John Edward Weik is my great grandfather, and he was born on April 15, 1848, to Jacob Weik and Gertraud Huber. His death certificate says he was born in Illinois, but there is nothing to confirm that is true. So, I am assuming he was born in Katholisch, Ketsch, Mannheim, Baden, Germany like all his other siblings.
The only thing I must go on is what my father Merle Otto Weik told me over the years. When this family came to America, they would become American citizens and speak only English. My father also said that they spoke English most of the time but when they got mad at each other that their German language was flying all over the room!
John Edward’s siblings were Eduard (Edward) Albert 1837-1913, Franz (Frank) Wilhelm 1838-1908, Otto 1840-1913, Eva (Donna) Katharina 1843-1916, Ludovikus 1844-?, Louis 1846-1923, Verena Susanna 1847-?, and Richard Weik 1849-1905. I believe John came with the rest of the family between 1854 to 1856 to settle in the Freeport, Stephenson, Illinois area. His parents farmed land in Cederville.
By 1830 German immigration had increased more than tenfold. From that year until World War I, almost 90 percent of all German emigrants chose the United States as their destination. Once established in their new home, these settlers wrote to family and friends in Europe describing the opportunities available in the U.S. These letters were circulated in German newspapers and books, prompting “chain migrations.” By 1832, more than 10,000 immigrants arrived in the U.S. from Germany. By 1854, that number had jumped to nearly 200,000 immigrants.
For typical working people in Germany, who were forced to endure land seizures, unemployment, increased competition from British goods, and the repercussions of the failed German Revolution of 1848, prospects in the United States seemed bright. It soon became easier to leave Germany, as restrictions on emigration were eased. As steamships replaced sailing ships, the transatlantic journey became more accessible and more tolerable. As a result, more than 5 million people left Germany for the U.S. during the 19th century.
Jacob and Gertraud I am sure followed the lead of many Germans that came here before them. It might have been hard leaving their homeland, but they were giving their children a better life in their eyes. They were hard working people with a work ethic that I inherited.
John Edward at the age of twenty-five married Elizabeth Brandt on February 21, 1873, in Freeport, Illinois. Elizabeth was twenty-three year old. Their first child was Edward John born February 21, 1874, in Freeport, Illinois.
Elizabeth’s mother was Anna Elizabeth Bedenbender 1821-1902, and her father was Henry Brandt abt. 1823-1852. Anna and Henry were married about 1850 and had Elizabeth shortly afterwards in 1850. Henry died in 1852 leaving Anna a widow at twenty-nine with a small child. Anna married for a second time on March 9, 1855, to John Henry Debus, Sr.
I believe it was the Debus family members that influenced John and Elizabeth Brandt Weik to travel to Kansas with their newborn son Edward John in 1874. It was mostly farmland of good quality where they could raise corn and other crops in the rich soil of Kansas.
John Edward and Elizabeth along with their son settled in Riley County, Kansas to begin the next chapter of their lives. Soon other siblings came along Peter John 1877, then Elizabeth Katherine 1878, Susan Ann 1880, Louis Franklin 1883, Otto Richard 1885 (my grandfather), and Maude 1889 Weik. All the children would grow up and go to school around Riley County. They became active members in their county and established friendships along the way that had the same work ethics they had known in Germany and Illinois. As their children grew up some stayed in the area while others ventured to other states.
My great grandfather John Edward Weik died on August 1, 1927, of a stroke. He had been in bad health for almost a year. He is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Riley, Kansas.
Elizabeth Brandt Weik died of a stroke also on March 30, 1934, she was eighty-seven years old. She was living with my grandmother Rubie Jemima Pultz Weik when she died. She is also buried in the Fairview Cemetery with John.
Edward John was born February 21, 1874, in Freeport, Illinois. He married Emma Christine Berggren on June 20, 1900, in Kansas. Their children are Esther Lillian 1901-1999, Elmer Edward 1902-1974, Edna Elizabeth (Betty) 1903-1984, Elsie Florence 1906-1907, Earl John 1907-1985, Emery Carl 1909-1984, Eldon Louis 1912-1953, Everett David 1913-1984, and Eula Faye Weik 1916-2000. Edward John died in 1954 at the age of eighty and Emma Christine died on January 1, 1962, in Lindsborg, McPherson, Kansas.
Peter John was born on May 10, 1877, in Leonardville. His first marriage was to Betsy Alice Watson 1877-1918. Two children were born to this couple Frances M 1900-1963 and Clarence Arthur 1906-1948. Peter married a second time to Minnie Noble 1881-1926 on June 27, 1919, in Manhattan, Kansas. Peter died on June 24, 1943, in Kansas City, Kansas. He is buried in Manhattan.
Elizabeth Katherine Weik was born in July 1878 in Leonardville. She married John Wallace Springer on February 28, 1897, in Riley, Kansas. They had one daughter Ada Lillian Springer 1898-1984. Elizabeth Katherine died at the age of eighty-four in 1984. John Wallace married again after Elizabeth’s death to Emma Lee on November 28, 1922, in Washington. John died October 10, 1938.
Susan Ann Weik was born on October 11, 1880, in Riley, Kansas. She married Orville Carless Cross born September 8, 1876, on December 24, 1899, in Riley. To this union there were four children Orley L 1907-1975, Ella Bell 1909-2000, Clifford John 1915-1996 and Lola Mae Cross 1918-1999. Susan died in 1971 Clifford died in 1973 in Salina, Salina, Kansas.
Louis Franklin was born in March 1883 in Leonardville, Kansas. He died at the age of twenty-two years old on July 20, 1905, in Riley. He died of Consumption from a lingering illness. He never married.
Otto Richard (my grandfather) was born on January 5, 1885, in Leonardville. He married my grandmother Rubie Jemima Pultz on February 20, 1908, in Clay Center, Kansas. They had seven children Leo John 1908-1994, Edward Hugh 1909-1986, Don Charles 1910-1986, Lola Mae 1912-1942,m Elsie Elizabeth 1914-1987, Ina Marie 1920-1997, and my father Merle Otto Weik 1922-2004. Otto died after being kicked by a horse on June 16, 1926. Rubie never remarried and she died on June 3, 1973.
Thank you for reading my post and if you have any information on these family members please contact me. Thank you.