Henry Edward Reher

Henry Edward Reher was born on August 23, 1903 on the family farm southeast of Grand Island in Hall County, Nebraska. He was the sixth son of Ernest and Minnie Reher.

The above picture of Ed was pulled from the picture below of Arnold on the left, Ed in the center and Emil on the right.

Taken at Ed & Ella's confirmation...
L to R: unknown, Dora Gulzow, Alma Rohweder, Ed, Ella, and unknown

Ed attended District 28 School in Hall County.

June 10, 1925 Ed and Hedwig Knuth eloped and were married in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Hedwig’s sister and brother-in-law, Anna and August Wiese lived there and stood up with them.

Ed had begun farming as a young man, first helping his father on the family farm. He and Hedwig rented several farms after their marriage, first living in the Chapman area, and later south of Grand Island on Hwy 281. In 1941 they bought the farm where Ed grew up from his father. Ed retired from farming in 1963. He continued to live on the family farm until shortly before his death on January 12, 1977. The farm was sold at auction in 2005 after being in the Reher family for about 130 years.

Hedwig Knuth Reher

A Christmas baby, Hedwig Cecilia Knuth was born on December 25, 1903 in Hall County, one of eight children born to Jurgen and Emma Wegner Knuth.

The following biography of Hedwig's parents is extracted from the "History of Hall County", Beuchler, Barr & Stough, © 1920

JUERGEN KNUTH, a representative of one of the early pioneer families of Hall County, was born in Germany and accompanied his parents to the United States. They had four other children: Thomas and Hans, both of whom are deceased; Henry, who is a farmer in Washington township, and Mary, who is deceased, was the wife of John Wiese. The family emigrated to America from the old country, locating in Hall County in 1870, where the mother died in 1900, and the father in August, 1909.

Juergen Knuth obtained his education in Germany. In many ways conditions were hard during early days in this section. There were many Indians and in speaking of them, Mr. Knuth says that once, in 1872, he was thrown from a load of wood which resulted in a broken leg. Indians picked him up and kindly carried him to his father's cabin and though badly shattered and he had only an Indian doctor who set and attended it yet he was so skilled that the bones knit perfectly and the leg has never given him any trouble. The elder Knuth, at the time of his death, owned two hundred acres of land, all of which had been accumulated through his own industry. His sons assisted him and learned to be good farmers. Juergen Knuth first purchased one hundred and sixty acres, still residing on that tract. He now owns four hundred acres in Hall County and five hundred and sixty acres in Oklahoma, all fine land suitably improved, so that today he is numbered with the substantial men of the county.

Mr. Knuth married Miss Emma Wegner, who was born in Germany and accompanied her people here in 1881. She has one sister, Mata, the wife of Hans Gulzow. Mr. and Mrs. Knuth have had eight children: Mata, who is deceased ; Henry, who lived in Washington township; Herman, who lives in Dewey County, Oklahoma; Arthur, also a resident of Oklahoma; Anna, the wife of August Wiese, in Wyoming, and Fred, Hedwig and Helmuth, all of whom live at home. Mr. Knuth and his family attend the Lutheran church. He is independent in his political views. He belongs to several Low German social organizations at Grand Island, and his wife belongs to the Maccabees.

Hedwig and Ed's sister Ella were good friends all through childhood...
Here are several pictures taken of the two of them through the years.

That's Emil's wife, Irene, peeking on the right.

Hedwig with Elaine Wiese
(Hedwig's sister Anna's daughter)

I guess one thing that stands out about Hedwig (besides her cooking) is that she never seemed to age... She always looked the same, the same age to me, from the time I was little till the time she was 80 or 90, (and I didn't see her much after that). She had long, long hair that she braided into tiny little braids and then wound them around at the back of her head into a sort of bun for as long as I remember. Caroline says she had her long hair until she went into the nursing home where no one would braid it and they could no longer care for it.

