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William T. Loeschke and Auguste L. Sass

William T. Loeschke (1850-1930) and Auguste L. Sass (1858-1941) – From: “Loeschke-Sass Family Book” April 1988 compiled by  Irma Loeschke Remund

Frederick Wilhelm Loeschke was born Jan. 19, 1820 in Pommern, Germany. He married a girl named Amelia (according to Pa) and they were parents of two sons and three daughters. His wife died at an early age, and in 1873 he and his nearly grown family emigrated to the United States. He also helped his nephew, Christian Loeschke to come to the US. They located at Mt. Clemens, MI. Aunt Alma said they farmed at the south side of Mt. Clemens near the Gratiot Ave. Bridge over the Clinton River. Roger Schwandt says the Loeschke farm was near Waldenburg, MI on 23 Mile Road. Frederick spent the remainder of his life there and died at age 70. He is buried in Macomb Lutheran Cemetery, rural Mt. Clemens. The legend on his tombstone is no longer readable, but it was when I first saw it in 1941.
Christian Loeschke and his family moved to Honey Grove, TX about 1880. August Loeschke moved to Rising City, Neb. About 1879 and was so impressed with that area, he gave such glowing reports that the Will Loeschke family and the Sass-Devantier families all moved to eastern Nebraska. The Loeschke daughters remained in Michigan. A few years later August Loeschke moved to Oregon. He was described as having red hair and a red beard. He raised a family of three sons and a daughter near Silverton, OR. His wife later left him and they were divorced.

William T. Loeschke worked on farms in Michigan. In 1878 he married Auguste Sass, also of a German immigrant family. In 1880 they moved to Nebraska and settled, along with other relatives, hear Rising City. By this time they had two small sons, Traugott and William. Alma and Edmund were born at Rising City. Auguste’s parents, brothers and sister also lived there, but the Devantiers moved back to Michigan after about ten years. Bertha Sass (Albertine) married Albert Kaempher a newspaperman and they lived in Rising City too.

In 1885 the homestead fever took them to western Nebraska by wagon train, and they filed a claim on land near Big Springs, Neb. They built a sod house thirty feet long, and also some outbuildings of sod. Frederick, Emma, and Walter were born there. As the children grew older they attended school in a sod schoolhouse. Grandma said Edmund knew the whole catechism before he started school.

Our Pa told us many stories of his school days there. When he started school he knew more German language than English. He was very shy and his teacher tried to get him to talk to her. Finally she asked him if he had a kitty. He nodded so she asked, “what color is it?” He replied, “Grise and white.” He went to school with Gregors, Bundys Fenskes, Sundermans. At first the sod school had no outhouse. When necessary the kids would go to a little slope a short distance away. One warm afternoon Mary Sunderman raised her hand and was given permission to leave the room. Soon, from the open window came a strong putrid odor. The teacher’s face got very red. When she dismissed school she told Mary to stay after school. When the other children had started for home, they observed that Mary came out, picked up some sticks of weeds and carried something from under the window to the slope. Later a toilet was provided, but it had knotholes in the walls.

Neighbors held worship services in one another’s homes. Will Loeschke sometimes serving as the lay minister. He sometimes read from a book of sermons. At times the church service was held in the schoolhouse.

The weather was dry nearly every summer and crops were poor. The cattle were driven to the Platte River (three miles) each day for water when no other was available. One year a neighbor gave the Loeschkes a wagonload of parsnips and they ate parsnips all winter.

The area had many prairie dogs and rattlesnakes, with some king snakes and copperheads for good measure. Sometimes cattle or horses died from snakebite.

William Loeschke bought a well-digging machine, but sometimes he could not find water, or collect from people for whom he dug wells, so he lost the machine. He worked wherever he could, and once worked in Ogalalla for Buffalo Bill Cody. Ray recalled sitting on his Pa’s lap as a little boy to hear stories of Buffalo Bill.

William and Auguste decided they must move again to make a living for themselves and their seven children. In late 1895 William and his second son, Will Jr., drove a team and wagon to Texas to see if they would like to settle there, staying with cousins at Honey Grove. The mare they drove had a colt, which trotted along all the way to Texas. They stayed all winter, working and picking cotton. They said when it rained the wagon wheels would become so thick with mud, the wheels would not turn and the wagon would be left till a drier day. They decided against Texas, sold the horses and wagon and returned to Nebraska by train. The children at home were disappointed when the colt didn’t return.

In April they loaded their goods and children into two wagons (he had built covers for them) and started for a better place to make a living. The father drove one wagon and Trougott drove the other. Behind the wagons they led an extra horse and a cow, so the children took turns walking behind the wagons, walking many a mile. During the long trip they ate a lot of oatmeal with milk and shot jackrabbits for meat. They came east through Nebraska into Iowa, then into Minnesota and S. Dak.

On July 4, 1896 they arrived at Ortonville and Big Stone Lake. They found a temporary house and all worked in the harvest fields. They found a farm to rent near Rosen that fall and in the spring, William sowed his grain by hand. The boys were farmed out for the winter. Will stayed with the Black family in Vernon Township and even attended school registered as Willie Black. Even 13 year old Edmund did chores for Mrs. Farmer in Vernon Township and remembered it all his life as a long, lonely winter. He remembered when someone came to their house to hire some help the two older boys weren’t home, so his father called him outdoors. His jacket was too small and he was so cold, the man said he thought the boy was too young. Later his father scolded, saying he shouldn’t have looked so cold and puny and should have worn a larger coat.

