Came Here with First Colony
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Raasch, who have just celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary, were, as children, members of the first group of Wisconsin settlers who came to this community in 1866. Editors Note: A picture of the couple was shown in the paper.
Marriage Ties Hold Together For 57 Years
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Raasch Were Children
in First Wisconsin Colony
Have Same Birthday
Norfolk Pioneer Recalls Journey Made by 28 Families in 63 Covered Wagons, Most of Which Were Drawn by Oxen.
Seventy-four years ago this month twenty-eight Wisconsin families left their homes to cross the prairies and establish a colony where Norfolk today stands. Among the children in the covered wagon caravan were Henry Raasch, then 6 years old and Louise Wachter, 4 years old.
Seventeen years later on May 6, 1883, Henry Raasch and Louise Wachter were married at Norfolk, This same couple Tuesday celebrated their fifty-seventh wedding anniversary at their home at 800 Georgia Avenue, to which they retired eight years ago after spending forty nine years on their farm near the old canning factory. Mr. and Mrs. Raasch, both of whom are in good health, are the parents of ten sons and daughters, six of whom are living. They are: Frank, Adolph, Emil, Ferdinand, Mrs. Arthur Uecker and Miss Louise Raasch. In observance of the wedding anniversary, the sons and daughters honored their parents Sunday at a family dinner.
Have Same Birthday
Mr. and Mrs. Raasch hold the distinction of having the same birthday, Nov. 3. Both were born in Wisconsin, and Mr. Raasch is now 80 years old, and Mrs. Raasch 78. One of his hobbies is gardening, and he has a fine garden started this spring. Although he was only 6 years old when the Wisconsin colony arrived in Norfolk, he vividly recalls the forty-day journey across the prairies. “There were twenty-eight families in the colony, which traveled in sixty-three covered wagons,” he said. “All those wagons, except four, were pulled by oxen.”
“We left Wisconsin on May 30, and arrived in Norfolk, then a wilderness, on July 4, and we didn’t travel on Sundays. There was more Christianity then than now.” He recalls grass at Norfolk was two to seven feet in height. “We were delayed at Humbug creek near Pilger because we had to spend two or three days building a bridge to cross it. And we used wooden nails. It took us a whole day to cross the Missouri river at Omaha on a ferry boat, and the river was running full.”
When the Wisconsin settlers arrived at Norfolk, Mr. Raasch says the mosquitoes were worse than the Indians. “Those insects were after our blood, and the Indians did us no harm,” he commented.
Mr. Raasch’s parents were Mr. and Mrs. Martin Raasch, and Mrs. Raasch’s were Mr. and Mrs. Herman Wachter. The two families settled on farms near each other. Mr. Raasch recalls Norfolk’s first post office was in his father’s home. “It was three or four feet long, and had paper, ink and 11 cents in stamps,” he recalled.
Of those who came to Norfolk to make history in the summer of 1866, Mr. Raasch says only twenty-five or twenty-six are still living. Looking back on the pioneer days, Mr. Raasch said: “We had better meals than now because of home-made bread, home-smoked bacon and all those good things,” he said. Source: The Norfolk Daily News, Tuesday May 7, 1940, page 7.