Remembering Margaret (Maggie) Nieland (Mueggenborg)
(1881 - 1962)
from David Nieland, recollections in
2004 and Joe Voss, phone conversation in 2000
Antone [1876-1922] and Maggie (Nieland) Mueggenborng
[1881-1962] moved to Oklahoma before 1909. Their first two children
were born in Iowa and the third was born near Okarche. She told
me they moved to Oklahoma two years before Oklahoma became a state
and that was 1907. People they knew from Breda had gone out to
Okarche and found land that Antone thought would be good to farm.
Maggie borrowed money from her bachelor brother, Hein [Henry G.
Nieland 1876-1931] to buy land. Antone went first and Maggie and
the children followed, traveling by train. They loaded all their
household goods into a boxcar. I don't know how much livestock
they took - but they did take the chickens and likely a cow. Hein
rode in the boxcar with all the family's worldly possessions and
Maggie and the children rode in the passenger cars.
The house Maggie moved into on the farm in Oklahoma
was pretty primitive, even for the times. She told of putting
the legs of the kitchen table in cans of kerosene to keep the
bugs off the table. She put the food and the baby (probably in
a crib or basket) on the kitchen table to keep both safe from
the bugs. When the wheat needed to be shocked, the family would
work in the field at night, because it was too hot to do such
heavy work in the Oklahoma summer. The baby slept on the kitchen
table while all able hands worked in the field.
Maggie never had her hair cut. When Antone died
she wanted to have it cut, but Grandpa [Henry] Nieland asked her
not to cut it. He said he used to comb and braid her hair when
she was a little girl, before she went to school. He asked her
not to have it cut because of that. She did that for him. Maggie
later broke her arm and could not comb her hair and again she
wanted to have it cut. Her children said, "No!" and
one of them came every day to comb and fix her hair until her
arm healed. Her hair was never cut - once by request of her father
and once by the request of her children.
Joe Voss says the farmhouse was not much protection
from the cold either. It had linoleum on the floor and the Oklahoma
wind blowing under the door would raise the linoleum.
The family started in Oklahoma with very little
money and a big debt. Joe says they may have arrived too late
to plant the first year on the land. Antone walked the roads near
the farm and collected wild sunflower stalks with the seed heads.
He piled them behind the chicken shed and the chickens fed on
the sunflower seeds the first winter. The family is said to have
survived on eggs and "blue sky" gravy. The recipe for
this is simple - flour, a bit of any fat you have (butter, chicken
fat, lard), heated in a cast iron skillet. Then add milk or water
and cook until it thickens.
as told by Loretta Voss Schaefer, November 2001
"I remember that Grandmother [Maggie Mueggenborg]
had several horses in the barn there [Okarche, OK]. My uncle Clements
usually rode after the cows. I might add, that on one of his rides
to get cattle in he jumped off the horse, broke his leg, and later
developed cancer of the bone as a result of the break. Back then
(1937? or so) there was nothing to be done for cancer so at the
young age of 28 or so he died. What we question now is, 'Did he
have cancer of the bone which caused it to break, or did the break
cause the cancer?' "
as told by Lorraine Nieland Starman,
was a very nice woman and my dad, mom, my brother Dennis and I
attended one of her sons' wedding in Oklahoma in 1940. She let
me ride a saddle horse she had and he headed straight for the
barn with me on the saddle. The bottom barn door was open but
not the top one. I ducked down just in the nick of time!"
as told by Joan Wittry
(Hannasch), December, 2001
Regarding our visit to Oklahoma, Clarence also had
cousins, the Krauses, in the Okarche [Oklahoma] area. One of my
cousins [Agnes Osterholt, born 1930] in Oklahoma married one of
his [Clarence Kraus, born 1923] so, on our honeymoon, we drove
down to visit them.
His cousin, also Clarence, had a combine that was
huge and they had begun to follow the wheat harvest to earn money
to pay for this big machine. They had a convoy of rigs and trucks
and worked from dawn to dark seven days a week from Oklahoma to
Canada all summer.
After the harvest, they returned the visit, coming
to see us at Carroll. While in Oklahoma we saw several of our
cousins and went through the Ozarks on our way home. This was
Clarence [Kraus, Joan's first husband] died in 1952,
from injuries in a car accident during a fierce rainstorm that
flooded the road and he crashed into a bridge. Our sons, LeRoy
and Gerald [Kraus] were so young. Lee was 2 and Gerald 8 months
Grandpa Kraus and a neighbor helped do the farm
work until we harvested the crops and had a farm sale. A man who
had once lost his wife and people helped him out, repaid his debt
by organizing people to come and help do our harvesting. I never
knew this man until years later.
Since the Kraus farm was then rented to someone
else, we moved to Carroll, first renting a small house and later
buying our own.
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