History - John
John was the first child born to Gottlieb and
Christina (Hogue) Grenz. He was born 17
October 1884 at Gildendorf, Russia and emigrated
with his parents to the U. S. in 1905.
John met Minnie Renz in South Dakota. She
was born on 28 July, 1886 at Artas, South
Dakota, the daughter of Carl and Elisabeth
(Fried) Renz. Minnie attended school at
John and Minnie were married at Herreid, SD on
28 Feb. 1908. After their marriage, they
settled on a farm 14 miles west of Hazelton, ND,
near Livona in Emmons County. They lived
there until 1945, when they moved to Hazelton.
Their original farm is currently owned by the
Edwin Schiermeister family ( 1992).
They adopted a son, Theodore, who was born in
Great-nephew Rodney Grenz recalls that John was
an excellent carpenter, a very hard worker, and
had a bit of a temper! His hands were so
hard and calloused that it was said that he
could drive nails with his bare hands. He
also loved to dance.
typical incident to illustrate John's temper was
a time when R.J. Opp had a grain binder on which
the knotter had quite working. He asked
John to help him fix it. Although
they worked on it for many hours, they could not
get it to work. John was so frustrated
that he took a hammer and broke the knotter into
small pieces and then gave R. J. Opp $10 and
told him to buy a new one!
John took many things to the blacksmith shop to
be fixed and when the blacksmith asked what had
happened, John would say, "Never Mind!
Just fix it!"
Minnie died 29 May, 1951 at Bismarck, after
being hospitalized for three days. She was
64 years old at the time of her death.
John was killed in a tractor accident on 7 May,
1952. He was on his way to Hazelton with
his tractor from a field west of town.
According to Sheriff Anton Andres, who
investigated the accident, it appeared that a
plow share had fallen off the tractor about a
mile west of Hazelton and John had stopped to
pick it up. Apparently he did not set the
brakes and the tractor rolled over him, a
long pin in the drawbar caught his clothing and
dragged him 205 ft. before the tractor backed
into a ditch. In backing across the ditch,
the pin evidently released him and the front
wheels passed over his body! When the tractor
hit the high opposite side of the ditch, it
again rolled forward and passed over his body
again. John Stoller, Jr. came by short
time later and found the tractor with he motor
John was 68 years old at the time of his death