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Kraft descendants visit Emmons County area

"Kraft descendants visit Emmons County area." Emmons County Record, 19 July 2012, 6.


Shirley (Van Hale) Wood and her son, Mike, both of Concord, Calif., made their way through Emmons County as part of a vacation June 2-9 tracing their family history in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Shirley’s mother, Theresa (Kraft) Van Hale and her six siblings were all born in Strasburg, children of Gregory and Magdalena (Fischer) Kraft. All eventually moved to the San Francisco Bay area, but several visited Strasburg for a 1981 family reunion.

One enjoyable stop in Strasburg was at Keller’s Hardware and a visit with Gary Keller, whose aunt, Rose (Keller) Kraft, was married to Shirley’s uncle, Matthew Kraft. Matthew lived to be 96, passing away in 2009.

The visitors were given a tour of the Keller Hotel museum and learned a great deal about Strasburg during the time their relatives lived there in the first few decades of the 1900s.

Shirley much enjoyed having kuchen as a lunchtime dessert at the Galley restaurant, much like her grandmother made.

The travelers also made a stop in Linton, where Shirley’s aunt Pauline (Kraft) Schott and uncle Arthur Schott resided for years. They found a house that those two lived at, but were unsuccessful in locating the house that years ago had been relocated from Gregory Kraft’s farm near Strasburg (near the Lawrence Welk birthplace site) and moved to a spot in Linton. The two did make a trip out to the approximate area where the Kraft farm was located just outside Strasburg.

The trip also took them to Graceville, Minn., to see Shirley’s aunt Margaret (Van Hale) Klein, age 97, her father Martin Van Hale’s only surviving sibling.

Margaret’s daughter, Sue Hoffman, visited from Oklahoma and gave the visitors a tour of the surrounding communities. The travelers also made stops in Bismarck and Fargo, and met up with cousins there, too.

Upon returning to California, Shirley was able to share photos and stories of her trip with Frances “Fanny” (Fischer) Kraft, her aunt and godmother, a native of Casselton, who lives in Lodi, Calif., and celebrated her 98th birthday on April 30. Fanny is the widow of Joseph Kraft, the eldest son of Gregory and Magdalena Kraft.

At their stop at the Emmons County Record, Shirley (Van Hale) Wood and her son, Mike Wood, received copies of the newspapers 125th anniversary edition from 2009.
This picture, taken in 1991, is the last taken of Gregory and Magdalena’s five surviving children—left to right, Matt, Theresa, Polly, Joe and Kathryn.
Gregory and Magdalena Kraft are pictured with five of their children—Martha, Theresa (mother of Shirley Wood), Joe, Matt, Kathryn and Emelia. Missing from the picture is Polly who had gone to marry Art Schott.

Kraft family members pictured are, back row, left to right, Gregory Kraft, Adam Kraft, Peter Kraft, Jr. and Joe Volk; front, Joseph Kraft, Sam Godreau, Stephan Kraft and Sebastian Bauman.

Gregory, Adam, Peter, Jr., Joseph and Stephan were sons of Peter Kraft, Sr. and his first wife, Katerina (Wald). Joe Volk (former sheriff) was married to Barbara Fischer, daughter of Kasimir and Franciska (Garman) Fischer. Franciska was Peter’s second wife. Sam Godreau was the husband of Cecillia (Kraft), youngest daughter of Peter and Katerina Kraft. Sebastian Bauman was the husband of Katerina (Kraft), daughter of Peter and Katerina Kraft.

Reprinted with permission of the Emmons County Record

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