Note: Heinrich J. Gaede was one of 5 children: 2 brothers and 2 sisters. He was about 8 years old when his father and mother both passed away. At the graveside of his father, the children were passed out to family friends. Heinrich was taken by the Schmidt family (Johann & Sara Wedel Schmidt) and a few years later brought to America. (August 27, 1874, which is the same ship that the Loewen Family came to America on). The Schmidt family also had a second foster child, Elizabeth Goertz, that came with them to America. Once in Kansas the Schmidt family would have a daughter of their own, Susanna. Of Heinrich's birth family, one brother and sister also came to America - one brother and sister stayed in Prussia. In 1893, Heinrich, Marie, and their 6 children, lived in Inman, Kansas. On September 16, 1893, Heinrich took part in the Cherokee Strip Run in Oklahoma and staked his claim to 160 acres. In 1895, Heinrich moved his family to this land. They made the trip in covered wagon together with 2 other families; one was his sister and her family. They had two cows tied on the back of the wagon so they would have milk on the way. While they were on their way, a big storm and rain came up. They drove their wagon into a gully for a little protection. Nearby lived a farmer and when he noticed them, he came to them and invited them to his house for shelter and supper. Afterwards, the farmer put hay on the floor for them to sleep that night. Heinrich always said he felt God had sent an angel to lead and protect them on that trip. Heinrich had great faith in God and taught his children this deep abiding love. Their first home in the new territory was a sod house made against a creek bank. They had not lived there very long when the river flooded and the banks overflowed and washed away their home and almost all their belongings. Heinrich and Marie hurriedly loaded the children in the covered wagon and went to stay with Heinrich's sister until they could find somewhere else to live. A kind man from town sold him a one-room store building and gave him work to help him pay for it -- how he rejoiced and thanked God for his blessing. As food was also hard to get in such a large family, they had to make everything count. Marie would cook watermelon juice until it was like syrup to spread on bread. Once when Heinrich went to the post office there was a letter with $10 from someone who had heard of their plight. Once again, the Lord had provided and the family thanked God for the blessing. After several years, the family moved to a farm 3 miles from Medford, Oklahoma. There they lived for many years. Heinrich soon helped to organize the Medford First Mennonite Church (Feb 1897) and on December 9, 1899, he was ordained as minister of the church. In 1916, they moved to Tucson, Arizona where he ministered in a Mennonite Community Church; and in 1925, they moved to Shafter, California, where Heinrich was also minister in the new Shafter First Mennonite Church. (In the country on Nic Neufeld's farm) The ministry in those days was a labor of love as ministers were not paid a salary, so in all the years he preached (until he was about 65) he was never given any money. People would sometimes bring a chicken, eggs, or vegetables & fruit, for the family. Even though Marie had nearly lost her life several times (especially during the childbirth of some of her stillborn children) she stood by and helped Heinrich in every way she could. All visiting ministers and missionaries to the area stayed in their home. When their son, Curt, became ill while working in Detroit, Michigan, Heinrich went and stayed with him for 7 weeks. During this time, Marie and the other 4 boys had to run the farm and even butcher 4 hogs. The family was poor, insofar as earthly goods were concerned, but they were a happy family. Their home was filled with much laughter. The family was very fond of music and spent much time singing and playing insturments. Henry & John played the violin, Curt the guitar, Jake the mandolin, George the ukele, and Marie played the organ. Elizabeth and Bertha at this time, too young to play, but they remember the singing and good time. When the family would have one of their song fests, Marie would go to the phone and ring her own number. This was the signal for all others on the party line to lift up the receiver and listen to the music. Heinrich performed the marriage ceremonies of all his children, with the exception of Curt who was married in California, and also gave the catechism to all his own children. The Gaede family ws held together by the rich harmony of God's great love which was taught to the children early and ran like a golden thread through the memories of their childhood. The values and memories of their parents' teachings and instructions enriched their lives as their own families have branched out. Heinrich and Marie, both died in Shafter, California and were buried in Reedley, California
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