“Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.” Proverbs 24:27 NKJV
My mother’s paternal great grandfather, Frederick Konrad Regetmeyer, immigrated from northern Germany in the mid 1860’s. How that came about is told in a series on circles. After he was naturalized as a US Citizen, through the network of German immigrants, he became aware of land grant opportunities in Kansas. In the midst of dreams, he no doubt knew from others that living in a hole in the ground, a dugout, was part of the journey.
The German Immigrant Network
History tells us the German immigrants were anti-slavery and wanted Kansas established firmly as a free state. There was a period of time in my fair state, when this was quite unsettled. Rather than protest and fight wars, this community of folks quietly recruited their fellow immigrant countryman to come to Kansas and homestead. This would, in principle, bring like-minded voters to the state and therefore tip the scales toward the anti-slavery side.
I do not know how altruistic my great great grandfather was on the anti-slavery issue. However, I do know that from where he had come from in Northern Germany, the Hanover area, the possibility of owning a section of land just for the cost of making basic improvements was a dream come true. Bureau of Land Management records indicate that the southwest section, 160 acres, of Washington Township was deeded on March 10, 1874 to Frederick Rightmeyer. In May of that year he married Malinda Elizabeth Miller in Jewell County, KS. She was the daughter of the neighbor a mile north, who was born in Mercer County, IL but had come with her family in 1872 to the Kansas prairies.
Newlywed Life And A Dugout
How they went about setting up housekeeping is still being pieced together. By far the most valuable information we have is from an interview my sister did with my grandfather, Lyman Rightmeier the grandson of Frederick Konrad. She had done this as a term paper in 1977, for Mrs. Friends Senior Advanced Advanced Composition Class at Plainville High School. It has provided leads from which to research, not the least of which was my husband and I traveling to Varenholz Germany.