William Ernest and Emma Marie (HUMBKE) HARRIS family

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William Ernest and Emma Marie (HUMBKE) HARRIS family

Until recently, the HARRIS family had always been a mystery to me because we lived a fair distance apart (7 miles in the 1940’s & 50s was a long way) and, as children, we had no contact.

I do remember my dad, Lawrence HUMBKE, speaking with great pride and awe about his first cousin, Walter HARRIS, who was a professor at the University of Alberta. At that time we were country bumpkins all destined for life on the farm.

That has all changed as my younger brother, Harvey, and I would earn degrees at the U of A. and Harvey would take a chemistry course from Walter Harris who was then head of the Department of Chemistry. Our other three brothers,

studied telecommunication and instrumentation at NAIT in Edmonton, and our older sister moved to Calgary to raise her family.

In the 2000s I tracked down and purchased a book written by W. E. Raymond Harris and H. Brian Dunford – “BRIDGE:

Direct, Simple & Winning” 2nd edition. Raymond taught bridge classes for over a decade in Edmonton. I only wish I had his advice in the 1950s to 1970s when I also had the bug.

William Ernest HARRIS – Ancestors

William Ernest HARRIS was born 30NOV1883 in Fayette, Howard County, Missouri to Robert and Agnes (BRADY) HARRIS. When Ernest was born the population of Howard County was 10,000 of which 6,000 were slaves. The largest city in the County was Fayette.

There is a small village called Harrisburg named after John W. Harris in Boone County just 11 miles East of Fayette, but I have yet to find a relationship between William and the village name. Many Daniel Boone’s ancestors populated Boone County and no doubt were neighbors of Harris families.

Robert David & Agnes Jane (BRADLEY) HARRIS

Robert David HARRIS b. 01FEB1859 Howard County, Missouri; d. 02DEC1915 Edmonton, Alberta. Burial in Mount Pleasant Municipal Cemetery, Edmonton, Alberta

Agnes Jane (BRADLEY) HARRIS b. 20FEB1865 Sturgeon, Boone, Missouri; m. 02MAR1883 Boone, Missouri; d. 10SEP1904, Sturgeon, Boone, Missouri Burial in Fairview Cemetery, Randolph County, Missouri.

Madellenner (SMITH) HARRIS became Step Mother to Robert and his 8 brothers and 3 sisters.

Children of Robert and Angnes Jane (BRADLEY) HARRIS

William Ernest HARRIS b. 30NOV1883 Missouri; m. 14FEB1912; d. 15OCT1973 Wetaskiwin

Paul C, HARRIS b. 23JUL1889; d. 08JuL1967 Los Angles

Pearl Polymer (HARRIS) WYBERT b. 23JUL1889; d. 11DEC1962

James R. HARRIS b. NOV1892, d. California

Aron HARRIS b. FEB1894

Leroy HARRIS b. APR1896 Arkansas – Trapper in N. Canada 1917-26; d. 1971 Courtney, Vancouver Island


Clayton Victor HARRIS b.14JUL1901: d. 23JAN1992 Calgary, Alberta- Farmed at Nashville, CPR in Calgary

Reverend Jackson T. and Nancy (CASPER) HARRIS family

Reverend Jackson T. HARRIS b. 12APR1825 Howard County, Missouri; d. 03MAY1899 Howard County, Missouri. Buried New Hope Cemetery, Burton, Howard County, Missouri Son of William and Margaret Mary (DOWNING) HARRIS

According to the “Fayette, Missouri Survey Summary Report” (June, 1992), money flowed into Howard County from 1825-1860. The economy was based on Missouri River shipping and farming including tobacco, hemp, and cotton. The area was “extensively rooted in the traditions and agricultural practices of the agrarian South.”

Jackson remained on the farm with his father until twenty-three years of age and entered the employ of General Clerk for which he had previously worked at intervals. He traveled for one year and on January 22, 1851, was married to Miss Nancy Casper, daughter of John CASPER, on of the oldest Settlers.

About 1848 Jackson was converted under the preaching of WM. T. ELLINTON, and in 1849 commenced preparing himself for the ministry. After due study he acted as a local exhorer (a lay Protestant teacher) until in August 1867, when he was ordained a minister of the Baptist denomination. Jackson continued to farm as well as his ministerial duties.

Jackson, a Confederate Soldier, wounded in battle was in the American Civil War of 1861 – 65.

The Civil War in the United States began in 1861, after decades of simmering tensions between northern and southern states over slavery, states’ rights and westward expansion. The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 caused seven southern states to secede and form the Confederate States of America; four more states soon joined them. Three state, including Missouri, were under the North, but sympathetic to the South. The War Between the States, as the Civil War was also known, ended in Confederate surrender in 1865. The conflict was the costliest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil, with some 620,000 of 2.4 million soldiers killed, millions more injured and much of the South left in ruin.

Missouri was a slave state since statehood in 1831. The American Civil War was a hotly contested state between Union (North) and Confederate (South) and it is estimated 1,200 engagements occurred in Missouri.

HIGBEE NEWS (Randolph Co MO)–12 May 1899–Rev. Jackson Harris, a prominent Baptist minister, died suddenly of heart disease in Burton at noon Thursday of last week. He was 74 years old at the time of his death, and had been a faithful worker for his Master’s cause for 50 years. Burial took place at New Hope Church.

Nancy (CASPER) HARRIS b.15May1822 Kentucky; m. 21JAN1851; d. 30APR1886 Howard County, Missouri.

Children of Jackson and Nancy (CASPER) HARRIS

John HARRIS b. 01NOV1853; d. 1853

Milton Walter HARRIS b. 19MAR1854; d. 1924

Emitt HARRIS b.1855; d. 1965

Thomas Perry HARRIS b. 22JUL1855; d. 07DEC1934

Erelion (Erie) HARRIS b. 1857; d. 1907

Robert David HARRIS b. 01FEB1859; d. 02MAR1883

Susan F (HARRIS) LUNDERMAN b. 1861; d. 1894

Mary A. HARRIS b. 1862; d. 1972

Margaret E. b. 1863; d. 1863

Amanda Ernest (HARRIS) MAUPIN 1869; d. 1959

William and Margaret Mary (DOWNING) HARRIS

William HARRIS b. 15MAY1792 Virginia; d. 15MAY1876

William lived in Virginia until nineteen years old when he immigrated to Kentucky at age 19 and married Margaret DOWNING in 1815, In 1818 they moved to Lincoln, Missouri, but move two years later to Howard County.

Fayette contained a house. William helped to carry the chain for Alfred W. MORRISON when this Howard County was first surveyed. Son of Thomas and MARY (OWINGS) HARRIS

Margaret (DOWNING) HARRIS b. 15DEC1792 Grayson, Kentucky; m. 15AUG1815 Grayson, Kentucky; d. 30MAY1867 Burton, Howard County, Missouri. Margaret was the daughter of Ezekial DOWNING b. 1754 Virginia and Rachel (BROWN) DOWNING b. Virginia. Ezekial’s father John DOWNING b. 1712 Ireland; d. 1777.

