An Ancestral Farm

Busch farm summer 1907. From right: Rosa and Lucina, Wilhelm, and Ferd Busch, Lena Berning and Frank Busch.  Wilhelm and Frank would be visiting from Hazel Green Township, Grant County, Wisconsin. Lena was likely living in LaMoure Co at the time, possibly at Edgeley.  Photo 11082-00425 ND Historical Society.

Busch farm Summer 1907 looking southwest from north end of Section 13. From left: Wilhelm, Ferd and Frank Busch.  At left, a half mile to the south, is the Busch farmstead, showing house and outbuildings.  Photo 11082-00427 ND Historical Society

This is a family page.  Pictured above would be my mother’s parents, her grandfather, and an aunt and uncle.  The pictures were taken in the summer of 1907 (see NOTE at end of this post).  Ferd and Rosa had been in LaMoure County ND, Henrietta Township, for two years, having moved west from Hazel Green Township, Grant Co, Wisconsin, near Dubuque IA.  They were the first of their two families, Busch and Berning to migrate from the home ground.  It had to be an adventurous time, in all the ways that word can be used.

Recently I sent around to family a number of files including historical information about the family.  They are presented here, for posterity, accessible as long as this blog has an existence.

The entire collection, including almost 1000 photographs, are in collection 11082 at the North Dakota Historical Society in Bismarck ND.

The summary history of the family (all multi-page pdf’s):

Family timeline, etc:Busch-Berning Family compiled Nov. 13, 2018

Impressions of the family on various topics:  Busch-Bern by DB001 and Busch-Bern (2) by DB002

Maps from Germany to North Dakota: Busch-Bern Maps by DB003

Busch photo index at ND Historical Society as of Nov. 2018: Busch photo NDHS Oct 7, 2018 Rev

POSTNOTE Dec. 2:  Found were some additional memories about the farm recorded by Vincent and Art Busch, Dick Bernard and Ron Pinkney in late 1999 early 2000.  (The second attachment is only a single page, completing Ron Pinkneys.) Busch Farm Memories001 and Busch Farm Memories (2)002  Memories as recorded by family were transcribed exactly as given.

The first pages of Busch Farm Memories are Vincents recollections of farming with horses.  Some years ago, Vince’s counsin, Melvin Berning, wrote a very interesting commentary on plowing with horses.  Here.

The Busch farm folks perhaps about 1912 outside the farm house. Note Grandpa Busch (center) holding  his fiddle – note his left hand.  Rosa is behind him.  Photo 11082-00052 ND Historical Society

With some of the Busch horses. Photo 11082-00135 of the ND Historical Society.  Among those pictured are Edithe, Florence, Vincent, Art and possibly Rosa, and maybe George.  Not dated, but dog Skippy points to later 1930s early 1940s.  Skippy liked to be in photographs!  Probably south end of the barn.

Vince and Edithe Busch Oct. 25, 2013.  Edithe was in the memory care unit at St. Rose Nursing Home, and Vincent would be taking a room in the same unit the following month.  They were down the hall from each other.

NOTE: The photos which lead this post were found at the Busch farm and quite likely were taken by a professional photographer.  Every picture has its own story.  These may have more than most, though unstated.

New residents in ND in early 1907 were Wilhelm’s daughter Christina, and Rosa’s brother August Berning who had married in Nov. 1906 and moved to Berlin in early 1907.  Sometime in 1907 they had a son, Irwin, who died at 6 months. No birth or death date is known.  By the time of the photo they were probably living less than a mile from Busch’s.  Irwin may have recently been born, possibly occasioning a visit by his grandfather Wilhelm to both rural families.

While North Dakota was in boom times in 1907, conditions were not the best.  In 1993, Anita Cranfield, Bernings 12th child, born 1925, recalled: “I believe Irene, Lillian and Cecilia [the 2nd, 3rd and 4th children] were actually born at the Busch farm in Wisconsin…I would guess that losing their first child Irwin made my parents very wary of having the children so far from doctors.  Turned out right because when Rose was born Dad delivered her and then the doctor got there.” (Pioneers p. 174, in the collection of ND Historical Society)

It is very unlikely that Grandma Busch came from Wisconsin on this trip.  Someone needed to be back at the farm; and she had her own health problems, possibly asthma, the same kind of ailment which ultimately caused her daughter, Christina, to die at 64 in 1950.

It is easy to romanticize the rural life of pioneers.  It could be and often was a very harsh and unforgiving life.  There are many stories.

#399 – Dick Bernard: A Family Reunion of the Berning Bunch

The McFadden family of Dubuque IA hosted a Berning family reunion this past weekend and I attended. There were about 130 of us in attendance. It was a perfect demonstration of the old adage about effective gatherings of any kind: “Food, Fun and Family”. (An uncaptioned photo gallery is included with this post. Family members in the know, will know!)
As years pass, such reunions are more and more difficult to organize. My common roots with the McFadden’s are great-grandparents August Berning and Christine Vosberg Berning of rural Louisburg, WI, perhaps ten miles northeast of Dubuque. In their “day” – they were born in the 1840s, in Germany and Wisconsin respectively – family reunions happened at least weekly, if not more often. Everybody lived in the same community, were the same religion, were the same nationality (in this case, German), had the same traditions, etc. And getting places away from ‘home’ was unusual.
Today such gatherings bring together people who meld many places, beliefs, traditions, etc., etc. What is normal today would have been unthinkable 100 years ago.
But we came together, and there was certainly FAMILY, and far more than enough FOOD, and a great plenty of FUN on a hot, sunshiny, Iowa day. At this gathering ages ranged from the really young, to 94.
We gathered at Swiss Valley Park near Peosta IA, an excellent venue. The entrance I used has cars drive through the Catfish Creek. It is designed that way. Signs remind people not to drive through in high water, but I’m sure there have been mistakes. The crossing is a focus for families – a variation on the ole swimmin hole. (Click on photos to enlarge them.)

Catfish Creek crossing at Swiss Valley Park July 9, 2011

There was a serendipity element to finding we were at Catfish Creek, since I have a very old postcard from the family files of another setting of that same Catfish Creek where it enters the Mississippi River.

Catfish Creek on postcard mailed November 8, 1908

Catfish Creek has an interesting history in and of itself. One description is here; a photo at the road crossing at the Park is below.

Catfish Creek marker at Swiss Valley Park, July 9, 2011

Formal reunion over I retraced some historical steps, including one with sentimental value for me: at the last reunion, in 1994, my Dad and we siblings went up to the Julien Dubuque monument overlooking the Mississippi. It is after Julien that Dubuque is named. Like Dad, Dubuque was pure French-Canadian.

Julien Dubuque monument and gravesite, south side of Dubuqe IA July 9, 2011

This time, at the monument, I read the descriptors, and found that Peosta, that town with the odd name, was the Indian Chief whose daughter Dubuque had probably married ‘back in the day’ in the late 1700 or early 1800s (Dubuque died in 1810).
Sunday Mass at St. Joseph’s at Sinsinawa and breakfast at Marion Placke’s, then a tour of the old McFadden place in once rural Asbury (now Dubuque) ended a great weekend. Those with an interest, the old home place can be seen at Mapquest at the southwest corner of Radford and Pennsylvania(Middle) Road. The acreage to the south and west remains open and is still in the family. To the east, what appears as open acreage has now been built up.
Family history is harder and harder to maintain. As the old tightly knit communities disappear, as they already have, it is ever more important to built and maintain a family identity, one that reaches far beyond the traditional bounds our ancestors knew.
Thanks, McFadden’s, for a great gathering.