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Times may be tough but my Great great grandfather really had it tough.

Posted by $ Dobrien 1 month, 1 week ago to History
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A recent post on a St.Paul Historical photo site that my lovely wife made caused me to review a genealogy of my predecessors. I have included the image on this post.
It is my Great Grandfather John Henry O’Brien when he was employed as a policeman in St Paul, Minnesota in 1892 just before he was fired for political reasons. As
His story is fascinating...this post is about my Great Great Grandfather
Bernard Heinrich Theders . Side note we all have 4 biological grand parents 8 great grandparents and 16 Great great grandparents so as you go back in time things get a bit confusing to say the least.
Bernard H Theders born 7/8/1831 named after his father who was born 1803 in Breischem, Westfalen , Germany. Bernard’s father (sr) drowned along with 4 daughters (sisters) when (jr) was 3 years old he had another sister who was 1 years old. Soon after this tragedy his mother took ill and passed away. Bernard and his baby sister were raised by an uncle. When Bernard turned 16 his uncle lent him the $ to go to America with instructions to pay him back and send money for his sister to immigrate to America. Bernard set sail from Amsterdam to New Orleans meeting his future bride Maria Brinkman on the passage in 1847.
After laboring for 2 years he sent the money he owed his uncle and sent $ for his sister (16) to come to New Orleans to start her adult life in America. Bernard who lived in Cincinnati at the time traveled to New Orleans to meet his beloved sister at the docks. Instead of a joyous reunion he was given her corpse , as she had died on the voyage across the Atlantic. No explanation as to what happened was given. In 1855 Bernard and Maria married and moved to Minnesota. Their first daughter Eva was born in 1857.
He was a farm hand till 1861 when he purchased 40 acres from his employer and set to farming then next spring. Before his first harvest in 1862 President Lincoln called for enlistments in the civil war. Bernard volunteered on August 14, 1862 along with 70 or so others from his southern Minnesota Sibley County. The next day they marched for 2 days to Fort Snelling to Muster in. He was advanced $13 of his $25 pay for joining. They then were sent home to have 10 days to harvest their crops or get their affairs in order. The Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising, the Dakota Uprising, the Sioux Outbreak of 1862, the Dakota Conflict, the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 or Little Crow's War, was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of Dakota (also known as the eastern Sioux). It began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota, four years after its admission as a state. Upon arriving home they were immediately called back to Fort Snelling to be uniformed and go after the Indians who attacked and massacred many settlers under Little Crows lead. No time to harvest crops or get their affairs in order.
One of The many reasons for the massacre was the result of fur traders who were commissioned by the US Govt to distribute an annuity to the Indians in exchange for land were stealing the money , as well as treaty’s being broken land that was to be a type of reservation was absconded and settled.
One trader, who in four years and an annual salary of $2000 amassed over $100,000 in savings as an example. Sounds a lot like members of con-grass today doesn’t it? The Indians were starving and were told by this trader thief “ to eat grass”. He was among the 350+ settlers found killed and he had grass stuffed in his mouth. Like many conflicts a lot of guilt could be spread around.
Bernard Theders company lead by Col. Henry Sibley (my high schools name) went after the Indians and partook in many famous battles. The infantrymen walked and the scouts and Officers rode horses. In the following year they traveled an estimated 1950 miles through Minnesota and the Dakotas. The weather ranged from 110 in the shade to -20 below and everything in between. The men carried 25 lbs of equipment and they often ran out of food and water. Much resupplying of food came from Indian camps that were abandoned in their path. Many casualties from both sides on an almost daily basis. It was almost a guerrilla warfare type of battle. That experience was to be beneficial in the very near future for the survivors.
Upon returning to Minnesota the troops then started Marching to St. Louis getting a steamship ride for part of the way. For the next two years they made their way down into Kentucky to Indiana back to Tennessee to Alabama , Mississippi , Louisiana and towards Georgia.
The regiment was considered undisciplined by a few Generals because they did not like to form lines when attacking. They staggered the lines to draw fire and then pounced on the revealed rebels , they utilized a more guerrilla warfare. At one point they were ordered to make camp in a very marshy area away from a city. The General said those stragglers could make trouble with the locals.
During a particularly bloody attack on a rebel fort the first line was soldiers from Ohio ordered to attack ,the second line was the Minnesota troops the Ohio boys were quite defeated but the stragglers saved the day knocking out the defenders and over taking the fort. They awarded the General with 12 large cannons from the enemy. When requesting to move camp out of the marsh the General said no because he was afraid they would take things from the residents .Col Sibley responded “you mean like the 12 cannons we got for you” . Camp was then moved to a more favorable location. It was around this time when Bernards daughter Eva died of unknown causes.
After returning home when the south was defeated, it was determined all told in the three plus years they had marched some 10,950 miles.
Great great grandpa Bernard returned to his wife and their 40 acres to farm. They had four more children one being my great grandpa Henry born 1870 who lived till 1898 dying 3 weeks before my grandmother Henrietta was born. She married John Henry O’Brien’s (the cop whose photo is attached) son Dewey in 1921 .Bernard out lived all his children as 2 other daughters died at age 11 and 14 another son died on his 18th birthday.
Bernard passed away in 1918.


