The History – How it all Started
As the story is told to me, my Great Great Grandparents came in a covered wagon to homestead in Harvey County. This was roughly the late 1800’s when the railroad was giving land away. Gerhard Ratzlaff, my great great grandfather was born in Russia on 22 Mar 1856 to Jacob Ratzlaff and Helena Friesen. Gerhard married Marie Harder and had 12 children. He passed away on 13 Nov 1922 in Kansas. His son John A. Ratzlaff was my great grandfather.
In doing a little research, I found pictures of my Great Grandmother’s head stone. There were several Anna Ratzlaff’s but I know this is the one I was looking for because I was born on her 75th birthday and was her first Great Granddaughter. Visiting her at Buhler Sunshine Home when I was young were fond memories, verbal conversations were few because of her German language.
My Great Grandparents John Ratzlaff and Anna Neufeld Ratzlaff (1880-1965) were married on July 20 1902. (according to census records in Harvey County) Large families were important when running a farm. They had 6 children but their daughter, Maria Teressa Ratzlaff , lived for just two years. They had 5 other children; John Fritz Ratzlaff, Elizabeth F. Holle, Diedrich (Dick) A Ratzlaff, Paul Jacob Ratzlaff, and my grandfather, George Ratzlaff. The story is told that each of the five children inherited 80 acres.
George Harvey Ratzlaff, (1931-2015), my father being an only child, inherited his father’s entire 80. Dad gave my Sis and I each 40 acres. And so it begins …. for me …
In 2008 my son, Jason Riley Bether, (July 1, 1981 – Feb. 2, 2009) moved to the little farm house to start the renovation process.
And now, grandson and grandma, James Bether and Deb Hagen are working on the renovation process. James and I work hard and have lots of help. My husband Ron is great to jump in when we need his help. James has several cousins that are willing help; Zak Smalling, and Madie and Baelie Pitts. They have all provided great assistance combined with fun and laughter while working on projects. Mason Sietz, James’ friend, is always willing to help.
In the pictures shown below: the relationships to Deb Hagen, owner and author of Owl’s Corner Cabin are in the captions.