Gottfred Grenz

Born: November 13, 1893 - Gueldendorf, Odessa, S Russia
Died: May 19, 1979 - Linton, North Dakota
Father:  Gottlieb Grenz
Mother: Christina Hogue
Married:  March 20, 1919
Spouse: Lydia Schiermeister - Linton, North Dakota 
Born: Feb 20, 1898 - Ananov, Russia
Died: February 1, 1993 - Linton, North Dakota


Family of Gottfred and Lydia - July, 1940


Gottfried (Godfrey) Grenz

          Born in Gueldendorf, a farming colony and they lived in a combination dwelling of living quarters in one-half of the building and livestock in the other half.  Nicholas II was Emperor of Russia and he ruled with an iron hand.  At the time of their departure, a revolution was in action in the country and many citizens and military personnel lost their lives.  Gottfried and his family walked to Kiev, Russia, due to the uprising.  There was no transportation available.  There they boarded a train to Helsinki, Finland.  They were there for about a week (a beautiful city) and boarded a passenger ship for England.  They were at sea for seven days.  Following that they left Liverpool, England, on a freighter and were 23 days at sea, arriving at their destination--Port of Philadelphia, America.  The family had a harrowing experience crossing the ocean.  The sea was very rough, and on some days the captain feared the boat would swamp and capsize.  One passenger did die and was buried at sea.  They arrived in America, November 30, 1905.

          Gottfried's first job was working as a farm laborer for $150.00 a year, which was considered good wages.  He purchased a shirt for 55 cents and overalls of good denim quality for 85 cents.  he was called into service during World War I.  When he reached the training center, they were interviewed and he was returned to farming with an agriculture deferment.  Gottfried purchased land in North Dakota.  When he was 19 years old, he purchased a steamer and threshing rig, one of the first in the country, and did custom work for 28 years.  Flax was sold for five and six dollars a bushel and hired labor was paid $2.50 a day.

          Gottfried married Lydia Schiermeister in 1919.  Lydia was born in Ananov, Russia, in 1989, the daughter of Friedrich II and Sharlotte Schiermeister.  They had 10 children.  Frieda, Alma, Wilhelmina, Rosie, Edwin and Walter are deceased.  Esther and Anna live in California.  Leo lived in Braddock.  Herbert operates the ranch and lives on the original homestead southwest of Hazelton.

          Gottfried and his sons stated in the field of irrigation in the 60's from a hand move type to the center system, to increase feed production for their cattle operation, after losing their best land to the Pick-Sloan Act.  Gottfried was a member of the first "official" board of directors of the Farmers Union Elevator after it was purchased from Mr. Berkholtz in 1939.  he also served as county commissioner for 16 years and on the Welfare Board for 22 years.

           Gottfried passed away May 19, 1979, and Lydia passed away February 5,

Hazelton Centennial History Book 1903-2003 (Emmons County)



Lydia Schiermeister

          Lydia Schiermister Grenz was born in Ananov, Russia, the daughter of Fredrick and Sharlotta (Fuhrmann) Schiermeister.  When Lydia was two years old, her family immigrated to the United States.  They homesteaded 12 !/2 miles southwest of Hazelton, N.D.  Lydia attended rural school and was confirmed at Peace Lutheran Church, Linton, N.D.  On March 20, 1919 she married Godfrey C. Grenz at Peace Lutheran Church and they homesteaded 22 miles northwest of Linton.  In 1975 they retired and moved into Linton.  Lydia's husband died in 1979.  Lydia was a member of Pease Lutheran Church and enjoyed making quilts with the German Choir.  In 1987 she lived with her daughters in Texas and California.  She returned to North Dakota and on November 9, 1991 entered the Strasburg Nursing Home. Strasburg, N.D.  Lydia died at the Linton Hospital on Monday.  Grateful to have shared her life are Sally Grenz of Braddock, N.D., Herbert and Arlene Grenz of Linton, N.D. and Dorothy Grenz of Bismarck, N.D.;  three daughters and sons-in-law:  Minnie and Roland Duncan of Sealy, TX., Anna and Eugene Schmidt of Sacramento, CA. and Esther and Ray Dennis of West Covina, CA.; 17 Grandchildren; 5 step-Grandchildren; 33 Great Grandchildren; 1 Great Great Grandchild; Two sisters; Katherine Eisenbarth of Bismarck, N.D. and Minnie Schmidt of Powell, WY.  In addition to her husband, Lydia was preceded in death by three daughters (Alma, Frieda and Rosie), two sons (Edward and Walter), seven brothers and four sisters.



Short History by Herbert Grenz

After arriving in Mound City, Godfrey worked as a farm laborer until the family moved to North Dakota to a homestead west of Hazelton.  At the age of 19, he purchased some land and a steam engine to break up the sod, and later, a threshing rig.  The threshing rig was one of the first in the county and he did custom threshing for 28 years.

After marrying Lydia Schiermeister in 1919, the homestead continued to grow into a family of ten children.  Farming and hardships went hand-in-hand.  In 1929, Godfrey hauled all his grain to the elevator to make a land payment and put the money in the bank late one afternoon, only to come back the next morning to find that the bank had failed.  But, as stubborn as Germans are, he some how endured.

One of Godfrey's greatest enjoyments was singing, especially with the Stoller boys, Pete and John.  Many times, Christine and Fredricka would join in.  If this Reunion has been held 25 years ago, you can be sure that this hall would be ringing with many German songs that I could never understand.

Godfrey was one of the first official directors of the Hazelton Farmer's Elevator and served as County Commissioner for 16 years, and the Welfare Board for 22 years.  He was married for 60 years when he passed away in 1979, leaving 5 surviving children and his wife Lydia.  She is 94 years old in 1992 and is living in the Strasburg Nursing Home.

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