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  • Posted by $ Commander 1 month, 1 week ago
    Great story D.
    An aunt, born in 1919, told of a family bible that dated to the 1300's. When my dad's family weathered out the worst of the depression in Poplar, WI., the book disappeared. My cousin has been making inquiries for more than 20 years...no avail. Perhaps before i pass...?
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    • Posted by AmericanWoman 1 month, 1 week ago
      My grand parents came in at Ellis Island everything was so secretive believe I know why but what is sad so much family history was hindered from being told by my eldest Uncle, his son continues the block. I was just 8 and then 9 when my grand parents passed, my Mother, Aunts closed lips and acted dumb when asked. So little is out there even the names of my grand parents have been removed from the listing of their final resting place. Pray you do find out but prepare for never being told facts.
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      • Posted by $ 1 month, 1 week ago
        Thanks for sharing. My mother was an Ellis. The story goes as follows her great grandmother and great grandfather came from Denmark or Scandinavia he was a gardener on the estate where her great grandmother was raised (she was said to be from royalty). They fell in love but the relationship was forbidden by her parents. They fled to America and took the name Ellis as they did not want to be tracked down. I can’t verify the story but I like it so it will be passed down as a speculation to the origins of the Ellis branch.
        I have also found that many questions regarding the past are irritating or worse to some of those questioned
        It may be a result of their ignorance of the topic and it maybe something else. I do know inquiring minds ask the Questions regardless.
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        • Posted by AmericanWoman 1 month, 1 week ago
          Sweet to have at least part of a story to tell would it not be wonderful if our grand parents, parents, relatives, realized the importance to know...my story is a tad shorter actually both came in from Austria, changed names as they entered Ellis switching around letters....believe they were hiding from what has been found from the murdering evils ones even changed to Catholic. Found three different spellings longer and shorter even my grand mother changed her first name but documents were found after my wonderful uncle (whom I never asked anything) passed the document was in his possession. I believe I know the early history proud actually just wish truth was spoken so we all would know the truth.
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          • Posted by $ 1 month, 1 week ago
            On my wife’s side we inherited the Memoirs of
            Henry R Mygatt one of her past relatives on her grandmothers side. Henry was born 1810 died 1875. He was a very prominent attorney. In the book several US Supreme Court Judges discuss his Character. He had won several cases that he took to the highest court. The leather bound book contains his photograph and autograph it tells of his schooling as well as his career. Mostly though it is accounts of people’s impressions of the man , their interactions and experiences with him. When I first read it I was very moved because my wife seemed to have inherited many of his lauded qualities. She being born 78 years after he had passed. Her mother and father lacked those same Qualities that I read about. Mr. Mygatt was a descendant from her fathers side. In his office Henry Mygatt had hand written a few words that were on his desk discreetly placed.
            Those words were as follows:

            “The best portion of a good man’s life.
            His little, nameless, unremembered acts
            Of kindness and love.”
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  • Posted by $ blarman 1 month, 1 week ago
    Great stories and thanks for sharing!

    I think times are always tough. The question is the nature of the challenge. We live in times which aren't as physically challenging certainly as those in the past. Instead they are morally challenging, with the very nature of morality (right vs wrong) is being warped and twisted in ways unimaginable until only a few decades ago. Our children are being taught by ideologues who have divorced themselves with Reality and seek only to justify their own delusions of grandeur. Our Congress and government has been infested with those who openly seek to destroy the freedoms this nation was founded on. Even 200 years ago I think Thomas Payne nailed it:

