A Journey of Heritage

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It was a sunny day in the 1860s, as Henry Strasburg’s father packed the last of his suitcases and readied himself for his last days in his homeland, Germany. Henry’s father’s name is unknown. All that is known about him today, is that his last name was Strasburg, the name of my ancestors.

Henry’s father entered America and made his home in Omaha, Nebraska. Here he met a lovely young woman, whose name is also unknown. They had two sons, Henry (my great-great-grandfather) and George. They also had a daughter, whose name is unknown. For a while Henry’s father made a living by being a photographer, until a terrible thing befell the family. “Henry Strasburg”

Henry was orphaned when a harsh flu swept through his family. His sister died, then his mother, and as if nothing could get worse, his father passed on, orphaning him and his younger brother, George. It is not known whether the two boys had the flu and survived, but it is greatly speculated that they did. However, the flu was not the most difficult obstacle Henry had to endure. 

Henry was bitterly blessed when a kind family from Omaha, adopted George, but decided against him. Without the burden of a younger brother to provide for, Henry decided it was time to head west into the unknown rural area of Nebraska, where opportunity was in abundance. When Henry was eight years old he rode an orphan train to North Platte, Nebraska. 

Doug Pearce came to the Nebraska-Missouri area by covered wagon in 1884 with his brother Charlie, who took out a claim in the Powell Canyon area. Doug took out a claim in the quarter west of “Rosebud Cemetery,” which is now known as Powell Canyon Cemetery, and lived in a dug out in the back of a hill. After a time he realized that he needed a young boy to help him with herding the cattle. In 1884, he hired Henry off the orphan train in North Platte and put him to work. This was the beginning of a family relationship that–many years down the road–would turn into a marriage relationship.

Henry was very thankful for the opportunities presented to him by the means of Doug Pearce. Even when his shoes were so worn that he had to wrap his feet in newspaper or when his lunch (that he carried with him everyday) froze so hard he could not eat it, Henry was thankful. 

Henry worked for many other farmers in the area, with his faithful dog along side him as he herded cattle. After a time, Lucretia M. Bonta’s (maiden name of Pearce) family took Henry in and he lived with them as part of the family for quite a while.

When Henry turned 18 he received a job of driving a mail buggy from Callaway, Nebraska to Arnold, Nebraska, then the next day on to Stapleton, Nebraska. He received 50 cents a day for this work. 

Henry Strasburg's Family: Coming Soon!After a few years Henry decided it was time to find a wife. He married Winifred Bailey and had six children: Lavern, Reba, Harold (my great-grandfather), Margret, and Vurl. Doris died at infancy. 

To provide a house for his family, Henry bought a spot of land seven-and-a-half miles west of Arnold. He hauled lumber to build thesix-room house that still stands today, even if the windmill and barn are now gone.

In 1956 Henry’s grandson, Edward (my grandfather), bought the place from him and Ed moved there with his new bride, Ruberta Pearce. Ed and Ruberta remodeled the old house in 1958 and Ruberta lives there today. 

Winifred (Bailey) Strasburg died in 1929, leaving behind her husband. Henry lived in a house in the town of Arnold, Nebraska until his death in 1982. 

The hill that the original house was built on is now known as Strasburg Hill, because Harold Strasburg bought the other side of the highway.

The story of my family is one of mystery and wonder. While the first names of the first Strasburg parents are lost forever, their legacy and last name will live on, longer than the old homestead will ever last.