|Memorial Moment – Coming Home
by Mrs. Marilyn Thacker Ogle
|Each year as part of the Sunday Memorial Service at the Penn Colony of Nebraska Reunion, (always second weekend in August) a descendant of a pioneering family is asked to give a talk, as a memorial to the memory of those who came out west and endured the hard times to build a community in Nebraska. This is a copy of the 2009 moment written and given by Mrs. Marilyn Thacker Ogle an entitled: “Coming Home”.
After coming to Nebraska
in 1870, Jacob G. Heim began to make arrangements to sell his farm in Pennsylvania and move his family west to Nebraska. It took four years, but finally the farm was sold and a public sale was held to dispose of the personal belongings he and Regina had accumulated, Jacob and Regina moved their family to the farm where Alan Heim now resides and began establishing a home for their children, Johnathan, Sam, Joseph, Rebecca, Sophia, Maggie, Sarah Salomon, and Mary. Salomon and Mary died of membranous croup the first winter and Jacob felt it was punishment from God for coming west and wanted to go back east again, but Regina
said it would not bring their children back and their money was all in the land and the house so they stayed. Leaving their graves of her two children in the lonesome prairie was more than she could consider, so this mother made the decision that would determine the future for our Pennsylvania
For several years to follow, families continued to relocate to Nebraska
and in November 1884, Mrs. Catherine Ulmer, widow of Martin Ulmer, moved with her children, Israel, Sarah and Martin D. to Nebraska, another son, Emanuel had already re-located to Nebraska. These first families were greeted by raw, treeless prairie, so they soon began planting trees to make the prairie more comfortable during the hot summers and for the lumber and wood they would need to heat their homes in the harsh Nebraska
Broadview Farm became home to Catherine Ulmer and her children and later was the home where Martin D. Ulmer and his bride Sophia Heim would raise their children. Three children were born to this union: Erma (Berton Williamson), Mildred (Elmer Thacker) and Wallace (who died at one year of age). All of the children were born in this home and the daughters were married here.
Martin and SophiaMartin and Sophia maintained a beautiful farmstead and planted numerous trees and provided summer shade and a warm and comforting winter landscape for their young family to enjoy.
Since I grew up in this same house along with my brother, Neil, coming home has always meant coming home to this farmstead. As a child, it meant endless hours of playing in the big yard, under the evergreen trees. Playmates included “corner cousins” Bob Williamson and his sister Shirley (Haner) and Dennis and Terry Thacker (these two were almost like brothers since our Dads were brothers and our Moms were first cousins.) Sundays and holidays were always filled with family and wonderful food….I can smell the stuffing just thinking about it! Uncle Berton used to hitch up his team of horses and take us for rides in the sleigh in the winter, much to our delight…and we spent endless hours sledding on the road in front of our house. Summer was great, too…there were all the baby kittens to find in the hay mow in the barn, mud pies to make and picnics in the yard. One more of my favorite times was coming home from Grand Avenue and smelling the wood smoke coming from the chimney…it guaranteed a nice warm house and being greeted by the smell of homemade bread, cinnamon rolls or cookies….WOW!
Of course we all grow up and eventually leave home to marry…I had shared with my brother, Neil, that I would NEVER marry a farmer (a comment that he would remind me of). My high school sweetheart, Dick Ogle, and I were married in this church by Rev. Raymond Boyer. He was the grandfather of Jason Thacker, who just happens to be delivering our sermon this morning. We lived in Auburn while he finished college…then moved to Gresham, Ne. where he taught Industrial Arts (see no farmer) Then Dick decided to take a teaching position in Auburn (no, he couldn’t be thinking about coming home to farm????)! Then out of nowhere he gets this hair brained idea to move back to Dawson and farm. Eventually coming home meant returning to Broadview Farm where we raised our children and where they bring their spouses, and grandchildren home. It has been a special privilege to come home to the farmstead of Martin and Sophia. The last of the evergreens left us a few years ago, but the hoot owl who used to serenade us from it has moved to the evergreen grove across the corner at Dennis and Robin Thacker’s and the evergreen tree patch whisper just as Grandpa Martin’s did. We truly have come home!