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
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
Centennial History Book 1903-2003 (Emmons County)
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
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
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
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