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SPOTLIGHT
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The year was 1876

Published on -2/6/2013, 2:27 PM

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The year was 1876

This letter will be of interest to the early day residents of Ellis County and, more particularly, the people who settled in the Munjor area in 1876.

On March 1, 1876, Alois Leiker was born in Overmunjor, Russia. His parents were Conrad and Agnes Leiker. Agnes' maiden name was Fischer. Both of them were born in Russia. They left promptly for the United States with other immigrants to settle in the Munjor area, based on recommendations of scouts sent from Russia -- Peter Leiker was one of the five. When they arrived at Munjor, they constructed temporary residences on the banks of Big Creek in the form of dugouts with wooden rafters and dirt roofs.

At the time they came to the United States, both Conrad and Agnes were 28 years of age. Agnes, while preparing a meal at a makeshift stove in the dugout in which they were residing on the banks of Big Creek, was killed instantly when the rain-soaked dirt roof collapsed. At the time she was struck, she was holding Alois on her hip while preparing the food that she was cooking on the makeshift stove. The date of that accident was Sept. 29,1876. The baby Alois was not injured and grew to manhood in the Munjor area.

Conrad never remarried but became a farmer in the Munjor area. At the time of his death in 1904, he had acquired a section of land north of Munjor bordering on the south side of 13th Street north of the county shops. He was a successful farmer and a spokesman because of his education for other Volga-Germans who resided in the Munjor area. The extent of his education is unknown, but it was believed he had the ability to speak and write English. To establish the time they came to Munjor, sometime in the spring of 1876, more probably about the time of the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Wyoming when Gen. Custer was killed. The date of that battle was June 25 and 26, 1876.

At the time of Agnes' death, there was no church in Munjor. The first wooden church was constructed in 1877, a year after her death. The present church was constructed in 1890. It is believed that her mass was held around a wooden cross, which is erected on the north border of the city of Munjor and the people would gather around that cross to worship. She was the first person buried in the Munjor Cemetery, and her grave is covered by the stones of Alois and his wife when they died.

When Alois reached manhood, he married the daughter of Peter Leiker, one of the scouts, a distant relative. They raised nine children -- five boys and four girls, all of whom are deceased except Martina who lives in Denver. She is 98.

My deceased wife, Irene, the granddaughter of Alois Leiker and a sister to Wilfred, Melvin, Lanore Munsch and Thelma Roe. Prior to this letter, there has been no written account describing the cause of death of Agnes Leiker. My wife always wanted me to reduce this to writing. She always told me I was a better Volga-German than she was. My family came from Germany in 1741 to the city of Philadelphia. I am a seventh-generation Boone in America. My grandfather's name seven times removed was Johan Deil Bohn. Before the Boone family, all segments, arrived in the United States Boone was spelled Bohn and was anglicized in the United States to Boon and then later the "e" was added.

Thomas C. Boone

Hays

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