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Frederick William Koester

 

Frederick Koester

Courtesy of Donna Beck

 

Frederick W. Koester (1819-1899) served three years in the German army service, and years later (1855) left from Hanover, Germany, for America coming by sailboat, the voyage requiring six or seven weeks.  Staying a while in a German settlement at DeKalb, Ill., he came to Nebraska afterward in 1856, walking all the way.

He staked out his claim in Section 26 in the fertile valley of the South Fork, and built a floorless log cabin.  His holdings were added to until he acquired the whole section.  It is a worthy statement that for 100 years his family has kept ownership.

Frederick Koester broke the sod with oxen.  He brought early provisions from St. Joseph, Mo., a three day trip each way.  The nearest grist mill was at Brownville before the one at Cincinnati was built.

In 1867 the cellar for the stone house was dug, and the next year the house was built.  Stone was brought in by ox sled.  Windows, doors, and shingles were from St. Joseph, Mo.  Lime for the mason work was burned at the Four Mile quarry.  Fear of horse thieves, early days, led Koester often to sleep in his wagon with his musket by his side.

Koester was 40 years old when he married Miss Sophia Louise Korber, just that year from Hanover, Germany.  He was married in Pawnee County, Neb., in 1859.  Sophia Koester died June 20, 1868.  She never got to live in the new house.  Their four children were born in the floorless log cabin.

When the Rock Island Railroad was put through it was thought the road would lay through the farm, so Frederick Koester had a small area in the extreme southwest corner of the section platted for town sites.  Named Koesterville, a few houses were there a short while and then moved on into DuBois, where the railroad was built.

As of 2007, Frederick Koester's great grand-daughter lived on the land and the stone house was still standing.

Young Frederick Koester

Courtesy of Donna Beck


Copyright 2008 Pawnee County History

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