Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Charles (Karl) Roehm

I have an actual obituary for Charles Roehm (my Great, Great Grandfather), however, I cannot locate the digital version of it at the moment. Instead, I will post it at a later time, but here is a biography about him, which was published about 20 years after his death. It was written in the "Ashley 1938 Jubilee." 

These Jubilees were often published during certain anniversaries that towns celebrated after their incorporation. Most that I have seen are for 50, 75 and 100 years. They are like yearbooks for towns that are celebrating their existence and the history and people that made the town what it is today. It's a lot of fun to read through them. I am sure it was lots of work to make them, as they are chock full of very personal accounts and biographies; they are also full of facts, photos, school photos and advertisements. They truly are a treasure. For any town that produced even just one or two over the 100+ year existence of their town, is sure to leave a lasting record for future generations.

"Not the good that comes to us, but the good that comes to the world through us is the measure of our success." Judging the life of Charles Roehm from this standard, his was a most successful one. He was loved, honored and respected by all who knew him. Never did he seek that prominence which in a large measure brings the individual before the public eye. His neighborhood was the scene of his activities. There his kindly generous spirit was continually extending out with a full measure of sincere helpfulness toward all. Without invidious distinction it may well be said that no man in McIntosh county was better loved than Charles Roehm.

Charles Roehm was born at Zetel in the Grand Duchy at Oldenburg, Germany, November 1, 1852. He acquired his education in the graded schools of Germany. Here he grew to manhood doing blacksmith work in the ship yards for a livelihood. He left his native land and came to America in 1880 and located at Parkers Prairie, Minnesota, where he and his brother George became co-partners in the blacksmith trade. In 1882 he married Miss Rebecca Stegemann of Parkers Prairie, Minn. She was of German ancestry having came to America with her parents at the age of fifteen. They remained at Parkers Prairie until April, 1886, when they packed their meager belongings and family, then consisting of two small children, namely John and Anna, into an ox-cart, and started far the west with Bismarck as their destination. After three long months of plodding along over roadless prairies their team of oxen became exhausted and with only $1.50 cash left, they were forced to cease their journey, having reached what is now the present Doyle State Park. They had traveled approximately four hundred miles. There they remained and filed on that homestead. Their first form of shelter consisted of a dugout on the south side of a hill with a sod front. Later a sod house was erected. For a living buffalo bones were gathered and hauled by oxen to Ellendale, that being their nearest town or trading post. As soon as finances would permit Charles Roehm opened the first blacksmith shop in McIntosh County, serving the sparsely settled farmers and cattlemen in a radius of twenty-five miles.

Charles Roehm differed from most of the early settlers in that he did not engage in farming and his spirit was deeply grieved in seeing countless acres of rolling prairie turned into sod. He advocated cattle and sheep as a great possibility in McIntosh County and devoted his attention thereto. His herds numbered four hundred and more.

Along the shores of Green Lake in this crude, simple, sod house brightened by the beautiful soul of a most loving and tender mother seven children were born. These children are: William Arthur, Druggist, Enderlin, N. D.; Ida Marion (Mrs. Zra Bastian) Easton, Ill.; Charlie Donald, stockman, Buffalo, Wyo.; *George John, carpenter, Wishek, N. D. (my great grandfather); Frank Waldron, farmer, Wishek, N. D.; Fred G., farmer, Wishek, N. D.; Luciele Marlys, nurse, Eugene, Oregon.

With educational facilities lacking in a thus new country the father and mother did not lose sight of the necessity of school for their children. Another wing was constructed on their sod shanty, a private tutor hired, and there, their and their neighbor’s children received their first rudiments of an education.

Many were the hardships encountered by these sturdy pioneers but with their armor of courage and faith in a Higher Being they found their way ahead. Stories of Indians attacking a neighboring community bringing thoughts of fear and horror to them were not uncommon. Prairie fires were a constant threat. Coyotes howled around their shanty at night and the noises of the wild geese on the lake were responsible for many a sleepless night. There being no doctor in the county all forms of ailments and sickness were treated by a few simple home remedies. In the winter of 1898 came the first sadness to this pioneering family. They became the victims of a diphtheria epidemic. The father never failing his family, and turning his back to all dangers he might be encountering felt that alcohol was needed for medicine and he walked through snow up to his waist in below zero weather to Hoskins where the same was obtained, returning with it the same day. The lives of all the children were spared except Anna who died January 16, 1898.

Charles Roehm prospered financially and acquired considerable range land. In 1899 he purchased the present Frank Roehm farm for $1.50 per acre and moved his family there in 1902. Where the farm buildings now stand is a historical site in the county, in that before the days of the railroad, it was the townsite of Youngstown a little trading point and post office. where a Mr. Young was postmaster and O. F. Bryant of Napolean drove stage.

From this new location Charles Roehm extended his cattle and sheep business and built himself a fine set of buildings which have since been completely wiped out by prairie fires. In this new home another son, Richard Robert, was born July 27, 1904. He is now a chemist and resides at Anaheim, Calif.

In the fall of 1907 the health of Mrs. Roehm gave way to the severe strain of pioneering and on February 18, 1908 she died at the early age of forty seven. Her death marked the passing of one of McIntosh County’s real pioneer mothers, who not only knew but endured its countless hardships. Her deeply religious nature, patient suffering, loyal devotion and untiring efforts for her family stand as an inspiration for good in the hearts of all who knew her. She was of Lutheran faith. Internment was made in the Wishek Cemetery.

In 1910 Charles Raehm broadened out his business enterprises and established himself in a meat market in Wishek. He acquired several other business establishments in Wishek which were later sold and his attentions centered on his ranch.

Mr. Roehm did not assume any active part in politics but he was always an advocate and a staunch supporter of the principles of the Democratic Party.

On March 26, 1915 the earthly record of Charles Roehm closed, rounding out an earthly life of 62 years, 4 months and 26 days. Burial was officiated from the Lutheran Church in Wishek with Rev. Willms pastor, and internment was made in the Wishek cemetery along side of his wife