Thomas and Mary (OWINGS) HARRIS

Thomas HARRIS b. 1765 Bedford, Virginia; d. 22NOV1810 Son of John and Sarah (STANDARD) HARRIS

Mary (OWINGS) HARRIS b. 1777 Laurens, South Carolina; d. Grayson, Kentucky

John and Sarah (STANDARD) HARRIS

John HARRIS b26AUG1730 Henrico, Virginia; d. 31OCT1801 Cumberland, Virginia Son of Thomas and Mary (JEFFERSON) HARRIS

Mary (JEFFERSON) b. 1675 Henrico Virginia; d. SEP1745 Henrico Virgina

Thomas and Mary (JEFFERSON) HARRIS

Thomas HARRIS b. 7SEP1655 Henico, Virgina; d. 06JUL1730 Charleston, Henrico Son of Major William and Lucy (DAYS) HARRIS

Mary (JEFFERSON) HARRIS b. 1675 Henrico, Virginia; d. 1745 Henrico, Virginia

Major William and Lucy (DAYS) HARRIS

Major William Harris b. 12 MAR1629 Cures Plantation, Henrico County, Virginia, Colonial America; d 01FEB1678 Richmond County, Virginia Colonial America. Son of Thomas and Joane (OSBORNE 15) HARRIS

Lucy (DAYS) HARRIS b. 1633 Guinea Mills, Cumberland Co., Virginia; d. Albermarie Co., Virginia

Thomas and Joane (OSBORNE) HARRIS

Thomas HARRIS b.19DEC1585 Creeksea Parish, South minister, Essex, England; d. 1647 Henrico, Virginia. Thomas was a mariner and farmer.

Joane (OSBORNE) HARRIS b. 28JAN1596 Little Hadham, Hertford, England; m. 11SEP1626 Virginia; d. 1633 Jamestown, Colony, Virginia.

According to an article written by Courtney Morano from Virginia Press Services News Clipping Bureau, The Village Mill, dated August 14, 1995, VCU finished its 11th field school at Curles Plantation. The article confirmed the identification of the house belonging to Captain Thomas Harris and also Nathanial Bacon’s plantation found adjacent to the Harris house. It is believed from their findings that the Harris house burned in the 1650s. Some of the artifacts found included an Elizabethan six-pence dated 1573, part of an armor breastplate pottery shards, part of glass wine bottles with a Randolph seal, smoking pipes, nails, an ax head, and a curtain ring.

The first “Cures” patent was recorded in November 1635 when a tract of 750 acres land “commonly known as Longfield” was granted to Captain Thomas Harris, 100 acres of which was due him as “an Ancient planter & adventurer in the time of Sir Thomas Dale”.

“Of particular interest are the ruins found during the excavations at Curles Neck in eastern Henrico along the James. Archaeologists uncovered the Thomas Harris house foundation, one of the oldest homes found in Virginia dating between 1635-1654. Thomas Harris served as Burgess for Curles Neck. The archaeologists noted that the framing posts of this house sat in the full basement and some were enclosed by bricks which was unique in the Chesapeake area. A large centrally located chimney suggests that there was a lobby entrance.


William Ernest HARRIS b. 30NOV1883

was the first to immigrate from Fayette Missouri to Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada on JAN1906

Major William HARRIS b. 12MAR1629

was the first Harris ancestor of this family to be born in North America at the Cures Plantation, Cumberland Co., Virginia. According to records he may have a twin brother by the name of Thomas Harris.

Thomas b.19DEC1585 & Joane (OSBORNE) HARRIS b. 28JAN1596

were the first to immigrate from England to the United States

Emma Marie (HUMBKE) HARRIS – Ancestors

Emma was born January 20,1890 in White Lake, Aurora County, South Dakota to Ernest Dietrich Christian and Sophie Marie Louise (SCHNEPEL) HUMBKE. At the age of one she moved with her family to a farm NE of Titonka, Iowa where she spent her childhood. Emma’s father was killed in an accident in 1899 and the family immigrated to Canada in April, 1901.

Emma’s birthplace in South Dakota, USA

Eleven year old Emma writes about her arrival by train in Wetaskiwin and a trip by horse and wagon 14 miles West to her Grandmothers homestead in Blog #8. She did attend the New Berlin School (2.5 miles way) for 3 years with Mary Humbke, the recently arrived wife from Germany, of her eldest brother – Ernest Humbke Sr.

Emma loved horses so her main job became the daily herding of their range cattle, as well as helping with the many chores around the homestead. She still found time to play trombone and piano in a family band with her brothers and sister; attend dances; played card games (gin rummy, crib, canasta and bridge); and take part in the Sunday family functions.

Her granddaughter, Margaret Harris recalls: “Öne of the stories I recall was that my Grandmother Emma, before she was married, was a telephone operator in Gwynne. In those days they had party lines. One time, after putting the call through, my grandmother was listening in on the conversion – until one of the callers said: “Rubber neck, Get Off the Line!” My grandmother quickly hung up feeling very embarrassed.”

In 1907 Emma was also employed by her brother, Dick Humbke, who had general stores in both Gwynne and Wetaskiwin. It was in Wetaskiwin that Emma met Ernest Harris who was employed by the Gross Lumber Company. They were married on Feb. 14,1912 in Wetaskiwin.

For more information on Emma’s life and ancestors

in Germany, America and Canada see Blogs 1 thru 16

William Ernest and Emma (HUMBKE) HARRIS life in Canada

Ernest attended school up to grade 8 in Missouri and by the age of 23 decided to move North to Alberta, Canada in 1906. There were just too many Negro lynchings in Howard County where his family lived.

Two Articles from Rural Wetaskiwin & Gwynne Local History Books

After their marriage in 1912 I believe the couple lived in Wetaskiwin until 1918 when they rented land West of Nashville School from Martha’s cousin, Herman Callies. In 1920, they bought their family farm one mile South of the Nashville School where they raised their 4 boys before retiring to Wetaskiwin in 1949.

Martha’s love for dancing was not shared by Ernest, but she did pass it on to the boys. Ray, Walter and Gordon were social dancers, and Jim was a very active square dancer with his wife for 20 years. Martha was a good cook according to the grand children and Margaret Harris (daughter of Walter Edgar and Phylis June (PANGBURN) HARRIS related this story.

“As a child, when we visited my grandparents, grandmother would sometimes serve ”barley” for breakfast over homemade bread and it was delicious. My father (Walter Harris) made up this recipe as the closest he could come to what he remembered”

Old German Family Receipe

Pork Hocks (4 – 5 pounds)

Simmer 10-15 hours

Cool and take off fat (in those days they did not take off fat)

Grind Meat and end up with 12 cups of meat and broth.

Add 1 & 1/2 tsp. salt; 3/4 to 1 tsp. pepper; 2 tspl allspice; 2 cups of barley and 1/2 bay leaf (0ptional).

Simmer 3 hours.

Use as a thick spread over toast for breakfast.

“He said that when the farm hands ate “barley” for breakfast it would last the all morning. In those days they did not skim off the fat from the pork hocks so the was very fatty.”

