From the May 10, 1913 Grand Island Independent
DEATH OF FIRST ISLAND SETTLER
Claus Stoltenberg passes Away
Peacefully at His Home
HEAD OF PROMINENT FAMILY
First White Man to Make Home Between
Platte and Wood Rivers
Came to Hall County in 1859
Funeral Takes Place Monday
Claus Stoltenberg, the first white settler to locate on the island, the tract of land between the Wood River and the Platte River and from which Grand Island gets its name, passed away at the old homestead south of Sand Krog at 8:45 last evening. Mr. Stoltenberg had no sickness, other than of a general weakness, due to old age and he passed away in a peaceful sleep. He became unconscious yesterday morning and was never revived. He lived to be 80 years, 8 months and 7 days old. On December 6, last, Mr. and Mrs. Stoltenberg celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in a family circle which is one of the largest and oldest in Hall County. Mr. Stoltenberg came here in the year 1859, less than two years after the fist colony of white people settled here.
Claus Stoltenberg was born September 2, 1832, in Brodersdorf, Probstei, by Keil, Germany. He was brought up in the Fatherland and like his father followed farming, and up to the year 1856 worked as a farm hand in the old country. In that year in the month of March he came to America and worked for a year and a half in Wisconsin. In November he started father west and landed in Omaha, Peter Stelk, brother of Marx Stelk, one of the very first settlers in Hall County, was the companion of Mr. Stoltenberg in those days and it was through the senior Stelk, after living a year and a half at Omaha, that Mr. Stoltenberg and a few other emigrated to the then wilderness here in the spring of 1859. Mr. and Mrs. Hans Arp, parents of the Stelk brothers were in the party who came with Mr. Stoltenberg also, the Stelks being step children of Mr. Arp. Mr. Stoltenberg and Peter Stelk worked together and in the spring of 1860 they located in the vicinity of where the Stoltenberg farm is now located, the very first white men to locate on the Island.
On December 6, 1862, Claus Stoltenberg was united in marriage to Miss Paustian. John Wallichs, Grand Island’s first mayor and then justice of the peace, performed the ceremony, one of the first matrimonial knots to be tied here. Mr. and Mrs. Stoltenberg took up work on the land where he had settled and have lived on the place ever since. There were no surveys at the time and those who were located had first claim to the land. IN 1866 the Union Pacific railroad was built through and the land was surveyed. For twenty miles on each side, every other section became government or railroad property. Mr. Stoltenberg’s location happened to be in a government section and he obtained some land by first pre-emption and bought more at $1.25 per acre.
Though very attentive to his farm work Mr. Stoltenberg found some time to give to public affairs. He superintended school work in years past, was treasurer of hi locality, road overseer, represented his community as supervisor and filled other offices, which his work on the farm permitted. For about nineteen years Mr. Stoltenberg lived a retired life, though he helped about the place which has been farmed by his son, Ferdinand.
Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Stoltenberg, all of whom are left with the mother to mourn the loss of their father, except Mrs. Claus Tagge, who departed this earth some years ago. The other children are Edward Stoltenberg, of Prairie Creek, Ferdinand Stoltenberg, of the Island, Mrs. Bernard Wiese, of Prairie Creek, Mrs. Ernest Reher, of the Island, and Carl Stoltenberg, of this city. There are 34 grandchildren and one great grandchild, born to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hitchler.
Mr. Stoltenberg held to the customs observed in the Fatherland. There, if a farmer sold his land, he was either considered bankrupt or not a good man to work. A man who held to his farm and who transferred it to his children from one generation to the other was considered more successful and such is the case in this instance.
The funeral will take place Monday afternoon at 1 o’clock from the home southwest of Sand Krog.
Born: September 2, 1832 Brodersdorf, Germany
Died: May 9, 1913 Hall County, Nebraska