Genealogical Fun – John & Charlotte Raasch

Sometimes you just need to do something fun.  I had a couple really bad days researching
the Darling/Huber (See Brick Wall) line and working on my “Adair Project” without any
successes.  A very frustrating few days
of work, so it was time to do something that would be fun. 
While doing some work previously, I had found a couple
Homestead Claims for my “Raasch Project.” Homestead claims generally have some
really great and important information that you don’t find anywhere else.  In this case, I had two people, who certainly
were related, and each had 80 acres in the same section of land.  Also, these type of documents are great to learn
and gain texture to these people’s lives. 


  In reviewing the documents, we learned that Charlotte was a
widow, before May of 1868 and homesteaded land in Dodge County, Nebraska.

In another document in the homestead package we learn much
more about her life in Nebraska.  Her
neighbors, one of whom I’m sure was a relative, and probably her son, swore
that Charlotte had been there for six years and had three children. 
The John Raasch homestead papers indicate that
he had built  a one-story 20×32 house
that had four doors and nine windows.  On
the other hand, the Widow Raasch (Charlotte) had built a 12×14 foot house with
one door and two windows.  Other
documents mention that she had dug a well and had a shed.  It had to have been a harsh life.  Mother and three children in a house very
much like the John Curry House photographed by Solomon D. Butcher made
available by the Nebraska State Historical Society.  I’ve seen “Nebraska Gothic” before and never thought much of it. A couple making do in the Nebraska homestead period.  Now I visualize my friend’s ancestors, widow with three kids at the same kind of house.  I can her mom asking one of the kids to go out to the well to draw
water in the cold, windy, Nebraska winter.
The John Curry house, near West Union, Custer County, Nebraska, 1886
Photo by Solomon D. Butcher. Thanks to the Nebraska State Historical Society.
Partial map of Township 19 North, of Range 7 East
Dodge County, Nebraska
Then it is fun to take an old map of the area and draw in
the plots that John and Charlotte Raasch had. They bordered each other.
Charlotte’s piece was nice, flat and desirable. 
John’s was bisected by the Elk Horn River which surely made farming
impossible on the southern third of his land.
I can tell how genealogically geeky I am because I find
visualizing how people lived and making up maps of where they lived as fun. I
know my friend, for whom I am doing the Raasch Project, appreciates the effort
I am putting in and the documents I am finding. Meanwhile, I’m just enjoying
the fun of finding cool stuff.  

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