                 L to R Gordon, Jim & Walter helping Emma feed baby foxes.

                  Ernest Harris with Jim and Gordon raising pigs in 1924

Ernest was a strong member of the community and served as a school trustee for 10 years. He purchased a set of encyclopedias for the family which the boys made good use of.

His father was abusive and Ernest was determined to raise a well-behaved family. He even paid the boys not to drink or smoke, although he was known to have a pipe.

Harris and relatives gather for the annual Wetaskiwin Parade

The Harris Home in Wetaskiwin was close to the water tower on main street. and relatives often gathered there for the Annual Wetaskiwin Parade.

Ernest and Emma (HUMBKE) HARRIS Descendants

Raymond Ernest HARRIS b. 27JUL1912 Wetaskiwin, AB; d. 30APR2003 Mount Pleasant Municipal Cemetery, Edmonton,

Walter Edgar HARRIS b. 9JUN1915 Wetaskiwin, AB; d. 21OCT2011 Municipal Cemetery, Edmonton

James Earl HARRIS b. 11FEB1919 Wetaskiwin, AB.

Gordon Edward Harris. 28AUG1920 Wetaskiwin, AB: d. 9JUN1996 Norwalk, Los Angeles, California.

Ernest passed away on October 15,1973 (six weeks before his 90th birthday).

Emma had a stroke in 1973 and spent her last 5 years in the Wetaskiwin Hospital. She died on July 11, 1978 (age 88) and
out lived her mother by 1 year.

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100 year old James (Jim) Harris of Edmonton, Alberta BLOG #20 July 7, 2019

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Jim Harris of #460, 4480 McCrae Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta (July 7, 2019)

On July 7, 2019 I enjoyed a 3 hour visit with Jim HARRIS, the 100 year old son of my great aunt Emma Marie (HUMBKE) HARRIS. At 25 years younger that Jim, I can just hope that my memory is as good as his is at 100 years.

Jim was of heavy heart as his 95 year old wife (Lucy Marie COWAN) of 36 years had a serious fall in their kitchen and was in the Royal Alex Hospital in Edmonton. One of his daughters (Margaretta) was on her way from Calgary to take her dad to visit Lucy.

Jim told me that for his 100th birthday, ön 11FEB2019, he hosted two parties: one for residents of the independent living facility where he and Lucy have lived for the past for years; and one for all his relatives and friends. Being an avid square dancer he hired the “Rippling River Dance Band” and once more enjoyed dancing with his wife and others.

Beside always having physically active jobs (farming and construction), Jim never smoked and seldom drank alcohol.

Greeting and congratulations were received from the Edmonton Mayor, the Premier of Alberta, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Queen and many others.

One week ago I had met with Margaret HARRIS daughter of Jim’s older brother Walter Edgar HARRIS. Through these two visits I have been motivated to continue with the Humbke Family History Blog and will publish the William Ernest and Emma Marie (HUMBKE) HARRIS family.

That BLOG will complete blogs for the families of seven children of Ernest Dietrich Christian and Sophie Marie Louise (SCHNEPEL) HUMBKE.

Roger HUMBKE with Jim HARRIS (1st cousin of Roger’s father, Lawrence HUMBKE 07JUL2019
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Ernest Humbke Sr. Letter to Great-Great-Granddaughter Blog#19 Oct. 30, 2018

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby featherHi Katrina Darsch,

Not sure if you knew that you were born on the same month and day as your Great-Great-Grandpa Humbke. This is a letter he might have written to one of his great-great-granddaughter/son to help them know him a little better.

I encourage you to know all 16 of your great-great-grandparents (paternal and maternal) and keep their memories alive. They have all lead interesting, unique lives and have contributed a bit to who you are. The more you know them the more you will see similarities.

Grandpa Humbke


Happy Birthday Katrina,

I was born the same day as you, only I was born at home (house #57 in the village of Windheim, Germany on Oct. 30, 1867). It was the year Canada became a country and 153 years ago.

#53 (Humbke Residence) Windheim, Germany                                    #53 (Humbke Residence) Windheim, Germany

A big event had just happened 3 days before my arrival. On Oct 27, 1867 my father and mother were married in the same home and I am sure it was because of me. If I had been born out of wedlock, I would never be able to inherit land from my father. My parents were very religious and attended the German Lutheran Village church where I was baptized 3 weeks later on Nov. 17, 1867.

My first 14 years were spent growing up in Windheim where I went to school, helped my mother with chores around the house, and worked with dad in the fields. Times were tough as there seemed to be a continual war going on and village males would be conscripted up to age 40 to fight. If I survived, I would always be a farmer, but the land had been divided among the boys in families so many times before, there wouldn’t be enough for me to support a family.

My grandfather and father decided in 1879 to send my Uncle Chris (age 22 and the only one single in their family) to the New World to see if it was possible to get land. Chris homesteaded SE of White Lake, South Dakota and sent back such glowing letters, about getting 160 acres of land for $10, that my dad sent me to join him 4 years later. At age 15, I arrived in New York aboard the H.H. Meier on May 12, 1883 and immediately set out to join my Uncle in South Dakota. What a trip and adventure that was! My life was turned upside down and I was never to return to Germany!

                                                                H.H. Meier

My father, mother, 3 younger sisters (Sophie, Minnie & Mary) and a brother, baby Dick, arrived on the “Neckar” in New York Aug 4, 1883. They spent a year in Buffalo Center, Iowa before coming to South Dakota where dad obtained a homestead and later became a citizen of the United States of America. Life was not all that good and Uncles Chris homestead was returned to the government for non-payment of taxes. My parents did better and two girls (Alvina & Emma) were born before they sold the $10 homestead for $1,000 before moving to the Titonka-Woden area of Iowa.

It was a long trip by horse and wagon, but well worth it as corn grew 8 feet tall on very productive soil and I managed to buy two quarters (320 acres) of land. I gave 3 acres of land for the building of a German Lutheran Church and Cemetery by founding Germans of which Dad, a brother-in-law and I were members. Two sisters married to local German boys and it looked like we were settled and would be Americans for life. All I needed at age 32 was a wife and we were living in a German farming community.

                        German Lutheran Church in rural Titonka/Woden Iowa

Fate had something different in store for our family and on July 20 my father fell from a wagon load of logs when the horses were spooked while he was hauling logs for the building of the church. He died in the early morning hours of July 21, 1899, and our family had lost its patriarch. We were all in shock and disarray.

It was the 1900, the beginning of the Twentieth Century, In early 1900 I made the trip to Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan where I joined a band of Indians as they wandered South in their search for food. After a couple of weeks we reached the Battle River where I claimed three homesteads on the Southern Bank in name of my mother, brother and myself. I hurried back to Iowa where we made plans to sell what we didn’t pack in a boxcar and the whole family (except the oldest married sister who was farming with her husband) left for what was called the NorthWest Territories of Canada.

