THE NATHE FAMILY HISTORY
A SHORT HISTORY
BY MRS ANTON (MAGGIE) NATHE
My father, Henry Klein, was born in Germany in upper Bavaria on June 11, 1834. At 19 years
of age he and his two sisters come across to America and landed in Baltimore. There he learned
the shoe trade. He married Mary Ursala Bischoff and started his own business-a shoe store,
making all the shoes by hand.
Mary Ursala Bischoff, my mother, was born in Germany. Her father was killed under a load
of wood. The her mother with two girls and boy set out for America. The mother became sick
on the boat and died and so was thrown overboard to be burried in the ocean. The one of those two girls, my mother, also became sick along with other people for which reason she was kept from landing. She was 16 years old then. When she finally did come across she and her sister had to go our working for some Jewish folks. Then their brother- the boy who was Uncle Bischoff- got them some work. During this time she met my father and married.
The marriage turned out to be a happy one that lasted many years after the celebration of the 60th wedding anniversary. Father died at the age 89 and mother at the age of 96. They had 8 children, four girls and four boys. James the oldest died at the age of 21, and Katie at the age of 18, both of consumpition. Andrew died at the age of 2 from diptheria. The other children were Joe, Mayme, Johnnie, Annie and myself. Papa got something in his head and for his health had to change climate. Johnnie and I were in poor hralth also.
Uncle Bischoff was in Florida and wrote Papa that Florida was a healthy climate and country. He went down to see and sure enuf he felt better; in fact, so good that he wrote mother to come sown with us. We were very happy but Mother went to savannah by boat and then by covered wagon to the place where uncle lived. We told the fruit just grew wild but we surely got fooled. We landed July 1th and on the 4th we had a fish fry. We had never seen anthing of that kind- fry stuff outside and eat off the ground. And imagine corn bread made out of rough cornmeal soda & water.sister in Baltimore) Pa cleaned up and slos sweet potatoes. Well, we just couldn't eat such meals. We come from the city and were used to having good meals. There was no church and no school. Brother Joe didn't stay because he was a barber by trade and down there no one bothered much about shaving. So he went back to baltimore and got married. His wife dies of childbirth and the baby also. A year later he died also of T.B. at about the age of 24. Joe and the other three are burried in Baltimore.
Father got a little land which was very poor. Real estate agents were cheating people coming in from the outside. Well, father started to build a log house cutting the logs himself. It was just one big room and the rain came in from all sides. Lucky enough mother had brot her carpet and so she would hand this around the sides to keep out the rain (she had also brot along her feather beds, but on account of the heat she soon sent these back to her around there and planted a garden, and among other things sweet potatoes. There wasn't any store around so you either had to raise your own corn or buy it from the natives and take it to the neighbors to have it ground. You couldn't buy white flour unless you want on houseback thru the woods for about 25 miles to Dade City. This was real small place, but you could at least buy groceries there such as salt, rice, soda flour, syrup and brown sugar.
The natives raised sugar cane and made their own sugar and syrup. Whenever it got very hot the syrup would foam up and run all over the glasses and jars. It was so thin that many just kept it in jugs. The main meal down there was grits which was terrible stuff. It was made by cooking ground corn with water and then eating it with syrup.. Milk never amounted to much because they left their cows run wild with the calves. If they would come home to the pen they would milk them otherwise there just wasn't any milk. The only meat was that of wild hogs which they caught in the woods. We certainly weren't uses to eating stuff like that. What a living!
Christmas came along and would you belive it! Those natives had never even heard of a christmas tree. Oak trees never lose their leaves down there, so papa took an oak tree, trimmed it all up with paper and things that mamma had brot along from Baltimore. Them he carried it to the neighbors and you should have seen them! The news spread and many people came to see it. They claim that it was the first Christmas tree in Florida. We had Mass here only once a month in a private Home.
Soon Papa bought a place of his own and after enuf people came around we name the place St. Joe. We helped to build the church there (My husband's father was the main builder). We also started a school which was taught by an old man. They sent me to the Sisters at San Antonio. I was 12 years old and the first one to stay boarder, so I got very homesick. They finally had me take music to get me over it. After taking that for 12 months school was out and I went home. The church was finished now and papa bought an organ-a little one- for it, which I played, sang and ran every day the chior for 7 years. During this time I rode horseback to school every day which was three miles away.
As time went on Papa, Mama and I were home alone. We planted three acres of strawberries. Papa and I had little plows with which we used to work the berries. When picking time came around we got some negros to help us and at night we would pack, but we couldn't make any money at that. Then the big frost came along and killed every fruit tree; so we didn't have anything left. (this must have been the big freeze of 1897 or 1898 which Mrs George Bischoff used to talk about which made poor men out of the rich over night. All the groover froze out)
Annie married Caspar Zierden and had moved up to Minnesota. After she had been there a year she wrote that we should come up too. Papa had always wanted to go North, so we went. Since we didn't have a home, we stayed with them. I worked for then that year and got a coat for it. The next year Tony came up from Florida and we got married. At first we stayed with her sister and husband, but he drand so much that we left. (I don't mean that Tony drank-never). We didnot have a thing, except a cow, a calf and a few chickens. We rented a place and got horses and other things, all without money. We started to work, but neighbor of us knew how to farm. We got this farm at West Union where we stayed for 4 years and where Tony and James were born. There I again played the organ and ran the choir to pay off our pew rent. Father Maurus was the pastor. Mama cooked for him for a while.
Then we moved to New Munich and rented another farm of 160 acres.. Here Katie and Caspar were born. We had this place 6 years and wanted to buy it . We paid $10.00 down but another came along and paid more to buy it and we lost it. We then rented another place 1/2 mile away, where Johnnie, George and Frank were born. We were here 6 years also. Then we bot the 120 acres farm we are on now and later we bought 160 acres next to it, the Henry Nelage farm. Here Margaret and Loretta were born. We built a new house in 1917 after first building a silo and a new piece of the old barn. Three years after the house was built we built a new barn and hen house. Soon the granary and smoke house.
Now we have 50 jersey cows, other stock, machinery etc. The Children are grown and at 64 years of age we farm with hired help. Mayme married Joe Nentle and came to Minnesota shortly before we did. My brother John also came and is running a dairy in Melrose.
The folks moved to a house they bought in town shortly before celebrating their diamond jubilee. Mom died March 22, 1961; Dad Jan 8, 1962 and burried in New Munich.
(this line by (Frank) Fr. Gerard.)
Henry Klein Born;June 11, 1834 married Mary Ursala Bischoff
James---Died at age 21 of consumption
Katie---Died at age 18 of comsumption
Andrew--Died at age 2 of diptheria
Joe-----died at age 24 of T.B. a year after wife and baby died at childbirth
Mayme married Joe Nentle
Annie married Caspar Zierden
Maggie __-__-__ / Mar 22, 1961 married to Tony Nathe __-__-__ / Jan 8, 1962
More information from
Darrell A. Schulte