The next year the family moved to Alban Township, Grant County, section 31, East, the McFarland farm and farmed there for six years. The children attended Alban School No. 6, and even the older ones attended in winter. The family attended the Bethlehem Lutheran church a few miles north where four of the children were confirmed. Confirmands then attended church school a whole year, and Alma and Edmund often walked the three and one-half miles the year they attended. A few years later Fred and Emma were confirmed there.

The sixth son, Raymond Karl arrived in Jan. 1901.

In 1903 the Loeschkes moved to a farm owned by C.F. Marsh in section 31 West Alban Township. Emma was 12 years old. One of her chores was to bring the cows from the pasture during the spring and summer. She tamed and trained a heifer so she could jump on it and ride it. When the cows were turned out to pasture after milking in the morning, she would dash out of the house to ride her tame heifer to the pasture gate.

The older sons worked for their father until they were 21 years old. If they worked for other farmers, their father collected their wages. He would drive around with a horse and buggy once a month for that purpose. After reaching their 21st birthday they began to save money, so that after a few years they could begin farming for themselves and they began to think of marriage.

The first to be married was Alma, who married Otto Schwandt in 1902. Their children were Albert, now of Mesa, AZ, Edwin of Mt. Clemens, MI and Alice Olson, deceased. Alma later married Henry Huemiller and lived in Mich. Where she died of cancer at age 80. Clinton Grove Cemetery.

In 1904, Traugott F. was married to Ida Tulowetske, and they farmed southeast of Milbank for many years. Later they lived at Big Stone City. Their children were Harold, of Ortonville, Viola, Mrs. Dick Schuerman of Danvers, MN and Milton, who died in 1976. Ida died of cancer in 1954. Traugott died age 93 in 1971. Ortonville cemetery.

William A. Loeschke was married to Anna Fenner in Nov. 1905, and also farmed southeast of Milbank for many years. He also helped run a neighborhood-threshing rig for many years. They too retired to Big Stone City after their sons were married. Nine children were born to them, one of whom, Earl died in infancy and six daughters and two sons survive. They are Clara, Mrs. Otto Angerhofer, Alma, Mrs. Herman Schweer, and Karl Loeschke, of Milbank, Hilda, Mrs. Wm. Brehmer of Bellingham, MN, Lillian, Mrs. George Ninneman, Ortonville, Harry Loeschke of Big Stone City, Alice, Mrs. George Verheist of Huron, DS and Anna, Mrs. Elmer Marohl, Corona, SD.

William A. Loeschke died in 1960 at the age of 80 of a stroke. His wife Anna died in 1952 of a heart attack. Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery.

Edmund A. Loeschke married Anna Lueck in 1911. They farmed southeast of Milbank for 47 years and reared a family of three daughters and two sons: Mabel Kuehn of Mich., Irma Remund, Marian Dorneman, who died of cancer in 1987, Vernon Loeschke and James A. Loeschke, all of Milbank. They retired to Milbank in 1958 and lived at 603 S. Viola St. Edmund died Sept. 1970 aged 87 ½ of a heart attack, Anna died in 1978, almost 89 years old. Milbank Cemetery.

Frederick married Ruth Speckeen in Nov. 1913. They farmed in Grant Center Township West Of Milbank. Many people recognized Fred’s farm with the many evergreens and flowers near Big Stone City. They retired to Big Stone City and celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in 1978. Their children are: Ralph, of Big Stone City, Margaret (Mrs. LaVern) Cooper of Illinois, and Evelyn (Mrs. Wm.) Krug of California. Fred died of cancer Nov. 1, 1979. Greenwood Cemetery at Big Stone City.

Emma married Paul Quade and lived on a farm near Wilmot about 65 years. She spent the last few months at the Wilmot community Home and died Mar. 1988, almost 97 years old. Her children are Leslie Quade of Corona, Walter Quade of Wilmot, and Evelyn Greiner Kelley of Oregon. She had 13, grandchildren, many great grandchildren and several great great grandchildren. Milbank Cemetery beside her parents.

Walter married Amanda Steinlicht in 1916 and they farmed south of Milbank all their married life. He taught himself to play the fiddle and late the accordion and played for dances, along with two or three other people. He also bought and rented out a number of older houses in Milbank. Their children are Esther (Mrs. Kenneth) Wise of Milbank, Robert C. Loeschke, a resident of Whetstone Valley Nursing Home, and Roy Loeschke of Twin Brooks. Walter died of multiple ailments in 1975. Amanda lived in St. Williams Home for six years and died in June 1986. Milbank Cemetery.

The youngest son, Raymond, joined the Navy and served his country for a time. During his Navy years he married Alice Lepion in 1923 in Istanbul, Turkey. When his enlistment time expired he came back to Milbank and farmed for a time and it was a time of much learning for Alice. During the dust bowl years he moved to Michigan where he worked in a factory for a time, and later was self-employed in a beer garden. Upon retirement, they moved to Sun City, AZ where Alice died of a heart attach Dec. 2, 1973. She had had a heart attach a few years before, in Michigan. Their children are Jean Raymond of Michigan and Donald Loeschke of California. Ray died Dec. 17, 1982. Buried at Sunland Memorial Park, Sun City, AZ.

William T. Loeschke and his wife Auguste retired from farming in 1916 and moved to Milbank. In 1917 they moved to 505 Viola St. and lived there until their deaths: William in April 1930 and Auguste in Feb. 1941. Their descendants are scattered over the United States; but many of them lived here in Grant County, SD.


During the summer of 1904, Ella Kaempfer and her brother Hubert came from Nebraska to spend a month or so with the Loeschkes and so really became acquainted with their cousins. When Ella and her daughter Phyllis visited Milbank in 1977, she was eager to visit Fred and Emma, whom she remembered so well.


Family history, updated through September 2021: Loeschke1850-Sass Book 2021-10

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