Still being single at 33 years old was an embarrassment and a disaster so I had written back to the Parish Church in Windheim asking if there was ANY girl in my Conformation class of 1882 who was still single. I would pay for her ticket, pick her up in New York, marry her and provide a home plus hopefully children in Canada. Luck would have it, a certain Mary had recently planned to marry, but the prospective husband had changed his mind and it looked like she would remain a spinster for life.

Who said you should fall in love and then get married – I say you should          say you should get married and take responsibility for raising a loving family!

Mary took the opportunity and on Jan. 1, 1902 I left for New York to meet her ocean liner. She had an absolutely terrible passage during which she had contacted a tape worm; lost 30 pounds; and was extremely ill on arrival. It took a long time to nurse her back to life and we didn’t get back to our future 224 sq ft future home on the homestead on April 15th. We were both age 34 and wasted little time; were married on May 22, 1902; and had our first of 3 daughters, Erna, 15 months later. We had two more daughters, Elsie and Martha, in that small home until I managed to sell more of my land in Iowa and buy 320 acres across from the New Berlin one room school, and build a two story home.

In our new home we added 2 sons, Ernest Jr. and Lawrence, which were a tremendous help for me because at that time farming was mostly done by animal and man power.

I never participated much in sports, but both the family I was born into and my family were active musicians. Our main source of entertainment was dancing and my two youngest sisters, brother and I were all members of various community orchestras and bands. My two sons were accomplished musicians and played in local dance bands with cousins because they loved playing and they needed to earn extra money to assist in their farming.


 L to R Ernest Jr., Elsie, Mary, Ernest Sr. & Lawrence Humbke

From 1912 to 1914 I satisfied an itch to do something totally different and moved to Edmonton where ran a general store. It turned into a disaster because of the increasing animosity toward shopping at a German store and the treatment of the girls at school. We quickly returned to the New Berlin School District where he had the comfort and support of neighbors and relatives, both German and other nationalities.

Mary was a hardworking, devoted wife who was an excellent cooked loved her children and grand children. At age 35 she was even registered, during her first year in Canada, at the New Berlin School to learn English. We had a very good life and family.

Mary passed away on Feb. 16, 1944 from blood poisoning as a result of stepping on a nail and I spent the next 3 years staying at my older son’s farm in the winter and my own home close to my younger son’s home in the summers.

I passed away in my sleep in my own home on Sept. 26, 1947, just one month short of my 80th birthday. At the time of my passing I had 5 children, 21 grand children and one great-grand daughter. At my funeral in Wetaskiwin I had 4 brother-inlaws, a relative and a neighbor for pallbearers.

It is nice to see that my son has arranged for a new tombstone plaque to remember my wife and me by.

I can only hope you are having as interesting and fulfilling life as I have experienced.

Best Regards,

Ernest Humbke Sr.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Remembering Great Grandmother (SCHNEPEL) HUMBKE birth on September 11, 1843 BLOG #16 Sep. 11, 2018

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby featherOn Sept. 11, 1843 Sophie Marie Luise HUMBKE was the third and final child born to the family of Johann and Mary SCHNEPEL of house #38 in the village of Dohren, Windheim District, Germany. She was baptised at the Dohren Church 3 days later and would spend her childhood in Dohren  a village of a few hundred, with her older brother Ernst Friedrich Conrad b. June 15, 1814 and an older sister Auguste Wilhelmine Luise b. on Mar. 1, 1867.

The German Luthern Church has always been the largest and most important building in the Village of Dohren. Records of  births, baptisms , marriages and deaths recorded there are more complete and accurate than other public records.

There is little information about her brother, other than that he would marry on Sep 2 1868 to Catherine Lisette Dorette Busching and passed away on Oct. 12, 1906. Even less is known of her sister Auguste.


By 1750 Lutheran, along with other reform churches, struggled against the Pope and Catholicism. They were to eventually became the  Evangelisch Church that was most common in the Windheim District. Religion was extremely important and deeply affected the life of all members of the community.

When the Humbkes had settled in Iowa, USA around 1999 Sophie Marie Luise’s husband, son and son-in-law played a major role in the building of a German Lutheran Church. The land and cemetery, on which a modern Lutheran Church now stand, was donated by Ernest Sr., Sophie Marie Luise’s first born son.  He in turn, at his death in 1947, gave half of his land in Canada to the Megido Mission Church of New York, USA. Sophie Marie Luis also bequeathed money to the German Lutheran Church of British Columbia upon her death in 1930.

German Lutheran Church and Cemetery NE of Titonka, Iowa in 1999

At that time, after the families had built necessary living quarters for humans and animals, the next building to be built was a church. By the time they got to Canada in 1902, that had changed and they built the New Berlin one room school as a school, community center and church on Sundays.


From 1600 to 1900 life was extremely difficult for women and it is estimated by some historians that a women’s life during this period was twice as hard as that of a man.  Women worked nearly constantly year around and were in a state of pregnancy or recovering from giving birth or miscarriage.

“On average, a women experienced five to seven successful   pregnancies (i.e. those producing a live child) every two and one-half years, up the age of 38 to 40.” QUOTE p. 115  OUR DAILY BREAD. 

In the four generations of our grandparents going back to this period the average life span (barring accidental deaths) of 6 men was 73 years. The average lifespan of 8 women was 71 years.


“It was not surprising that women aged more rapidly than men. The life of the Hausvater (man) was hard, but that of the Hausmutter was doubly so. A man’s work required bursts of extreme strength and effort, but usually was punctuated with periods of inactivity or even leisure. The woman’s life was one of never-ending labor in her every waking moment: cooking three meals over an open hearth, baking, tending the children, hauling water from the village well, feeding any animals, milking a cow or a goat, sowing and weeding vegetables in the family plot, washing and mending the clothes and keeping the house. In the eighteenth century, it became more common to keep horses and oxen in stalls instead of pastures, and it was generally the wife’s job to walk to the family pots, gather the clover or hay and haul it to the animals’ stalls.”      QUOTE p. 114  OUR DAILY BREAD. 

A Women’s harsh life in the early 1900’s in North America

There is a longer detailed read about education (translated from German) at <https://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.remme-dohren.de/Chronik-doc/06.Schule_Dohren.doc&prev=search>. The Doren in this article is 100 or so miles West of the Doren Village where Luise spent her childhood and youth, but I believe it describes most of what was happening educationally in all villages of the region.          

Daily Life in German Villages 1500 to 1900

Life for our HUMBKE and SCHNEPEL ancestors in the early German villages of Windheim and Dohren was largely influenced by religion, wars and their status as peasant farmers. The resulting hardships were the primary causes of a mass immigration of German peasants to the new world for freedom and the opportunity for a better life. Their status as peasant farmers and  and wars were the biggest influencers and saw the greatest changes in North America. The church was just as strong in their life and the first public, shared facility to be built until the early 1900’s.

Luise was the mother and matriarcal leader who played the most critical role in the successful establishment of descendants in North America and further.

For the best and easiest description of Governance; Law and Order; Marriage and Inheritance; Family Roles and Relationships; Work; The Village Year; and Emigration during this period I recommend “OUR DAILY BREAD” German Village Life, 1500-1850 by Tev Scheer It is a historical fiction that is based on facts and historical documents, yet tells the story of the fictional Mann family in an easy-to-read format for the average reader.

