Sunday, February 2, 2014

Nicolai Knutz - Looking for a Better Life

Franken  and Nicholas Knutz
[photo courtesy of Mabel Seigenthaler]

After 16 days aboard the Amalfi, the Port of New York must have looked good to Nicolai Knutz.  With his wife, Franken, and children Andreas, Georg, Hannchen, Boye Friedrich, Nicolai Jr., Wilhelm and Anna, they set out from their home in Tatting, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, for Missouri.  Life had been hard for them in Tatting, and Franken's brother Boie Nissen had come to America two years prior, and said the future held more promise than in Germany.  So Nicolai sold the family's meager home to the city, getting enough money to pay for their passage on the ship and get them to St. Louis.
The small house south of Sedlia, Missouri, where the Knutzes raised their family.
[photo courtesy of Mabel Seigenthaler]

Once they made their way to Missouri, they settled on 40 acres of land in Pettis county, about 5 miles south of Sedalia, where they grew vegetables to sell.  They lived in a small house with their seven children.

My grandfather, who was their grandson, met Nicholas and Franken once, as a small child when his family make the long journey from South Dakota to Missouri.   He remembered Nicholas as "seeming like a giant" and having coal black hair and a red, brush-like mustache.  While he did not remember his grandmother at all, his younger sister remembered that Franken would hand-piece quilts for them, which helped greatly during the harsh South Dakota winters.

Nicholas died in January of 1925 at his home, a result of chronic kidney problems.  Franken died in October of 1933, also at her home, from complications of cancer.  They are both buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Sedalia.

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