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My Grandfather

Keller, Dr. Edward. "My Grandfather." Emmons County Record, 2008, 28.


Dr. Keller’s grandparents, Michael Keller and Barbara (Gross) Keller.

My grandfather, Michael Keller, was born on May 8, 1864, in Grasner, Russia, in the Odessa area on the Black Sea. (The tombstone is a year off and his name is in German). Michael married my grandmother, Barbara Gross who was born in Mannheim, Russia, in 1867. Together, with five of their children, a sixth was born in Strasburg, plus three brothers and sisters and their families, immigrated to Strasburg, N.D. in June of 1905. The trip entailed in an overland train ride from Odessa to Bremen, Germany. At Bremen they boarded the vessel, Terrasia to Ellis Island, N.Y. From there another train ride took them to Eureka, S.D. They came to Strasburg by wagon and on foot. My grandfather and his family settled on a homestead on section 6-131-75 six miles north of Strasburg. His brothers, Johannas, Joseph and Sebastian settled further north in the Karlsruhe, Selz area in McHenry County.

The tombstone of Dr. Keller’s grandfather.

After the required five year wait Michael petitioned and received United States citizenship on Dec. 10, 1910, in the 6th judicial district of Emmons County in Linton, N.D. witnessed by John Hagel, George Grinsteiner and Edward Braddock with Emmons County Clerk of clerk, G.P. Rooks. Barbara and all the children were then citizens. In the process Michael has to profess his belief in organized government, that he is attached to the principals of the constitution of the United States and that he is not a polygamist. He had to renounce absolutely forever all allegiance to any foreign prince, potentiate, state or sovereignty and particularly to Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia.

The tombstone of Dr. Keller’s grandmother.

Barbara died in 1918. She is buried at rural Rosenthal Sacred Heart Church Cemetery eight miles southeast of Linton. Grandpa then rented out his farm and moved to Bismarck with his two youngest daughters ages 15 and 12. I visited them and my parents brought them butter, cream, eggs and butchering chickens. Three different renters lived on that farm during the twenties and thirties.

Michael Keller died in 1945. He is buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Bismarck, N.D.

Till next time.

Printed with permission of the Emmons County Record.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
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