You can either get the book from you library or purchase it online from Amazon in the USA  for $19.95USA by clicking on: OUR DAILY BREAD

I bought my copy from USA Amazon as, in the order, I wanted additional books that were not available from Amazon Canada. .

For ordering on Amazon Canada click on this OUR DAILY BREAD

Further information is given in the Review under the title on this website.

Please be aware that if you purchase this book or any other product on Amazon as a result of entering the Amazon website in this manner I will receive a reimbursement from Amazon known as Affiliate Marketing Income. Your support is appreciated and help me to continue with researching the families mentioned on this website. Thank you. 


of Sophie Marie Louise (SCHNEPEL) HUMBKE                                                              b. 11SEP1843 Dohren 38  c. (christening/baptism) 24SEP1843                                m. 27OCT1867 Windheim 57 to Ernst Dietrich Chrisitian HUMBKE (Jr)            d. 24NOV1930 age 87 -Wetaskiwin City Cemetery, Alberta

Grandmother Louise Humbke holding her daughter Mary’s children – Agnes, Ben & Earl George (about 1910 in Wetaskiwan. Alberta

Grand Ma Louise Humbke with daughter-in-law Hulda (Wickland) Humbke’s youngest son/child – Richard 1928








Mother: Marie Louise Elisabeth(KAELKE) SCHNEPEL                                                b. 15JAN1814 Dohren 34 c. 19JAN1814 Dohren                                                                  m. 24DEC1833 Dohern 38 to Johan Friedrich Konrad SCHNEPEL                            d. 04AUG1874 age 60 Dohren 38

Grandmother: Catharine Louise (WIEGMAN) KAELKE                                            b. 08OCT1783 Diersdorf, Huddesdorf, Hanover                                                              m. 06DEC1807 to Conrad Diedrich KAELKE at Hanover, Prussia                            d. 03DEC 1860 age 77

Great Grandmother: Ann Catherine Elizabeth (EHLERDING) WIECHMAN    b. 28NOV1749 Dohren 9 c. 30NOV1749 Dohren                                                              m. 28NOV1776 to Carl Henrich WIECHMAN at Hanover, Prussia                        d. 31JAN1821 age 72

Dohren is a small village (1,000 pop.)  immediately North of  the village of Windeheim (1,500 pop.), both of which are on the West side of the Weser River (200  miles West of Berlin). The main occupation has always been farming and the Doren’s Wild Farmers play in the Germany’s major baseball league. Be sure to attend a game if you are ever in Dohren in the summertime.

So for at least 8 generations back from me, all I could find was farmers. In our family, I was the first male (followed by  5 brothers) to take up  different occupations than being a farmer. It has reminded me that an entrepreneur is closest to being a farmer in my mind and in that sense I believe I still have the characteristics and outlook of a farmer. I have come to value and appreciate my farming ancestors very much.


[The two reasons I have yet to write more about her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren is because of either lack of interest, the reluctance to share information or growing concerns for privacy. I fully intend to write about her grandchildren in Canada and the United States next, but will limit my time to creating an accurate family tree for subsequent generations, other than my own family.

That being said, as I find myself aging I become more concerned with writing about the past from what I believe to be the truth than being concerned about issues of privacy, liability and hurt feelings. My ancestors and descendants are not responsible for what I write – I am]

Ernst Dietrich Friedrich HUMBKE Sr.                                                                                b. 30OCT1867 Windheim 57  c. 17NOV1867 Windheim 57                                      m. 22MAY1902 to Maria Louise Sophie Lisette (WESTENFELD) HUMBKE        d. 26SEP1947  age 80 Farm Home, Wetaskiwin City Cemetery

Katharine Sophie Maria (HUMBKE) CONRADI                                                              b. 17OCT1869 Dohren 38  c. 31OCT1869 Dohren 38                                confirmation 08JUL 1883  Dohren Schule                                                                      m. 25SEP1891 Wellsburg, Iowa to Heinrich Wilhelm CONRADI                              d. 06NOV1951 Titonka, Iowa burial 09NOV1951 Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery, Woden, Iowa.

Sophie Wilhelmine Louise HUMBKE                                                                                b. 30AUG1872 Windheim 57  c. 22SEP1872                                                                  d. 04NOV1872 Windheim 57  Age 2 months and 2 days.

Sophie Luise HUMBKE                                                                                                              b. 03OCT1873 Windheim 57  c 19OCT1873 Windheim 57                                              c. 13FEB1878 Windheim 57  Age 4 years and 133 days.

Louise Wilhelmine Marie “Minna” (HUMBKE) CALLIES                                        b. 17JUN1876 Windheim 57  c. 09JUL1876 Windheim 57                                            m. 19JAN1898 Kossuth, Iowa to Charles “Carl” Ludvig CALLIES                            d. 09SEP1961 Wetaskiwin  Age 85 Burial 11SEP1961 Wetaskiwin City Cemetery.

Marie “Mary” Louise Lisette (HUMBKE) GEORGE                                                       b. 01APR1979 Windheim 57  c. 27APR1879                                                                    m. 08JUN1903 Wetaskiwin to Joseph Henry GEORGE                                                  d. 08JUN1957 Age 78 Wetaskiwin City Cemetery



Dietrich “Dick” Friedrich Ernst HUMBKE                                                                        b. 21FEB1882 Windheim 57.  c. 12MAR1882 Windheim 57.                                        m. 24APR1907 Wetaskiwin Swedish Lutheran Church to Hulda Elizabeth (WICKLAND) HUMBKE.                                                                                                          d. 01JAN1968 Wetaskiwin Age 86. Burial 06JAN1968 Wetaskiwin City Cemetery.

Alwine Marie Sophie Louise (HUMBKE) FONTAINE                                                    b. 14APR1885 White Lake, South Dakota.  Confirmation 01APR1900 Rural Immanuel Lutheran Church, Titonka, Iowa.                                                                    m. 20DEC1905 Wetaskiwin Swedish Lutheran Church to Delphinius FONTAINE.                                                                                                                                      d. 07MAY1955 Wetaskiwin Age 70. Burial Wetaskiwin City Cemetery.

Emma Marie (HUMBKE) HARRIS                                                                                        b. 29JAN1890 White Lake, South Dakota.                                                                          m. 14FEB1912 Wetaskiwin to William Ernest Harris.                                                     d. 11JUL1978 Wetaskiwin Age 88. Burial Wetaskiwin City Cemetery.

Louise’s headstone was broken by vandels and repaired by her Great Granddaughter, Rosemarie Humbke

Louise’s headstone is located in the Humbke family plot located in the Wetaskiwin City Cemetery, immediately North of the Water Tower in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada.









Grand Ma Humbke had also lost 2 more children while in Germany: Sophie Wilhelmine Louise at 2 months and Sophie Luise at 4 years.  At the time of her passing she had 43 Grandchildren and 16 Great-Grand Children (which would multiply many times over in the years to come). The number of Great;  Great-Great; and Great-Great-Great-Grand children has yet to be counted. Louise would have spent 40 years of her life as a peasant farmer’s wife in Germany; 7 years as a homesteaders wife in South Dakota; 29 years as a widow farmer 14 miles West of Wetaskiwin, Alberta. At 87 she would  outlive all previous grandparents and her children except for her youngest daughter Emma.

