The John J. Heim Family

Feature Story March 2007
The John J. Heim Family
(This article written by the late Elma Heim Griffiths in 1976 for the Dawson Bicentennial History.)
The John J. Heim family arrived in Dawson in the spring of 1882, coming from the same area of Pennsylvania as the other Heim families.  When the Johnnie Heim family migrated to Nebraska in 1881, John J. came with them, the two men were brothers-in-laws as Johnnie’s wife Margaret, was his sister.  Probably one reason John J. came in 1881 was to see what this wonderful Nebraska looked like, as he might want to come sometime too.  He liked what he saw, no stones in the fields, and the hills were not hills compared with those of Pennsylvania.  He sold his 80 acre farm in Pa. for $5500 and had a public sale of property they could not use here or could not bring.  They did ship a car of household goods and came by train themselves as everyone did by this time.

   This family of father, mother, and seven children stayed a short time with the Johnnie Heim family until they bought the Henry Allen farm of 160 acres, paying $4500 for it.  Henry Allen had passed away in 1877 at the age of 58, so this might have been at the settling of his estate or from the heirs.  It was across the road from the Jacob G. Heim farm and is the present home of Violet Heim and the late Lowell Heim.  He was a great grand son of John J. and Rosina Heim.  All the buildings on this farm were fairly good and no changes were made until 1886 when they built a big basement barn.  Since that time many changes have been made.

   John J. was good at grafting fruit of all kinds and did quite a bit of it for him and for others.   On his 80th birthday he set up several shocks of wheat just to prove to himself that he still could do it.  Grandma Rosina loved flowers and brought with her from Pa. starts of some favorites. As the children married and had homes of their own, all received starts of them, for they loved them too.  These were the very double yellow daffodils, the very fragrant Madonna lilies, the single Tiger lily and a thorn less, double white rose.  She also always had a bed of Spice Pinks of various shades of pink and red.

   Their family was, Elizabeth Heim, who married Samuel F. Heim.  They had their own farm about 2 miles northwest of the home farm.  In later years their large pear orchard should be remembered by many as it supplied many people in the area with fruit.  They built all the buildings on this farm. It was raw prairie when Sam started farming it a few years before they married.  A granddaughter, Janis and her late husband, Bill Martin now own the farm.
   Jacob S. Heim, who married Rebecca Heim (the girl who lived across the road).  Jake and Becky had their own farm, three and a half miles from Dawson, where Dennis Thacker now lives.  Jake planted a large Cedar and White Pine Grove and parts of that grove is still standing.  All buildings on this farm were built by them to relocate and renew those on the farm when they were married.  Becky loved trees too and bought and planted the first Tulip tree (sometimes called Yellow Poplar) in this part of Nebraska.  The last of May and first part of June it is covered with yellow tulip shaped blossoms.  She had “the green thumb” if anyone did as she grew houseplants from seed.  The tulip tree still stands near the drive into the Dennis Thacker home yard.

   Anna Heim, who married Charles E. Stoltz.  Anna and Charley farmed in the county and for several years owned and operated the Hardware store in Dawson.  He was overseer of the Prison Farm at Lincoln for several years.  After retirement they lived in San Antonio, Texas.

   Mary Heim, who married Clarence W. Stratton.  This couple worked in the area and their decedents are still living in the Dawson area.

   Israel L. Heim, who married Gertrude Draper built a home of their own on his parent’s farm near their small home and took over the farming.  He and Gertie took care of his parents for many years. Many were the big family gatherings held first at grandpa and grandma’s that soon out grew their small house and were later held at Uncle Israel’s and Aunt Gertie”s house instead.

   William C. Heim, who married Ethel Barlow.  He learned telegraphy from the depot agent in Dawson.  Later he started working for various railroads advancing in the work as the years passed.  At retirement he was chief freight agent at Phoenix, Arizona for the Southern Pacific Railroad.   They then bought an apricot ranch at Cupertino, California.  Through the years Ethel nearly always had a class of music students which she enjoyed teaching.

   Lucy Heim who married Dr. Walter E. Draper, who was a physician in Manila, Iowa, later moving to Sioux City, Iowa.  He specialized in rectal disorders.  After retirement they went to live near their daughter and family in Billings, Montana and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

   And as you may have guessed by now, John J. and Rosina Heim were the parents of my father, and my grandparents.  Jacob S. and Rebecca Heim were my parents.