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Monday, May 2, 2016

Past joins the future

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How many of us have our heritage tied to Germany or another European nation? Many of our forefathers traveled to this country to gain a better life for their family and enjoy the many freedoms they only heard about. Most came with little money and had to make do with very little.

Members of the John Reinert clan came from around the area to meet German relatives and share what they knew of their family history at the Maryhill social hall and enjoy a delicious pot-luck meal. Photo contributed.
Such was the case with Johann (John) Reinert, as he tried to build a better life for his loved ones. After coming to this country, several children were born: Frank Aug. 29, 1887, Pete March 13, 1889, Fred on July 4, 1891, Rosa on June 1893 and Andrew on April 30, 1895 with several more following. They believed in large families to get all of the work done. They build buildings as needed. They had only a small home and a make-shift barn to begin with. As the children kept coming, they needed more space.

Reinert was a versatile man and constructed most of his own buildings. He built a cave with a rounded roof top consisting of soil. Flowers were planted with chipped broken dishes and color glass imbedded amongst them to add beauty to their yard. He made concrete post to fence his land in making everyone aware of it's boundaries. Some of these posts still exist today.

There was much work done to plant orchards of apples and plum trees as well as raspberry bushes and grape vines. They planted large gardens to feed the family. His ancestors realized that he was quite an accomplished nurseryman having done the same thing back in Germany. Family related that he could graft trees in his back yard and experimented with grafting different varieties together. Neighbors noted he supplied many neighbors and friends with fruit from his orchards. He also taught them how to plant and prune their own trees.

Heinrich and Hildegard Heinrich and their son Edgar stand by the tombstone of John and Mary Reinert in Maryhill recently . Photo contributed.
No one remains of that generation but their tales live on as to how hard they worked and the hardships they endured. Reinert also was talented when it came to making willow baskets and many were given as gifts. Women received them as laundry baskets while smaller ones were made for young girls. The willows came from the slough just east of Maryhill. He also made whistles for boys.

Grandma Reinhart was a jovial person and would help young girls hide from the boys under her large apron. She made her own medication from the berries of fir trees to help her with "dropsy" which reduced the swelling in her legs.

As time passes many of us decide it is time to learn more about our forefathers. Such was the case of Vern and Vonnie Reinert and their neice Roberta Carstens Mitchell and husband Richard. In 2008 they traveled to Germany to visit relatives. They visited Henrich and Hildegard Reinert and their son Edgar in Saarburg near the Rhine River. Edgar was the only one who could speak just a little English. They visited several places where their relatives lived, worked, played and worship. These relatives were second cousins.

This past August, three of their relatives came to Iowa to see Iowa and learn about their relatives had settled, a number of relatives they knew little about. They visited several farms with farm machinery and livestock to see first hand how things are done here now. They toured cemeteries in Quimby, Marcus and Maryhill. Many of the clan gathered for a pot-luck picnic at Maryhill with many grandchildren and great grandchildren of John Reinert,who died in 1944. A great time was had by all.

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