Sept. 11, 2018 would have been her 175 birthday and her faith would have her smiling down on us all from above.

For more information on the life of Sophie Marie Louise (SCHNEPEL) HUMBKE, read Blog #6.


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Remembering Great Grandfather Humbke on Aug. 2, 2018 Blog #15 Aug. 2, 2018

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If you have free calling for Canada or USA, phone a relative, no matter how distant, and mention the name “Dietrich”. My number in Edmonton is 780-782-6277. If that doesn’t work for you, write a sentence on the “Dietrich Humbke”Face book page and wish him a Happy Birthday!


On August 2, 2018 Dietrich Christian Humbke would have been 173 years old, but his life was cut short when he was killed in an accident 12 days short of his 54  birthday. In 1999 I had no idea of who my great grandfather was other than that he was German – not even a name! That summer of 1999 I spent July tracking down his name and ended up leaving flowers on his grave site in Iowa. I went to court houses, libraries and archives that enabled me to walk on the land he had broke and farmed in South Dakota and Idaho.


Roger Humbke pays respect to the grave of his Great-Grandfather (Ernest Dietrich Christian Humbke), located in the Immanual Lutheran Church Cemetery about 3 miles NE of Titonka, Iowa.




Over the next 15 years,  I spent most of my time in China, but upon returning to Canada the genealogy flame flared up and I started a website to gather and share memories of distant ancestors. It has personally been very rewarding and now I feel an emotional attachment of gratitude and pride in all of the ancestors I have come to know.

Today, August 2, 2018, I hope you pause and think of Deitrich, whose blood runs thru all our veins. As head of the Humbke family and with his wife they assumed the responsibility and task of bringing a young family to America where it  has spread  from coast to coast in Canada and the United States, plus the continents of Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa and back to Germany.

Shed and barn on the Humbke farm in Iowa, USA – 1999. Since then the land has all been cleared, the home cellar filled, and no evidence remains that a family once living there. Even the lane way that lead to the home is gone and crops of corn thrive on every inch of land.


Family Tree – Our Paternal Grandparents

Below are the grandparents and  5 sets of paternal (great grandparents to great-great-great-great-great-grandparents). 

I am working on a family tree through myheritage.com and below am including the information on  the 7 paternal grand parent older than my great-grandparents, Dietrich and Luise Humbke. They cover the 310 year period of 1620 to 1930 and 7 generations of Humbkes.

Tielcke HUMBKE b. 1620 Windheim, Germany; d. SEP1669 Windheim; m. 1643 Metcke (STANNEN) HUMBKE b. 1620 Windheim; d. 26DEC1680 Windheim #8. Metcke’s father was Nn STANNEN b. 1595 Kries Minden. 1 girl and 4 boys

Hinrich HUMBKE b. 1646 Windheim #8, Windheim, Germany; d. 04MAR1709 Windheim; m 20JUL1681 Ann Christina (WESTENFELD) HUMBKE b. 1650 Windheim #11; d. 24JAN1731 Windheim #8. 4 girls and 5 boys (1 still born).

Cord Hinrich HUMBKE b. 22NOV1683 Windheim #8; d. 13FEB1728 Windheim #8; m.  22NOV1714 #8 Anna Margaretha (BUECK) HUMBKE Windheim #8; b. 19JAN1688 Schaffhorst #13, Windheim; d. 13DEC1715 Windheim 8. 1 boy.

2nd wife Anna Margarethe (STOPPENHAGEN) HUMBKE b. 28FEB1687 Windheim 3; d. 18MAR1746 Windheim 8.  3 girls and 3 boys

Johann Hinrich HUMBKE b. 25NOV1715 Windheim #8; d. 28OCT1757; m. 20JAN1737 Anna Clara (JAEGER) HUMBKE b. 14JUN1715 Dohren #29; d.  d. 18MAR12DEC1779 Joessen, Windheim – 3 girls and 2 boys.

Cord Hinrich HUMBKE b. 25JUL1747 Windheim #8; d. 27NOV1782 Windheim #8; m. 31DEC1769 to Catherine Christine Louise ERNSTING b. 04MAR1748; Ikse #5 d. 18DEC1799 Windheim #8.  3 girls and 5 boys

Johann Carl Dietrich HUMBKE b. 01APR1785 Windheim #8; d. 04MAY1843 Windheim #57; m. 17MAR1816 Windheim, Sophie Marie (RODEMEYER) HUMBKE b24SEP1785Windheim #22; d.03MAY1841 Windheim #57. 2 girls and 2 boys

Ernst Dietrich Christian HUMBKE b. 31JAN1821 Windheim #57; d. 06NOV1866 Windheim; m. 11MAY1845 Sophie Louise (WIEBKE) HUMBKE b. 30JAN1819 Holge, Windheim #22; d. 06NOV1866 Burial 09NOV1866  Windheim #57.







The following 4 boys and 3 girls comprise the children of Ernst Dietrich Chrisitian Humbke and Sophie Louise (WIEBKE) HUMBKE. They are my Grand-Grand Uncles and Aunts. 

My Family Tree –  My Paternal Great-Grandparents

Ernest Dietrich Christian HUMBKE b. 02AUG1845 Windheim #57: christened 10AUG1845 Windheim Church; d. 21JUL1899 Woden, Iowa; m. 27OCT1867 Sophie Louise  (SCHNEPEL) HUMBKE Windheim; b. 11SEP1843 Dohren #38; d. 24NOV1930 Wetaskiwin, Alberta. 7 girls and 2 boys

My Family Tree – Great-Grand Uncles and Great-Grand Aunts

Wilhelmine Louise [Luise] Charlotte (HUMBKE) BUCHORN b. 19JAN1848 Windheim #57; d. 10FEB1933; m. 27NOV1974 Johann Dietrich August BUCHHORN b. 07AUG1849 Ovenstaedt #45, Westfalen. No Children.

Wilhelmine Sophie Louise Charlotte HUMBKE b. 13JUN1850 Windheim 57, Christened 30JUN1850 Windheim 57, d. 17JAN1854 Windheim 57.

Louise Sophie Caroline (HUMBKE) HANKE b. 02SEP1852 WINDHEIM 57; d. 24MAR 1878 Windheim #148; m. 13DEC1878 Windheim #149 Carl Friedrich August HANKE b.23OCT1849 Windheim #149. They had twin daughters who died shortly after birth.

Ernst Heinrich Christian HUMBKE b. 31AUG1854 Windheim #57; d. 08JAN1938; m. 24SEP1886 Johanne Charlotte Sophie (ROMBKE) HUMBKE  b 24NOV1860 Windheim #21. Had 2 girls and 3 boys.

