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Oklahoma Family Tree Stories

This beautiful sculpture of three redbud trees with gold and silver leaves by artist Robin Starke is located just outside the Eleanor & John Kirkpatrick Research Center in the Oklahoma History Center. Each leaf of the "Oklahoma Family Tree" memorializes an Oklahoma family with the family surname, first name(s), and the town or county where they lived. In addition, a short family history will be preserved in the digital family history book at the base of the tree. This is a great way for your family to make history and benefit future generations at the same time. To find out how to honor your own family with a leaf visit the Oklahoma Family Tree Project page.

Krause, Herman Family

Herman August Krause was born on October 28, 1854, in Bloomington, Illinois, two months after his family arrived in the United States. His parents, Carl Christian Frederick Krause and Fredericka Zimmerman, were born in Eisenberg, Thuringia, Germany. Their family included three children: Fredericka; Charles; and Edith.

On September 18, 1874, Herman married Mary Ellen Fletcher, the daughter of Francis Fletcher and Lydia Williamson. Herman and Mary Ellen had four children: Albert Herman; Francis "Frank"; Lillian; and Victor.

Herman farmed with his father in Bloomington and owned a grocery store in Chicago with his brother, Charles. He and Charles also raised horses in Byron, Nebraska.

Mary Ellen died in 1884. Three years later, Herman met Mary Ellen's second cousin, Nora Ellen Leek. They were married in Seneca, Kansas on August 8, 1887, and moved to Thayer. Nora Ellen's stepchildren said she was the best mother anyone ever had. Altogether, Herman and Nora had seven children: Mabel; Herman; Mildred; Karl Christian; Otto Paul; Helen Gertrude; and Clarence Lloyd.

In 1890 Herman moved with his family to Winfield, Kansas, where he bought a 307-acre farm known as "The Cup and Saucer" and built a seven-room house. He then bought an additional 75 acres and decided to develop a 40-acre limestone quarry. His main customer was the town of Winfield, where his stone was used to construct buildings and sidewalks. He also shipped stone to surrounding towns. With eight employees and a growing business to manage, Herman turned farming and horse breeding over to his sons.

Eager for another challenge, Herman and his two eldest sons, Albert Herman (A. H.) and Frank, signed up for the Reno Lottery in 1901 to participate in the opening of the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache reserve lands. Although none of them were successful, Herman leased two quarter sections of school land ten miles east of Manitou on the base line in Comanche, Oklahoma Territory, and prepared to move.

On February 9, 1903, Herman and three employees from the quarry left Winfield by train. They stopped in Blackwell, Oklahoma Territory, to pick up Herman's eldest son A. H., and proceeded to Manitou, a town consisting of a train depot, a hotel, and four or five unpainted buildings. Herman rented a store building and moved in with his family. The interior was unfinished and unpainted. Two weeks later, he moved his wife, two unmarried daughters, Lilly and Mabel, four small children, and his son and daughter-in-law, Alice, into the building. The men brought all the household goods stored at the depot and added shelves while the women arranged and put them away. The men went to Siboney for barrels of water and lumber. Schoffield, which boasted a post office, was later renamed Frederick. Siboney and Schoffield were combined as a single town, and Lillian later married the Manitou postmaster, Jay Collins.

On February 24, Herman, Nora, and Lily went out to the farm to pick a site for their house and chose a spot nearer Schoffield. On March 2, the men took the tent, stove, and cooking utensils to the site, set up camp, and prepared the ground for a garden and trees and began cutting posts.

The family stayed in town, where Lilly and Mabel developed busy social lives. Alice stayed with the younger children and tended to her needle work. The women enjoyed visiting as they washed and ironed clothes and prepared baked goods. In April, Nora and Alice moved to the tent to cook and wash for the men. They often went fishing in a nearby stream. The women made sunbonnets to keep the sun off of their faces and necks. They also cared for their gardens.
Herman and A. H. planted grape cuttings and hauled 17 barrels of water to the site. They built a shed for Herman's horses and buggy. When the wind grew fierce, the women took refuge in the buggy shed. The men hunted and often ate rabbit and prairie dog. On occasion, they dined on rattlesnake.

In April they started laying the stone for the foundation of the house. On June 11, they hosted a house warming party. Seventy-five people arrived to dance and enjoy homemade ice cream.

Herman often carried a shotgun to shoot jack rabbits that ravaged his crops. In June 1910 Herman accidentally shot himself as he was mowing his oat field. One barrel was discharged into his left groin and blasted gun wads and part of his shirt though a huge hole in his back. The lower part of a lung was torn away, two-thirds of a rib was destroyed, and pieces of bone perforated a kidney. The blast tore the covering of his bowels but did not enter them. He also had a burn around the hole where his shirt had caught fire. He was 56 years old at the time. Miraculously, he survived what might have been a fatal accident.

In April 1911, Herman moved with his family to Wilson County, Colorado. He moved three more times before he died in Pueblo, Colorado, in 1928.

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