federal Census, their rental at the Wellington address is shown below with Saint Alphonsus Church in the background.


1345 West Wellington Avenue
Chicago, IL
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Between June 2nd and June 11th they moved around the corner to Sheffield Avenue in time to be recorded on the June 11, 1900 census.  You can see that census by clicking HERE.  At first I thought this was some kind of mistake, but I checked their neighbors, on each census, and they did indeed move and are recorded on the Federal census twice in 1900.


208 Racine
Around the corner from
Saint Teresa of Avila
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Thedore Martin Birth
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By July they had moved even further south and closer to Lake Michigan to Chicago Ward 25, at 208 Racine which is today's Lincoln Park area (see birth register to left) 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.


A notice in The Alton Democrat on April 21, 1900 informed Hospers that Martin's mother, Christina, was "quite seriously ill".  September 7, 1903 Martin's mother had passed just before a third son was born to Conrad and Maggie in December of 1903 while still in Chicago.  As of this time I have not been able to locate his birth record.  

In 1904 Martin must have been reading, or at least heard of the big news from Uncle Sam:





Above is the headline as seen May 8, 1904 in The InterOcean Newspaper in Chicago, Illinois.  The US Government was offering a land lottery to expand westward onto the Rosebud, or Lower Brule Indian Reservation.  106,326 names were entered into the drawing for only 2,500 spots.  You can read more about the Rosebud Lottery by clicking HERE.  

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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 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).  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 according to an article I read.

Bonesteel South Dakota
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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.

One of the lottery announcements came on August 4, 1904 and the article was entitled, "THE LUCKY ONES IN UNCLE SAM'S LOTTERY".  C. Martin Klein from Chicago, Illinois is listed at number 325 on the full page advertisement.  You can view that page by clicking HERE.



Martin's lottery ticket won him the NE ¼ (160 acres) of section 19.  Below is the original Land Patent and a picture of the property from above.


Land Patent
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Section 19
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There’s much to be said about this Rosebud Lottery and the men that made their claims in that area.

A book called The Capital City Saga, by Adeline S. Gnirk 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 in spite of it all – 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.”
Martin won his claim and returned to Chicago for his pregnant wife, Maggie, and their toddler son.  They took the train to Bonesteel, South Dakota and traveled to their new home by horse and wagon from Bonesteel.  The first building they constructed while "proving up" their claim was a barn where all their belongings were stored including all of their family records and important documents.

Unfortunately, tragedy strikes... and more than once:



An article (to the left) from The Alton Democrat on December 10, 1904 announced his arrival to Hospers from their new claim.

“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.”


"The recent prairie fires", mentioned in the article above, was the result of revenge.  It was printed in The Alton Democrat the same day as the article above that Jack Sully, the "King of the Cattle Thieves", was shot and killed by law enforcement.

What remained of the Jack Sully gang, set out for revenge:

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“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 along with his newly constructed barn.  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 of 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 the following month.  As mentioned above, Conrad and Maggie had two boys who had not survived before moving to Burke, South Dakota from Chicago.  The article below describes the loss of their third and fourth 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.”




Martin and Maggie have left a good paying job in Chicago, they've left two sons buried in Belgium, Wisconsin, Martin's mother has died recently, a newly constructed barn and all of their belongings have been unnecessarily burnt to ashes in South Dakota, and now - not one son... but two are lost.  Martin must be feeling a bit like Biblical Job at this point in his life.  

As the saying goes, Martin and Maggie pulled up their bootstraps and headed back to South Dakota in the spring.

He and his wife are listed on the Census as living in HospersIowa (no children) in 1905 on lines 248 and 249.  You can see this census by clicking HERE.  Martin and Maggie are both listed in the South Dakota census for 1905.


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After all of their tragedy, they still moved on to BurkeSouth Dakota from HospersIowa.  1905-1906 was a busy time for Martin and Maggie.  Martin rebuilt a bigger barn and stayed with neighbors while constructing their "soddy" house on section 19.  

Below is a picture of two settlers from South Dakota cutting sod for a soddy home.


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If you Google "soddy homes" you'll find all kinds of examples of homes built by stack sod.  There are some really shabby ones, and really extravagant soddy homes.  Some of the pictures found online look as if they're about to collapse.  With Martin's construction experience, I think it's safe to say his soddy home was at the least sturdy and reliable shelter.  

Maggie became pregnant with another son around August of 1905 as Raymond Francis Klein was born April 29, 1906.

Their first daughter, Rosa "Rosie" Catherine was named after Maggie's mother Rosalia Catharina (Klos) Roller.  She was born September 1, 1908 in the soddy home.  

By 1910 Martin was farming on his property which is owned free of mortgage.  The 1910 census (click HERE) shows Raymond (age 4) and Rosie (age 1).

Martin built a frame house on his property and by June 20, 1911 my Grandfather, Ambrose Fred Klein, was born in that 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 may have been the last time Martin had seen his step-father alive as Dominic died in 1914.

Shortly after this trip on April 12, 1913 another son, Victor Martin Klein, was born.

June 3, 1917, Conrad Dominic Klein, was born to Martin and Maggie.

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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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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.