Conrad (Chris)Dietrich Christian Dominicus HUMBKE b. 04JAN1857 Windheim #57; Christened 18JAN1857 Windheim #57; d. 07JAN1938 South Dakota; m. 26NOV1889 White Lake, South Dakota to Marie DIRKS b. South Dakota. Had one daughter

Conrad Dietrich Friedrich HUMBKE b. 07MAY1859 Windheim #57; d. 07JAN1864 m. 23OCT1885 Windheim #44 Louise Lisettte Dorothee (DAVID) HUMBKE, b. 07JAN1864 Windheim #13; d. 15JUL1886 Windheim #44. Louise died at the birth of a child which died 1 1/2 months later. Second wife was Hanna Christine Wilhelmine (BRINCKMANN) HUMBKE b. 14NOV1861 Ilserheide, Lahde #4, m. 18DEC1888. They had 10 children.


As you can see I am very short of photos of ancestors and would love to receive pictures of the named ancestors.

I would personally like to Thank Pastor Bob of Austin, Texas for the tremendous help he has given me.  Most of the accurate information on ancestors that I am passing on to you is from him.

Pastor Bob has over one million in his family tree and has been to churches, cemeteries, families etc. in Windheim and other Germany locations to verify information. I believe his records are the most accurate available to me. What he has done and his willingness to share is a blessing for all of us ancestors.

Roger Humbke                                                                                rogerhumbke@hotmail.com                                                    1-780-782-6277


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The Statue of Liberty, Castle Clinton & Ellis Island welcome Humbkes to America #13 APR2018

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby featherThe Statute of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States in celebration of American Democracy. As the statue was commemorated in October 1886 it was probably never seen by the first 6 of the 7 Humbkes to arrive in New York from 1879 to 1883, but it would have been seen by Ernest Humbke Sr. when he picked up his future wife arriving from Germany in early 1902,.

On April 21, 2018, I spent the day at Castle Clinton National Park, The Statute of Liberty and in the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Before Ellis Island was opened on Jan 1, 1892 immigrants passed through “Castle Garden” in the Battery (originally known as Castle Clinton after the local Governor). Locate in the lower end of Manhattan Island, it served as the New York State immigration station and from 1885 to 1890 approximately eight million immigrants arrived – mostly from Northern and Western Europe (England, Ireland, Germany and Scandinavia).

FIRST Humbke from Windehiem Germany to arrive was my GREAT UNCLE CHRIS HUMBKE(Conrad Dietrich Cristian Dominicus Humbke) b. 04JAN1857 Windheim, Petershagen, Germany; arrived at a dock in New York City and at what is now known as Castle Clinton ??APR1879; and d. 1938. The exact date and location of his death in South Dakota, USA is unknown. Chris arrived as a single 22-year old man and traveled to the White Lake area of South Dakota to find land and prepare for the arrival of his eldest brother’s family. He married Marie Dirks in White Lake, South Dakota on May 7, 1889, but little is known of his life except that he lost his land for non-payment of taxes and he did appear to have made a trip to the Humbke homestead at Wetaskiwin, Alberta where he appears in a photo with his brother and three brother-in-laws. (see BLOG #10)
Battery Park, New York 1870’s

SECOND to arrive was my GRANDFATHER ERNST SR. HUMBKE (Ernst Dietrich Fredrich Humbke Sr.) b. 30OCT1867 Windheim, Petershagen, Germany; d. 26SEP1947 Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada. Ernest, at age 15, came on “H.H. Meier” from Bremen, Germany and arrived at a dock on or near the Battery, Manhattan, New York on 12MAY1883. It is not clear whether his Uncle Chris met him on arrival or if Ernst Sr. made his own way to White Lake, South Dakota.


THIRD to arrive were my GREAT GRANDFATHER DIETRICH HUMBKE (Ernest Dietrich Fredrich Christian Humbke) b. 02AUG1845 Windeheim, Petershagen, Germany; d. 21JUL1899 Woden, Iowa USA; GREAT GRANDMOTHER LOUISE HUMBKE (Marie Louisa [Schnepel] Humbke) B. 11SEP1843 Dohren, Lower Saxony, Germany; d. 24NOV1930 Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada; GREAT AUNT SOPHIE CONRADI (Katherine Sophie Maria [Humbke] Conradi) b. 17OCT1869 Windheim, Petershagen, Germany d. 04NOV1872 Titonka, Iowa, USA; GREAT AUNT MINNIE CALLIES (Louise Wilhelmine Marie [Humbke] Callies) b. 17Jun1876 Windheim, Petershagen, Germany d. 09SEP1961 Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada; GREAT AUNT MARY GEORGE(Marie Louise [Humbke] George) b. 01APR1879 Windheim, Petershagen, Germany d. 08JUN1957 Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada; and GREAT UNCLE DICK HUMBKE (Dietrich Fredrick Ernest Humbke) b.21FEB1882 Windheim, Petershagen, Germany d. 01JAN1968 Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada. They arrived on the “H.H. Neckar” from Bremen, Germany also at the Battery, Manhattan, New York 04AUG1883 and made their way to Buffalo Center, Iowa before homesteading near White Lake, South Dakota. Two daughters were to be born as American Citizens at White Lake – GREAT AUNT ALVINA FONTAINE (Alvina Maria Sophia [Humbke} Fontaine) b. 14APR1885 White Lake, South Dakota, USA; d. 07MAY1955 Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada and GREAT AUNT EMMA HARRIS (Emma Marie [Humbke] HARRIS) b. 29JAN1890 White Lake, South Dakota, USA; d. 11JUL1978 Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada.


Castle Clinton – New York State immigration station from 1855 to 1890
So the first 3 ships to bring the Humbke relatives from Germany, on our family tree in North America, all docked at the lower berths at the lower end of the Borough of Manhattan and the passengers were transported by local boats to nearby Castle Clinton.

Present day Battery Park (2018) at the lowest point of Manhattan. The orange circular two story building in the center of the photo is Castle Clinton – named after DeWitt Clinton (1769 to 1828) a United States Senator, Mayor of New York City and 6th Governor of New York. The building served at various times as a USA army fort, opera house, America’s first immigration processing center house and aquarium. Presently it houses a historical display and is where you can get tickets for a boat to the Statue of Liberty and Ellise Island. If you go try to buy tickets beforehand as the line up can be 1.5 hrs+

Roger and Fanny Humbke leaving Castle Clinton, Battery Park for the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island,

FOURTH to arrive was my GRANDMOTHER MARY (Maria Louise Sophie Lesette [Westenfeldt] Humbke) b. 22MAY1868 Windheim, Germany; arrived by ship from Germany at Ellice Island, New York, USA. My Grandfather Ernst Sr. had left from the Wetaskiwin homestead on Jan. 2, 1902, for New York where he was to picked up his future wife.

Mary became very sick during the crossing of the Atlantic and lost a lot of weight, possibly due to the fact of being infected by a tape worm. Ernst Sr. was only able to recognize her by a red flower she had arranged to wear. All immigrants were examined by doctors who refused entry to the USA and sent back to the country they arrived from (about 2%). Such families had to decide if they would return as a group or seperate. Others were kept in the hospital until able to travel.

