Eurekan Celebrates Her Century Mark Sunday
Bergman, Linda ."Native
Eurekan Celebrates Her Century Mark Sunday.", Northwest Blade, 11 July 2001.
Christina Knapp of Eureka observed her 100th birthday
on Monday, July 9. An open house at her home was held in her honor
on Sunday afternoon, July 8.
Christina Knapp was born on July 9, 1901, on a farm
about thirteen miles northeast of Eureka in McPherson County.
Her parents were Jacob D. and Katherina (Neuharth) Opp. She had
thirteen brothers and sisters with three dying in infancy. Ten
children remained which included three brothers and seven sisters.
Today the only remaining siblings are Christina, her sister, Mrs.
Gust (Martha) Mettler, who lives in Rapid City, in an assisted
living center and her youngest sister, Mrs. Bert (Erna) Stroh,
who lives in the Eureka Health Care Center.
Christina was raised on a farm and had to work hard
along with her other siblings. She remembers a sod house on the
premises that was used to keep fuel. She was born in a frame house
that was built on the farmland. Growing up on a farm required
everyone to participate in the chores. She occasionally helped
with the fieldwork, but mostly helped with the housework. They
had a few cattle, hogs and chickens. They made their own butter
and baked their own bread. She still enjoys cooking strudles,
dumplings, kuchen and cookies. She always had a big garden, but
has a small one now.
She attended country school until the sixth grade
when she stayed at home to help. She walked about a mile to school
every day unless the weather was really bad and then her dad took
her by horse and buggy. In the winter if the weather was too bad
even for the horse and buggy, they just stayed home. In school,
she learned reading, spelling and arithmetic and how to speak
English. German was the language they spoke at home and at recess
or when the teacher wasn't within hearing distance. One of her
jobs at school was to clean the blackboard at the end of the school
She married Jacob Knapp in 1921 after a year's courtship.
His parents were Johann and stepmother Elizabeth Spitzer and they
lived about four miles down the road from Christina's homestead.
Jacob's mother died when he was about four years old. The wedding
took place at the church she attended between Leola and Hosmer
and is now owned by the Hutterite colony. The reception was held
in the family home.
Jacob and Christina started their own farming business
following their marriage. They raised three children--Orville,
Marietta and Phillipina. They moved into town in October of 1958.
Jacob died December l, 1989. Orville and Marietta have also died.
Christina enjoyed going to barn dances on Sunday
afternoons and remembers vividly hearing Lawrence Welk play at
the country club the very first time it was held in Eureka. She
has lived in the same house for 80 years even though some remodeling
has taken place. This same house was moved to Eureka 43 years
ago in the fall. She also remembers looking forward each year
to the big 4th of July celebrations in Eureka. It was always a
lot of fun.
Christina has kept busy by scrubbing her kitchen
floor, cooking, and doing her own laundry. She enjoys reading
and listening to the news on the radio. Her son-in-law took her
on a small plane and she also flew on a jet to Florida. Going
from horse and buggy to a jet is quite a change. She has kept
her hands busy by making quilts, afghans and crocheting doilies
that she passes along to her nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
She said,"I was very sickly as a child and
never thought I would reach 100." Well, you made it, Christina,
and it was a joy visiting with you.
Reprinted with permission of the Northwest