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1943: Brauer comes to U.S. at age 21

Bits By Betty
Lead Summary
Betty Mann, Rock County Historian

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on May 6, 1943.
Of all the trips she has ever made, the one perhaps remembered the best of all by Mrs. Charles Brauer, Luverne, was the voyage from Germany to the United States. The trip is memorable for two reasons: one because she observed her 21st birthday on the ocean, and the other, because of the extremes in weather conditions encountered while on the voyage.
Mrs. Brauer, whose maiden name was Hilda Marie Krieger, was born in West Prussia, Germany, Feb. 27, 1868. Her mother died when she was eight, and her father remarried. He was induced by his cousin to come to the United States, so he decided he would make a trip over to see if he liked it well enough to go there to live with his family. After being here a year, he sent the family money and told them to come.
“The first few days out of port were as beautiful as I have ever seen,” Mrs. Brauer recalled. ‘I’ll never forget how the band would go on deck and play every morning at sunrise. When we had been at sea several days, there arose a great storm, and none of us were permitted to leave our rooms. I’ll never forget the people on board. Some were crying, others were playing and still others were singing. The storm did considerable damage to the ship, but it didn’t go down, and we finally reached America.”
The trip, made on the “Karlsruhe,” required 18 days.
Recalling the portion of her life when she lived in Germany, Mrs. Brauer stated that until her father remarried, she, being the oldest of the girls, helped her grandmother keep house when she was not attending school. School in those days was for children eight to 14. After the age of 14, everybody went to work.
Her father was a guard in the government forest preserve. The poorer people had been guilty of stealing wood from the forests, and for that reason, the government employed guards to prevent further loss from that community.
When she came to the United States, she and the family went directly to Wayne county, Neb. where her father lived. She immediately obtained work in a farm home and received $1.25 per week. Her duties included doing the cooking, baking, washing and cleaning indoors, and helping with the milking, gardening and chicken raising out of the doors. After a while, she felt that she was earning more than she was getting, so she asked for a raise. After that time, she received $2 a week.
She worked for one year, then was married to Charles Brauer at Wayne, Neb. April 30, 1891. They farmed in Nebraska for six years, and those six years were as trying as any she ever spent on a farm. If their crops weren’t dried out they were hailed out. Grasshoppers were numerous and money was scare. She recalls how her husband broke the prairie land, and how they gathered big roots which had been uncovered and saved them for fuel.
One year, they had some corn, so they took a load to town to sell it to buy coal. The amount of coal they received for the load of corn was so small that they decided they could get more heat for their money by burning the corn instead, Mrs. Brauer said.
(Part 2 next week)

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