Hedwig, Ed, and Roma
Caroline, LeMae, and Arlene

Four daughters were born to Ed and Hedwig... Roma born April 29, 1927, LeMae born August 7, 1932, Arlene born August 5, 1935 and Caroline born July 6, 1938. Their stories will appear separately.

Arlene, Roma, and Caroline
Hedwig, Ed, and LeMae

Here are some more fun photos of Ed and Hedwig through the years:

50th Anniversary photo

Like all of the Reher's, Ed loved to dance.
These three photos were taken at Ed and Hedwig's 50th Anniversary celebration

I have several memories of going out to Ed & Hedwig's farm: The kitchen seemed huge, with a nook on one side that had a leather sleeping couch (I think it was called... it was sort of like a chaise lounge with one end higher than the rest like a pillow as I remember it.) After lunch each day, Ed would lie down and take a short nap on that couch. There was also an old pump in the room off the kitchen (was it the mud room or laundry room??). Anyway, it was one of the old hand pumps that you pumped the handle up and down to get water.

There was an out house, which is still there by the way. I'm sure they had an indoor bathroom but the outhouse was used when you were outside working or playing as it was much closer and handier.

There was a cellar with a door for sliding down like in the children's song that we sung when we were little,
"Come out you playmates...
come out and play with me...
and bring your dollies three...
climb up our apple tree...
shout down our rain barrel...
slide down our cellar door...
and we'll be jolly friends for ever more."

The cellar door at the Reher farm

There were two other fun things to "play" on at Ed and Hedwig's. One was a sharpening wheel that was similar to a stationary bike. You would sit on a seat and push two foot pedals up and down. As you did the stone wheel went round and round to sharpen your blades. We liked "riding" on that.

Also, way out back behind the trees to the south of the place was an old jalopy. We used to go out there and pretend to drive the car, traveling to all sorts of imaginary places. What fun!!

One night when Jerri was about 4 and I was 6, I think, we stayed all night with Ed's family. Well, I should say we were supposed to stay all night. Jerri only lasted until about midnight. There were lots of "country noises" that we were not accustomed to being "city girls" The croaking of the many little frogs scared her and Mother had to come get her. I'm not sure if she got me too or if I stayed.

I don't remember Ed and Hedwig having milk cows but I do remember the creamery so they must have had cows. Roma said that they always had cows to milk. The creamery was a little shed with the separator in it. I can still smell the scent of it... I didn't like the smell. I didn't like fresh cow's milk either... but I sure liked the buttermilk soup my Dad would make. Just he and I would eat it as Mother and Jerri didn't like it. Basically, I think, it was just rice with buttermilk poured over it to make soup to which we added raisons and then sprinkled cinnamon and sugar over it.

Another favorite meal of Daddy's and mine was Gritwirst. Hedwig would always make us a batch of that when they butchered a hog. Another dish with raisons... I believe the way it was made then was to boil the head of the hog and take the broth and soak steel cut oats in it and then add raisons. We'd fry it and pour maple syrup over it. Daddy and I were the only ones who liked that too. Silly Mother and Jerri!! Oh, well... all the more for Daddy and me!!

During his life, Ed served on the township board, the District 28 School Board and as a director of the Grand Island Livestock Commission Co. He belonged to the Farmers Union and had been president of the Farmers Union Elevator for 14 years. He was also a member of The Platt-Duetsche Society, Aerie No 378 of the Eagles and St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

LeMae, Arlene, Roma & Caroline standing behind Hedwig
at her 100th birthday celebration.

Hedwig lived to the ripe old age of 101, passing away January 6, 2005.
At the time of Hedwig's death she was survived by 15 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren and 21 great-great-grandchildren in addition to her four daughters and their husbands.


1 comment:

JHaussler said...

The night Jodi and I stayed at the farm, I don't believe that Mother came to get me... I was afraid of the frogs croaking, but I think that Mother made me stay until morning.

One of my fondest memories of the farm was when we celebrated the Fourth of July out there. It may have been earlier that same night that we stayed. I got to light the little snakes that crawled all over the sidewalk and shoot the capguns.