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The farmers in Germany grew rye and potatoes, maintained a vegetable gar-
den, and had meadows for cattle grazing.  All farming was done by hand, without
the aid of animals.  The family’s diet consisted of the garden vegetables they grew
and the pigs and chickens they raised.  Butter was used sparingly since it was one
of the main sources for a little cash.  Lard was often used as a spread on the bread. 
Dairy cows were used for their milk and milk products.  Blood sausage, pig’s
knuckles, noses, ears, and brains were all eaten.  Nothing was wasted by our an-
cestors.
           
The village of Grossenknetten was mostly self-sustaining.  It included a
blacksmith, a windmill to grind grain, a shoemaker, a weaver, and a brickmaker. 
Before our ancestors left Germany there were few ready made things.  All neces-
sary items were made to order by local craftsmen or by our ancestors themselves.
           
The Grotelueschens were a church going people back in Germany.  Manyof
our ancestor’s records of birth and marriage are in a Lutheran church in Bissel; the
graveyard at that church records the Grotelueschens through the generations.
           
Rye was the main crop grown in that area, so it was natural that everyone
drank beer, but drunkenness was frowned upon.  How could you enjoy life without
a good beer?  That was how our ancestors got joy out of life, even if they weren’t
rich.  Families relaxed through two day celebrations of weddings, national holidays,
and family celebrations by dancing, beer drinking, and good German gemutlich. 
Although sports were rare, bowling alleys were common.  There was some boxing
and a little wrestling.  Girls played with dolls and boys played with marbles.
           
Our ancestors had to face the cruel realities of life.  Our ancestor Hinrich,
married to Geshe Margarethe Asche, saw his daughter die in a buggy accident at
age 13 on her way to church.  Their son, Hinrich, died at age 16, but no records
show the cause of his death.  Geshe also had to bear the loss of her husband in a
buggy accident on his way to church.  Our ancestors had to face wars as Olden-
burg fought for the Prussian contingent in the 1800’s.  Germany seemed to be in-
volved continually in military skirmishes.  The law of primo-geniture held, so estates
had to be passed intact to the oldest son, often to the practical dis-inheritance of
sisters and younger brothers.  This law caused many European men to immigrate
to America.
           
Hinrich and Geshe’s son, A. Johann, born on April 29, 1831, made the deci-
sion to come to America in 1866.  He may have decided to come to avoid going to
war for the Kaiser and the Prussians.  He could have decided to come because of
the law of primo-geniture, since he was the youngest male and would have had no
rights to the family holdings.  The Homestead Act in America had been passed and
the promise of his own lands may have lured him.  His friends, Heinrich and Herman
Loseke, had also gone to America and settled in Columbus, Nebraska.  Before A.
Johann sailed, he married Anna Catherine Loseke on April 11, 1866.  Their wedding
text was taken from Luke 24:29 and said:  “Abide with us; for it is toward evening
and the day is far spent.”  On her wedding Day Anna was 17 years old, and her par-
ents would not allow her to cross with A. Johann until they were married in the Bis-
sel church in Germany.
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