by Alma Beier (sister of J.N.C. Hiebert)
My great-great-grandfather, together with his two sons, Claus and Cornelius, were on their way to North America with their children in 1875. He, great-great-grandfather, died on board ship and his body was sunk into the ocean. My great-grandfather, Cornelius Hiebert, was born October 11, 1827 in Lichtfelde, South Russia. Great-grandmother Helena Eitzen Hiebert was born June 30, 1823 in Schoenweise, South Russia. Both of them came to North America with their children, our grandparents, and settled in Minnesota on a farm. Great-grandfather Cornelius died March 30, 1884 at the age of 57. Great-grandmother died May 2nd, 1904 at the age of 76 years and 4 months. Both great-grandparents were buried at Eagle Lake on their farm, but in later years their bodies were taken to the Mountain Lake Cemetery. Some bones of smaller graves were not moved.
Claus Hiebert, great-grandfather Cornelius Hiebert's brother, was born in 1834. He had a family of 6 children: Claus, Frank, Cornelius, Jacob, Anna and Marie. Claus came to Minnesota and settled north of Bingham Lake, Minnesota. He was a cabinet maker. He also made coffins by trade. He made his own coffin several years before he died in 1911 at the age of 77.
Great-grandfather Jacob Wiens was born August 13, 1817, in South Russia and died January 10, 1897 in Minnesota. Great-grandmother Justina Gerhard Dick Wiens was born on February 8, 1824, in South Russia and died on June 7, 1903 in Minnesota. They migrated to North America about 1889 and lived together with the grandparents in the "Sommer Stube." There they both died. They were buried at Eagle Lake, Minnesota. There were 5 children born to this union: Jacob Wiens, Daniel Wiens, Maria Wiens Hiebert (our grandmother), Justina Wiens, Koehn Wiebe, Agatha Wiens Warkentine. We were taught to respect them as our great-aunts and great-uncles. I recall great Aunt Agatha eating watermelon at our table and enjoying her freedom disposing of the seeds.
Grandfather Nikolai Hiebert, son of Cornelius and Helena, was born January 12, 1852 in Lichtfelde, South Russia and died September 18, 1923 in Hillsboro, Kansas, but was buried in Mt. Lake, Minnesota. I recall being at the depot when his body arrived via the train early in the morning. He was 71 years, 8 months and 6 days old. He had three brothers: Cornelius C. Hiebert, John C. Hiebert and Peter C. Hiebert. He had no sisters.
Grandmother Marie Wiens Hiebert was born April 20, 1850 in Altenaus, South Russia and died in November 1916 in Mt. Lake, Minnesota. At 5 years of age, I remember her clearly sitting in a rocking chair doing some hand-craft living next door. They were married on February 15, 1873 in Lichtfelde, South Russia. One son was born to them in Russia July 29, 1874, who was my father Nicholas. He was almost 1 year old when they came to North America. Grandfather died at the age of 86 in 1920. His wife died on June 28, 1875. Grandmother was buried in the Mt. Lake Cemetery. Her last words were, "Ruh, ruh, ruh," meaning, rest, rest, rest.
In 1892, grandfather Nikolai bought a farm near Eagle Lake, Minnesota from our great-grandmother Hiebert, since great-grandfather had died, and on this farm all the brothers and sisters grew up. Grandfather was a blacksmith by trade and farmed alongside. He had a Holland-styled windmill erected on the farm on which he milled the grain for their use as well as the neighbor's. They had 12 children. Two died in childhood and 10 grew up.
Grandfather Nikolai was married a second time to Mrs. Daniel Wiens in 1919. They lived in Hillsboro, Kansas. Mrs. Wiens' children brought into the family the following: Agnes Wiens, Anna Wiens who was a nurse, Frank Wiens, and Sam Wiens who lives in Fresno, California.
About 1881 while threshing, grandfather got a flax sliver in his eye. The doctor said if they removed the flax he would be blind. Then in 1921 he got cataracts on his good eye and was totally blind for 2 years. Then the doctor said the eye with the cataracts could not be cured, but he wished to remove the flax sliver located in the other eye. He requested prayer, it was removed and grandfather could see after being blind in that eye for 42 years.
The children of Nicholai and Maria C. Hiebert: Nicholas, Helen, Justina, Helen, Mary, Cornelius, Maria, Jacob, Anna, John, Peter and Agatha.
(If you want more information about the Hiebert family, contact Jo for a copy of the Marvin Harms Hiebert Family record.)