Letter from Corn. A and Maria Wiebe dated 14 Mar 1931 to Mennonitische Rundschau
Translated by Ann G. Rempel, edited by Judith Rempel
Kronsthal Post Office, Gretna, Manitoba
14 Mar 1931
Because the Mennonitische Rundschau (MR) is read by so many people, I will try to tell all my friends and acquaintances in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Mexico and Paraguay something about my father Aaron Niebuhr.
Father was born 22 Jun 1853 in Kronsthal, Russia. He lost his father when he was nine years old [about 1862] when he had to go to strangers to earn his lifelihood. He did this until he got married on 3 Aug 1973 to Helena Buhler. It was a time when a lot of people were talking about emigrating and so the parents [Aron and Helena] sold everything they had in 1878.
They prepared for the journey, starting on 12 May 12 and gratefully arriving in America on 28 Jun 1878 in spite of sea sickness, fog and sea storms. Their landing place was West Lynne near Emerson, Manitoba. That’s how far they got by water. And then they started with oxen westwards to go to a homestead which they found at 18-1-2. Because there were so many of them settling there (parents, children and strangers) they founded a village, Kronsthal, divided just like in Russia into portions for the school and so on. Here they would, with God’s help, try to eke out a living from the earth.
In 1922 they travelled from Canada to Mexico because the siblings of Jacob Thiessen were also there. They made themselves ready and on 28 May 1923 they visited. After six weeks, they came back. While away, father became sick.
On 12 May 1924 they came to our farm (near Rudnerweide) and stayed until 1927. Then we all went to Kronsthal where our father died. He suffered a lot in his life. In 1886 was the first time he was very sick. He had to be in bed for six weeks due to inflammation of the lungs (pneumonia). We worried about the outcome of this. He had pain in his arms and legs which kept him in bed quite a bit. In 1926 between Christmas and New Year’s Day he had his first stroke and his right side was quite disabled. Then on 22 Feb 1928 he had another stroke. This made him very sick and afterwards he couldn’t even walk one step. Around Pentecost 1930 he becamse sick again and he became paralyzed. We had to look after him completely.
On 1 Mar 1931 we took him to lie down after lunch. During the nights, we took turns watching over him until he died. He was lying patiently until 6 Mar, 3:45pm when he slowly fell asleep. From 11:30 am that day until he died, his breathing was laboured and raspy. But thank God he was clear in his head and he could answer yes or no until 6 March in the evening. That’s when he spoke the last time and assured us that he wanted to go home where there would be no pain or aches.
His age was 77 years, 8 months, and 14 days and his marriage endured for 57 years, 6 months, and 3 days. He was a father of 11 children of whom 8 died and a grandfather of 30 children of which 5 died. They also had a foster child – a five year old when he came to them – who was married and had fathered 2 children. He had a lot of people who came to the funeral and he was buried on 9 Mar 1931.
Elder Peter Toews read the eulogy. Father’s death left a big void but we must say he suffered a lot and was patient. We wish him peace from all our hearts.
With greetings on behalf of Mother.
© 2007 Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta
Last Updated 30 Mar 2007
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