Since it took Ernst Sr. 3 1/2 months to make the trip from Wetaskiwin to New York and back, it may have taken Mary a long time to get well enough to travel. One can only imagine the suffering she went through. Her granddaughters have remarked that she told them of the terrible time she had and that she would never get on another ship, for any reason.

Roger Humbke, on an Immigration benches in the Grand Receiving Hall at Ellise Island, New York, listening to a tour guide describe the experience of immigrants trying to enter the United States in 1902,. Immigrants were marked with a colored chalk indicating which of three doors, at the end of the large hall after a preliminary examination at a row of high desks. The middle door led to further examination, hospital or a ship returning to where they came from. It must have been an extremely distressing experience for both Ernst Sr and May.

Eventually they were able to make their way back to the Duhamel homestead by April 15, 1902, and were married on May 22, 1902,. Together they were to raise a family of three healthy daughters and two sons, one of whom was my father, Lawrence Humbke, who lived to the rip old age of 93.

Castle Clinton, Battery Park in lower Manhattan Island with the tallest building in America – The One World Trade Center

For further excellent information and photos of Battery Park, Castle Clinton, Ellis Island please check out:

https://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/ellis-island-history Below in italics is information copied from this site for your convience.


Immigration Policy Embraces the Masses


Prior to 1890, the individual states (rather than the Federal government) regulated immigration into the United States. Castle Garden in the Battery (originally known as Castle Clinton) served as the New York State immigration station from 1855 to 1890 and approximately eight million immigrants, mostly from Northern and Western Europe, passed through its doors.

These early immigrants came from nations such as England, Ireland, Germany and the Scandinavian countries and constituted the first large wave of immigrants that settled and populated the United States. Throughout the 1800s and intensifying in the latter half of the 19th century, ensuing political instability, restrictive religious laws and deteriorating economic conditions in Europe began to fuel the largest mass human migration in the history of the world.

It soon became apparent that Castle Garden was ill-equipped and unprepared to handle the growing numbers of immigrants arriving yearly. Unfortunately, compounding the problems of the small facility were the corruption and incompetence found to be commonplace at Castle Garden.

The Federal government intervened and constructed a new Federally-operated immigration station on Ellis Island. While the new immigration station on Ellis Island was under construction, the Barge Office at the Battery was used for the processing of immigrants.

The new structure on Ellis Island, built of “Georgia pine” opened on January 1, 1892. Annie Moore, a teenaged Irish girl, accompanied by her two brothers, entered history and a new country as she was the very first immigrant to be processed at Ellis Island. Over the next 62 years, more than 12 million were to follow through this port of entry.

Ellis Island Burns and Years of Records Lost


While there were many reasons to immigrate to America, no reason could be found for what would occur only five years after the Ellis Island Immigration Station opened. During the early morning hours of June 15, 1897, a fire on Ellis Island burned the immigration station completely to the ground.

Although no lives were lost, many years of Federal and State immigration records dating back to 1855 burned along with the pine buildings that failed to protect them.

The United States Treasury quickly ordered the immigration facility be replaced under one very important condition: all future structures built on Ellis Island had to be fireproof. On December 17, 1900, the new Main Building was opened and 2,251 immigrants were received that day.

Journeying By Ship to the Land of Liberty


While most immigrants entered the United States through New York Harbor (the most popular destination of steamship companies), others sailed into many ports such as Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, Savannah, Miami, and New Orleans. The great steamship companies like White Star, Red Star, Cunard and Hamburg-America played a significant role in the history of Ellis Island and immigration in general.

First and second class passengers who arrived in New York Harbor were not required to undergo the inspection process at Ellis Island. Instead, these passengers underwent a cursory inspection aboard ship, the theory being that if a person could afford to purchase a first or second class ticket, they were less likely to become a public charge in America due to medical or legal reasons.

The Federal government felt that these more affluent passengers would not end up in institutions, hospitals or become a burden to the state. However, first and second class passengers were sent to Ellis Island for further inspection if they were sick or had legal problems.

This scenario was far different for “steerage” or third class passengers. These immigrants traveled in crowded and often unsanitary conditions near the bottom of steamships with few amenities, often spending up to two weeks seasick in their bunks during rough Atlantic Ocean crossings.

Upon arrival in New York City, ships would dock at the Hudson or East River piers. First and second class passengers would disembark, pass through Customs at the piers and were free to enter the United States. The steerage and third class passengers were transported from the pier by ferry or barge to Ellis Island where everyone would undergo a medical and legal inspection.

A Record Year for New Americans


During the early 1900s, immigration officials mistakenly thought that the peak wave of immigration had already passed. Actually, immigration was on the rise, and in 1907 more people immigrated to the United States than any other year, a record that would hold for the next 80 years. Approximately 1.25 million immigrants were processed at Ellis Island in that one year.

Consequently, masons and carpenters were constantly struggling to enlarge and build new facilities to accommodate this greater than anticipated influx of new immigrants. Hospital buildings, dormitories, contagious disease wards and kitchens all were feverishly constructed between 1900 and 1915.
As the United States entered World War I, immigration to the United States decreased. Numerous suspected enemy aliens throughout the United States were brought to Ellis Island under custody. Between 1918 and 1919, detained suspected enemy aliens were transferred from Ellis Island to other locations in order for the United States Navy with the Army Medical Department to take over the island complex for the duration of the war.

During this time, regular inspection of arriving immigrants was conducted onboard ship or at the docks. At the end of World War I, a big “Red Scare” spread across America and thousands of suspected alien radicals were interned at Ellis Island. Hundreds were later deported based upon the principal of guilt by association with any organizations advocating revolution against the Federal government.

In 1920, Ellis Island reopened as an immigration receiving station and 225,206 immigrants were processed that year.

Arrival at the Island and Initial Inspection


If the immigrant’s papers were in order and they were in reasonably good health, the Ellis Island inspection process would last approximately three to five hours. The inspections took place in the Registry Room (or Great Hall), where doctors would briefly scan every immigrant for obvious physical ailments. Doctors at Ellis Island soon became very adept at conducting these “six second physicals.”

By 1916, it was said that a doctor could identify numerous medical conditions (ranging from anemia to goiters to varicose veins) just by glancing at an immigrant. The ship’s manifest log, that had been filled out back at the port of embarkation, contained the immigrant’s name and his/her answers to twenty-nine questions. This document was used by the legal inspectors at Ellis Island to cross-examine the immigrant during the legal (or primary) inspection.

The two agencies responsible for processing immigrants at Ellis Island were the United States Public Health Service and the Bureau of Immigration (later known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service – INS). On March 1, 2003, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was restructured and included into three separate bureaus as part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Despite the island’s reputation as an “Island of Tears”, the vast majority of immigrants were treated courteously and respectfully, and were free to begin their new lives in America after only a few short hours on Ellis Island. Only two percent of the arriving immigrants were excluded from entry. The two main reasons why an immigrant would be excluded were if a doctor diagnosed that the immigrant had a contagious disease that would endanger the public health or if a legal inspector thought the immigrant was likely to become a public charge or an illegal contract laborer.


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