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Kansas Family History

Family History of John Michael Semisch

The Kansas Heritage server would like to thank Cherie Brunatti for contributing this material.

 John Michael Semisch and Katherine Brumbies Semisch

The parents of Michael Semisch passed away at the age of
(he)  80 years and (she) 60 years.

Michael was born in Washaugen, Sacksmainigan, Germany on
January 15, 1824.  He came to America in 1851 and was
married to Katherine Brumbies in 1852 at Utica, New York.
Katherine was born in Lindan Baron, Germany on June 3, 1831.

While in New York State, they became parents of a daughter
Christina.  Soon thereafter, they moved to Montreal Canada
where a son Debold and a daughter, Emma were added to their
family.  They returned to Grand Rapids, Michigan a few years
later where Debold passed away at the age of 4 years, and
where daughter Elizabeth was born.

While Debold was still living, Michael joined the Union Army
and served until its end as a coffin maker.  A small level
he carried and used in his work is a prize possession of his
Granddaughter ( Opal Semisch Doyle)

After he was mustard out of the army, he moved his family to
Circleville near Halton, Kansas.  Here two sons Samuel and
Carl were born.  In June of 1871 they took up a claim two
and one half miles south west of Keighley, Kansas.  Here
daughter Liddy was born.   Liddy passed away at 2  years
and is buried under a large flat rock where the farms of
Carl, Samuel and Robert Wilsons joined.

On June 16th, just after they arrived from Holton and were
yet camping in their covered wagon, a cyclone struck and
turned over the wagon but all escaped injury.

They lived in a dug out which was located where the Semisch
garage now stands.  It was one large room facing south with
a dirt floor and an attic.  The boys would get ready for bed
and then run outside and up to the top of the dugout which
was their bedroom.  While excavating for the garage,
Grandson Floyd uncovered parts of jugs and crocks belonging
to his grandmother Katherine Brumbies Semisch.

Like all pioneers they had their trials and worries.
Katherine was very much afraid of the Indians and would give
them anything to get rid of them.   One day she was alone
with the boys when a group stopped.  She hid the boys under
a feather bed and told the Indians to take what they wanted,
so they took all her chickens.

Once while Samuel and Carl were herding cattle on the
prairie, Carl was bitten twice on the wrist by a rattle
snake.  All home remedies were used and in a desperate  race
against death, the son-in law Charley Farner rode to
Eldorado for a doctor and before reaching the city his horse
died of exhaustion.

In 1873 a fire started near Eldorado and driven by a north
west wind swept rapidly across the country leaping streams
and leaving desolation in it?s wake.   Lumber which Michael
had hauled    all the way from Hombolt to build his house
burned as he looked helplessly on.  One load of corn was
saved by leaving it in the creek.  The horses were turned
loose to fend for themselves. At different times there had
been invasions of grasshoppers west of the Mississippi river
but none as disastrous as the one of 1874.  What little crop
Michael had laid was soon gone.   This visit of the
grasshoppers was prolonged into the next year and the early
crops were destroyed.  For some unaccountable reason, they
soon rose in the air and went back to the north west whence
they had come the year before.  Since there was still time
for late planting, they had plenty of crops for that year.
They also endured the hardships of blizzards and droughts.

Daughter Christina lived a short while west of  Keighley and
then moved on the California.  The other two daughters
married and settled near by.

Michael passed away at the farmstead on December 31, 1891
being 67 years, 11 months and 16 days of age.  Katherine
passed away Oct 30, 1894 at the age of 63.   She and Michael
were members of the Evangelical Church.  After her death the
household articles were divided between the two daughters
and the homestead was equally divided between the two sons,
where both lived for some time.   Carl moved to Leon and his
farm was later sold to Samuel?s heirs.

There are no known records of the families of either Michael
or Katherine except some distant relatives of hers living in
East Germany.

For several years, grand daughter Opal corresponded with a
Fern Semisch of Greswald, Iowa.  She had an aunt (Mrs. Julia
Wasiner of Grant, Iowa) and uncle (Elmer Seimisch of Long
Point, Ill).  They thought that a brother of their father
had left Germany and was never heard from.  They thought
Michael could have been he  having changed the spelling of
his name when he came to America.

Michael left Germany because he did not want to take his
compulsory military training.  He was afraid he might be
traced and sent back, so he told very little about his life
or family he left in Germany.

Michael and Katherine Semisch have their names with a short
history entered in the museum for former residents of
soddies and dugouts at Colby, Kansas.

It is believed that this was originally written by Opal
Semisch Doyle a Granddaughter of Michael and Katherine


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