Ernest Humbke Sr. letter to Great-Great-Grand-Daughter Katrina Karsch

Hi Katrina Darsch,

Not sure if you knew that you were born on the same month and day as your Great-Great-Grandpa Humbke. This is a letter he might have written to one of his great-great-granddaughter/son to help them know him a little better.

I encourage you to know all 16 of your great-great-grandparents (paternal and maternal) and keep their memories alive. They have all lead interesting, unique lives and have contributed a bit to who you are. The more you know them the more you will see similarities.

Grandpa Humbke


Happy Birthday Katrina,

I was born the same day as you, only I was born at home (house #57 in the village of Windheim, Germany on Oct. 30, 1867). It was the year Canada became a country and 153 years ago.

#53 (Humbke Residence) Windheim, Germany                                                                                                                                          #53 (Humbke Residence) Windheim, Germany

A big event had just happened 3 days before my arrival. On Oct 27, 1867 my father and mother were married in the same home and I am sure it was because of me. If I had been born out of wedlock, I would never be able to inherit land from my father. My parents were very religious and attended the German Lutheran Village church where I was baptized 3 weeks later on Nov. 17, 1867.

My first 14 years were spent growing up in Windheim where I went to school, helped my mother with chores around the house, and worked with dad in the fields. Times were tough as there seemed to be a continual war going on and village males would be conscripted up to age 40 to fight. If I survived, I would always be a farmer, but the land had been divided among the boys in families so many times before, there wouldn’t be enough for me to support a family.

My grandfather and father decided in 1879 to send my Uncle Chris (age 22 and the only one single in their family) to the New World to see if it was possible to get land. Chris homesteaded SE of White Lake, South Dakota and sent back such glowing letters, about getting 160 acres of land for $10, that my dad sent me to join him 4 years later. At age 15, I arrived in New York aboard the H.H. Meier on May 12, 1883 and immediately set out to join my Uncle in South Dakota. What a trip and adventure that was! My life was turned upside down and I was never to return to Germany!

                                                                                                                                                                         H.H. Meier

My father, mother, 3 younger sisters (Sophie, Minnie & Mary) and a brother, baby Dick, arrived on the “Neckar” in New York Aug 4, 1883. They spent a year in Buffalo Center, Iowa before coming to South Dakota where dad obtained a homestead and later became a citizen of the United States of America. Life was not all that good and Uncles Chris homestead was returned to the government for non-payment of taxes. My parents did better and two girls (Alvina & Emma) were born before they sold the $10 homestead for $1,000 before moving to the Titonka-Woden area of Iowa.

It was a long trip by horse and wagon, but well worth it as corn grew 8 feet tall on very productive soil and I managed to buy two quarters (320 acres) of land. I gave 3 acres of land for the building of a German Lutheran Church and Cemetery by founding Germans of which Dad, a brother-in-law and I were members. Two sisters married to local German boys and it looked like we were settled and would be Americans for life. All I needed at age 32 was a wife and we were living in a German farming community.

                                                                                             German Lutheran Church in rural Titonka/Woden Iowa – Shorter man on far right is me. To my Left  is my Dad.

Fate had something different in store for our family and on July 20 my father fell from a wagon load of logs when the horses were spooked while he was hauling logs for the building of the church. He died in the early morning hours of July 21, 1899, and our family had lost its patriarch. We were all in shock and disarray.

It was the 1900, the beginning of the Twentieth Century, In early 1900 I made the trip to Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan where I joined a band of Indians as they wandered South in their search for food. After a couple of weeks we reached the Battle River where I claimed three homesteads on the Southern Bank in name of my mother, brother and myself. I hurried back to Iowa where we made plans to sell what we didn’t pack in a boxcar and the whole family (except the oldest married sister who was farming with her husband) left for what was called the NorthWest Territories of Canada.

Still being single at 33 years old was an embarrassment and a disaster so I had written back to the Parish Church in Windheim asking if there was ANY girl in my Conformation class of 1882 who was still single. I would pay for her ticket, pick her up in New York, marry her and provide a home plus hopefully children in Canada. Luck would have it, a certain Mary had recently planned to marry, but the prospective husband had changed his mind and it looked like she would remain a spinster for life.

Who said you should fall in love and then get married – I say you should          say you should get married and take responsibility for raising a loving family!

Mary took the opportunity and on Jan. 1, 1902 I left for New York to meet her ocean liner. She had an absolutely terrible passage during which she had contacted a tape worm; lost 30 pounds; and was extremely ill on arrival. It took a long time to nurse her back to life and we didn’t get back to our future 224 sq ft future home on the homestead on April 15th. We were both age 34 and wasted little time; were married on May 22, 1902; and had our first of 3 daughters, Erna, 15 months later. We had two more daughters, Elsie and Martha, in that small home until I managed to sell more of my land in Iowa and buy 320 acres across from the New Berlin one room school, and build a two story home.

In our new home we added 2 sons, Ernest Jr. and Lawrence, which were a tremendous help for me because at that time farming was mostly done by animal and man power.

I never participated much in sports, but both the family I was born into and my family were active musicians. Our main source of entertainment was dancing and my two youngest sisters, brother and I were all members of various community orchestras and bands. My two sons were accomplished musicians and played in local dance bands with cousins because they loved playing and they needed to earn extra money to assist in their farming.


