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Meidinger-Dockter Centennial Celebration a "Party on the Prairie" Along the Banks of Beaver Creek in McIntosh County, ND

Halverson, Carol Just. "Meidinger-Dockter Centennial Celebration a "Party on the Prairie" Along the Banks of Beaver Creek in McIntosh County, ND." Wishek Star, 10 September 1997.


Katharina Meidinger Dockter's 100th birthday would have been August 16, 1997. She died in 1965, but her family decided to throw a party for her anyway. Calling it a "party on the prairie", her grandchildren took this opportunity to honor her memory and reunite the family along the shores of Beaver Creek at the home of her son and daughter-in-law, Alfred and Elaine Dockter.

Coming from Washington D.C., New York, Missouri, Texas, Minnesota, and both Dakota's, almost 80 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family from ages 1 to 83-years-old spent the weekend eating German-Russian food and swapping memories. The surviving children of Henry and Katharina were present: Helen and Julius Just, Berlin, ND, Viola Aipperspach, Aberdeen, SD, Alfred and Elaine Dockter, Zeeland, Harry and Agnes Dockter, Bismarck, Laverna and Clifton Kaseman, Wishek. Daughter-in-law, Alma (David) Dockter, Cresbard, SD, and nephew, Kenneth Dockter, Washington D.C. were honored guests.

The centerpiece of the two-day event was Sunday worship at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church on August 17, when everyone gathered in the church home where Henry and Katharina were baptized, confirmed, married and buried. All ten Dockter children received their Christian education there. Alfred and Elaine Dockter raised their children at St. Andrew's and remained active members.

More than 30 family members assisted in the worship service led by the oldest grandson, Pastor Don Just, Austin, TX. Katharina's youngest daughter Laverna Dockter Kaseman, organized the worship service and served as organist. German hymns and prayers were included and as the "Vater Unser," The Lord's Prayer, was recited, the church bell at St. Andrew's rang across the prairie as it has since the larger church was built in 1906. The original stone church built in 1893 still stands on the church property. Immediately following the close of the worship, Katharina Meidinger Dockter's surviving children carried the Altar flowers to the graves of their parents and sang the child's prayer their mother taught them, "Mude bin ich, geh zur Ruh," "Weary Am I, to Rest Must Go."

Alfred Dockter, with his team of horses and covered wagon, escorted the great-grandchildren back to his farm on the shores of Beaver Creek for a closing meal of traditional noodle soup and roast beef. Sparklers adorned a huge birthday cake as all present sang "Happy Birthday, Grandma Katie." With that, the "party on the prairie" came to a close. All departed that day, wrapped in the embrace of a family history.
August 17, 1997. The decendants of Henry and Katharina (Meidinger) Dockter following worship at their ancestral church, St. Andrew's Lutheran, rural Zeeland.
August 17, 1997. Katharina Halverson, St. Louis Park, MN, wrapped in her Great-Great-Grandmother Katharina Thurn Meidinger's blanket. The blanket came to America from Kassel, South Russia in October, 1884. It was given to Katharina Meidinger Dockter upon her marriage in 1917.
August 17, 1997. Following worship, the surviving children carried the Altar flowers to the grave of Henry and Katharina (Meidinger) Dockter and holding the ancestral blanket their mother wrapped them in as children sang "Mude bin ich, geh zur Ruh," the childhood prayer their mother sang to them.
August 17, 1997. Meidinger and Dockter descendants learning their Germans from Russia history in the cemetery of 104-year-old St. Andrew's Lutheran Church near Zeeland, McIntosh County, ND.

Reprinted with permission from the Wishek Star.

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