    “THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
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    • Posted by $ 1 month, 1 week ago
      I just like the way you think. Hardship is hardship and it comes in many forms. Freedom is extremely valuable and the cost has always been high. Many won’t understand the value till it is lost.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 month, 1 week ago
    Good story, but making the calculation, I don't think your great grandpa lived from 1870 to 1998, as that would have made him 128 years old.
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    • Posted by minesayn 1 month, 1 week ago
      Not only that but probably the oldest living male to have fathered a child (based on the way it was written).
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      • Posted by $ 1 month, 1 week ago
        Poorly written I know , but I try. Putting my thoughts down in letters have always been challenging to me. Some things I am quite adept others not so much. Writing posts and comments on the Gulch has been a way for me to improve in that arena. A few years ago I would not have even attempted that long of a story.
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  • Posted by 25n56il4 1 month, 1 week ago
    Hey Dan, did you ever think how many people were involved in creating you? Start listing grands and greats and you will be amazed. Two people didn't do it alone. You are the product of many, many people. We all are.
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    • Posted by $ 1 month, 1 week ago
      I know it , if you just go back a few hundred years you end up with a huge number of grand parents and cousins hard to not know almost all of us are connected at some point in the past. Besides Adam and Eve.lol
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  • Posted by Owlsrayne 1 month, 1 week ago
    This is very interesting that many of us here on the Gulch have similar stories about our Great Grandparents/Grandparents.
    On my fathers side his father had 2years University in Gdansk Poland and spoke three languages along with his uncle who was a few years older obtained forge papers to escape the Prussian army sweep of all young Polish men to be cannon fodder. They boarded a the S.S. Finland to America. Upon docking in New York, they jumped ship and made there way to Minnesota. My grandfather worked in the coal mines there. When he earned enough money money bought 91 acres outside of Keewatin to become a farmer. My other grandfather was an Olympic wrestler living in Amsterdam Holland ( I have a picture of him in a strongman pose at the age of 21) at the outbreak of WW1 his story gets a little murky but he ends up in the US Army as a cook. His battalion when they were in Europe got hit by German mustard gas. He got sent back to the states. After being hospitalized for some time became a cook on the TN Andrea Doria. He was the last crewmember to be rescued. He was left off of the tally of those rescued. His wife and family members couldn't find him for a week. Later he became part owner in tavern in Hoboken , New Jersey.
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    • Posted by $ 1 month, 1 week ago
      Thanks for sharing your story that was what I was hoping the responses to my story would trigger. My Great grandmother who married Henry Theders family all came from Germany but were born in Prussia. I have their tree going back to 1705 many Theilens and Sausens. I did not know they mined coal in northern Minn.
      That is where the iron ore is mined.
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      • Posted by Owlsrayne 1 month, 1 week ago
        The coal mines were underground and from what was inferred that the coal and iron ore went to a steel mill somewhere in Minnesota.
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        • Posted by $ 1 month, 1 week ago
          Minnesota has no coal reserves or production. Wyoming and Montana supply the coal consumed in Minnesota, and more than nine-tenths of the nearly 14 million tons of coal consumed in the state was used for electric power generation in 2018.
          In 1925, Philo Brockway wrote that the steel plant at Duluth -- at full operation -- consumed about 735,000 tons of coal per year (that had to be shipped long distances to get here), more than 700,000 tons of iron ore, 222,000 tons of limestone, and 360,000 tons of scrap steel and iron, plus 30,000 tons of firebrick, ...
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          • Posted by Owlsrayne 1 month, 1 week ago
            My mistake, after further research my grandfather worked in the Bennett Mine:lakesnwoods.com/KeewatinHistory4.htm
            Which was an underground Iron ore mine. He later purchased property adjacent to Forrest Pit Mine which the management offered at a low price but he had to give up any mineral rights under the property.
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            • Posted by $ 1 month, 1 week ago
              No worries. I have found some old stories of long past relatives to be a bit exaggerated or made up to satisfy this inquisitive boy’s curiosity years ago. Thanks for the link interesting stuff. Wonder which one was Hank Readons.
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  • Posted by 25n56il4 1 month, 1 week ago
    Thanks for sharing your family story. Makes us all a little more grateful for our own lives. How would today's cupcakes handle all this? Whoops!
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  • Posted by 25n56il4 1 month, 1 week ago
    If you are interested in Geneology and get a chance to visit Houston, Tx, visit the Clayton Library. It is a geneology gold mine. Incidentally my cousin and I did our family history for our children in 2000 and it's hundreds of pages book is also there.
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    • Posted by $ 1 month, 1 week ago
      That is awesome I would love to hear some more about your father. From what I have read from you he was an outstanding gentleman with a backbone of steel.
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      • Posted by 25n56il4 1 month, 1 week ago
        Family came from Scotland but grandad married a lovely American Indian. First relative born in America in 1619. Grandmother born in Paint Rock Texas (Comanche Territory). That's one side. Other side Ashkenazi MD (Civil war surgeon) great, was born in DC, family from the Alsace Lorraine Region, plantation in Maryland. Both sides came to Texas in 1830. Wonder why they left their plantations in the same year?
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