Today is the day… the hottest day of the summer… the day the Meidingers have their picnic… don’t go into the woods today, because today is the day — well you either know that song or you don’t…but anyway…
It is probably year 58 of the annual Albert C. and Emma Meidinger family picnic in Wishek… What began at the farm nearly 60 years ago, the picnic has changed in appearance and attendance as family has come and gone over the years…
Here is a bit of family history for you today.
The Meidinger family history goes back much farther than the 58 years we are celebrating this summer.
Large as it may be, we are only a small part of a much larger heritage that can be traced back to Germany in the 1600s. But, rather than write a Biblical Genesis of who begat whom, I will delve briefly into our forefathers, and concentrate a little bit more on the photographs I received from the family we celebrate today.
Our grandparents, great-grandparents, and great great-grandparents Albert C. and Emma Meidinger first lived on the Christian Meidinger homestead 10 miles north of Zeeland, N.D. in McIntosh County. In 1941, they moved to a farm two miles north, and one mile east of the parental farm.
In 1965, Albert and Emma retired from farming and moved to the city of Wishek, N.D. where they lived out the rest of their lives.
Albert fished, did woodworking, and fixed things. Emma was never far from her basket of crocheting. Each Christmas, all of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren received something made by her hands.
One year, Albert fashioned tiny chairs for each of his children and grand children. One Christmas, each of them received a sturdy rolling pin turned on his lathe.
An accomplished carpenter friend of mine once commented he had never seen such fine wood working as the tiny chairs that Albert made from scrap lumber.
My mom said, in his days, grandpa built the caskets for the babies that died.
Albert C. Meidinger was the second child of Christian and Katherina (Vilhauer) Meidinger. He was born March 11, 1898, 10 miles north of Zeeland, N.D.
Albert attended rural school for five years near the family farm. He was confirmed on March 31, 1914, by Pastor C.T. Nuss in the Reformed Church in Zeeland, N.D.
Albert was married to Emma Schwindt, who was born September 11, 1901, 12 miles north of Zeeland, N.D. She was the daughter of Simon and Christina (Wittmeier) Schwindt.
Emma attended rural school for four years near her home. She was confirmed in a rural Reformed church north of Wishek, N.D., on June 27, 1915, by Rev. H. W. Stiencker from Ashley, N.D.
The wedding ceremony was conducted by Rev. Peter Bauer at the St. John Reformed Church, in Zeeland, N.D. It was a double wedding with the Henry Schwindts.
Emma passed away in May of 1987, at the age of 86. Albert passed away June 1, 1990, at the age of 92.
Albert and Emma had 12 children: Gertrude, Viola, Luella, Wilbert, Alma, Lorraine, Marvin, Wilmer, Edgar, Ellon, Alvina, and Arlene. Edgar and Ellon were twins.
All of Albert and Emma’s children are without middle names, as well as some of the children and grandchildren, because my mother said he didn’t think they needed them.
In the following pages, are listed each of the children, their spouses, their children, their grand children, and in a few cases, great grandchildren. All are descendants of Albert C. and Emma Meidinger.
Traveling a generation back into time, we know a bit about Albert C. Meidinger’s father, Christian. He was the oldest son of Johann Jacob Meidinger and Magdalina (Bender) Meidinger.
Christian was born April 9, 1866, in Kassel, South Russia. At the age of 18 he traveled to American with is parents. They landed in McIntosh County with a landscape reminiscent of the Russian lands they left behind.
It was March 15, 1887 when Christian appeared before the Clerk of McIntosh County District Court and filed his Declaration of Intent to become a United States Citizen.
When he was 23, Christian asked for Katharina Vilhauer’s hand in marriage. She was born September 8, 1974, near Menno, S.D., and later moved to McIntosh County with her parents Jacob Vilhauer and Magdalena (Groszhans) Vilhauer.
Christian and Katharina were married October 12, 1889 by the Rev. U. Reue. They then homestead 9.5 miles north and a quarter mile west of present-day Zeeland, N.D. They built a house of sod and set up housekeeping. It was a time when hay and cow chips were used for heat and cooking. Oxen and horses were used for plowing and making an occasional trip to town for supplies. In the late 1800s, the closest cities were Bowdle, S.D. and Eureka, S.D. It took about a week to make a round trip journey to the store.
Christian purchased the old barreither homestead and moved there in 1919. He and Katharina lived there until his death in November of 1947. Katharina lived for another year on the rarm and ten with her son Arthur, until her death in December of 1949. They are buried side-by-side in the New Kassel Cemetery, north of Zeeland. They belonged to the New Kassel Church.
Families in South Russia lived in centralized communities. When these people moved to America, homesteads spread their houses into the rolling prairies they farmed. Living miles apart may have been a difficult thing to get used to, and I remember, Sunday was a day for visiting families and friends. Christian insisted that every evening, one of his children and their families pay him a visit.
Without formal documentation, 11 children were born to Christian and Katharina Meidinger: Wilhelm, Albert, Magdalena, Gottfried, Leopold, Ferdinand, and a twin sister (died young), Arthur, and August, plus two sons believed to have died during the influenza epidemic. At the time this book was printed, August was the only one still living.
Johann Jacob Meidinger
Christian’s father was Johann Jacob Meidinger, who was born November 2, 1845 in Kassel, South Russia. He was the son of Johann Leonhardt and Karlina (Bender) Medinger.
Johann married Magdalena Bender in Kassel