 L to R Ernest Jr., Elsie, Mary, Ernest Sr. & Lawrence Humbke

From 1912 to 1914 I satisfied an itch to do something totally different and moved to Edmonton where ran a general store. It turned into a disaster because of the increasing animosity toward shopping at a German store and the treatment of the girls at school. We quickly returned to the New Berlin School District where he had the comfort and support of neighbors and relatives, both German and other nationalities.

Mary was a hardworking, devoted wife who was an excellent cooked loved her children and grand children. At age 35 she was even registered, during her first year in Canada, at the New Berlin School to learn English. We had a very good life and family.

Mary passed away on Feb. 16, 1944 from blood poisoning as a result of stepping on a nail and I spent the next 3 years staying at my older son’s farm in the winter and my own home close to my younger son’s home in the summers.

I passed away in my sleep in my own home on Sept. 26, 1947, just one month short of my 80th birthday. At the time of my passing I had 5 children, 21 grand children and one great-grand daughter. At my funeral in Wetaskiwin I had 4 brother-inlaws, a relative and a neighbor for pallbearers.

It is nice to see that my son has arranged for a new tombstone plaque to remember my wife and me by.

I can only hope you are having as interesting and fulfilling life as I have experienced.

Best Regards,

Ernest Humbke Sr.

1 Comment

  1. Roger Humbke (Post author)

    Ngonidzashe Manzwangani commented on Ernest Humbke Sr. Letter to Great-Great-Granddaughter Blog#18 Oct. 30, 2018

    Yaa, you managed to keep me in suspense, wanted to know each part of event to the last episode. What an adventurers reading from 1867-1947. When touched when you could even further explain your life after death, seeing what your children were doing for you. That was a great reading.
    Thank you so much, wondering if I could read more about the events taking place in heaven now 🙂

    Hi Nagonidzashe,
    Really appreciate your kind comments.
    I believe what your conscious mind investigates and thinks deeply about goes into your subconscious where it is further processed. The hard part for me has been to develop the skills of meditation, lucid dreaming and self-hypnotism in order to bring, out of the subconscious mind, the results of the processing of the input ideas and emotions.
    Roger Humbk
    Nicole Stiles commented on Ernest Humbke Sr. Letter to Great-Great-Granddaughter Blog#18 Oct. 30, 2018

    I really enjoyed reading your article. It was very personal and interesting. My husband’s family know a lot about their family history and are always telling stories. Some of them are crazy, but they are always fun to hear. It’s great to have people like you who can track this information down to share with the current generations. Knowing our family history is important!

    Hi Nicole,
    Your comment has motivated me plan a number of future blogs on the birthdays of deceased ancestors who I have done research on. It really helps if I can initiate a lucid dream that involves them.
    Lucid dreaming is not an easy skill to acquire, but it is sure worth the effort. What is your contact name on WA?
    Best regards,
    Roger Humbke
    Al commented on Ernest Humbke Sr. Letter to Great-Great-Granddaughter Blog#18 Oct. 30, 2018

    Incredibly inspiring article, I love reading about history, but to read it from such a personal level and to have all the detail is absolutely fantastic.
    You now have me intrigued, I must try to track down what information I can about my great grand parents – although I doubt the story will be as inthralling as yours.
    Do you think this task gets more difficult over time?

    Hi Al,
    So nice to read your comment and questions, AND so inspiring for me.
    Yes you can do the research and get the same results as I do. It really helps if you develop the ability to remember your dreams and especially the ability to control the content of your dreams.
    It is easy for some, but it has been a long slow process for me, but well worth the time it has taken. Stay in touch through or and there is always my profile on WA at Rogerhumbke.
    What is your handle on WA?
    Roger Humbke in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    P.S On Nov.12 I am planning an email from my Maternal Grandfather “Fred Henry Vanouck” born 06Jan1886 Port Hope, on Lake Huron, Michigan and died 12Nov1930 on his farm 12 miles East of Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada
    Tom commented on Ernest Humbke Sr. Letter to Great-Great-Granddaughter Blog#18 Oct. 30, 2018

    What a fun read…..thank you! I wonder what he would think of how fast things move and change in today’s society? I have to admit that although things seemed much harder back then, there is some appeal for the slower pace. Even in my life so far (I am 53) I have seen huge advances in technology and the pace only seems to be quickening.

    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for the comment. Your write about time moving more quickly. I came from a homestead with no electricity power or running water and mostly human or animal power.
    Thru developing lucid dreaming skills all the experiences of the last 75 years pop out in some weird and wonderful ways. The subconscious mind knows no limits.
    Roger Humbke at Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Chris commented on Ernest Humbke Sr. Letter to Great-Great-Granddaughter Blog#18 Oct. 30, 2018

    Wow what an interesting read, and how well written and put together – if only more articles on the internet managed to hold my attention as long as this one did!
    Thanks so much for sharing this angle/look at a life that started 153 years ago. Will spend the afternoon checking out the various other posts you published on this site. Really interesting and flowing read!

    Hi Chris,
    I have been told to write about my experiences in life, but never been motivated enough to do it. Your words may just get me to a tipping point.
    Deep research into long gone ancestors and my developing lucid dreaming skills have resulted in some weird dreams lately that I like to share. I can’t seem to find a big audience among my present day relations so perhaps should be writing for a larger audience.
    Roger Humbke at Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Contact me on WA at my profile “rogerhumbke”. What is your profile name?


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