The following story is from Illustrated History and Descriptive and Biographical Review of Kandiyohi County, Minnesota published by Lawson and Nelson, publishers of the Willmar Tribune, Willmar, MN. Page 230 contained two pictures of the farm home of William Maier. There was a picture of his barn and windmill plus another picture of their home with Amelia, with six of their children, sitting in the front yard. There are two daughters and four sons in the picture. This picture was probably taken about the same time (1908) that the large picture of Amelia was taken.
In 1997 we took a trip to Minnesota and, with the help of pictures from this book, a plat map and some directions from the Historical Society at Willmar, we drove directly to the old home of William and Amelia. It's still in remarkable condition.
William Maier was born in Scharnhausen, Wuerttemberg, Germany, April 14, 1838. At the age of fifteen he came to America, and worked in the city of New York until the Civil War broke out. On Nov. 17, 1861, he enlisted in the Thirty-second Independent New York Battery, and served until Nov. 17, 1864. He served in the Army of the Potomac, taking part in the battles of Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and a number of other battles and smaller engagements. On April 6, 1865, he re-enlisted, this time in Company C, Sixth Regiment of U.S. Veteran Volunteers. He was mustered out at Alexandria, VA, on April 5, 1866. Immediately afterwards he came to this county and took a homestead claim in town of Arctander, but soon after sold this claim and went to town of Harrison. Here he married Mrs. Amelia Augusta Rieff, widow of a soldier, and settled down on her claim, which became the family homestead. From time to time additional tracts were purchased until now the farm includes 563 acres, situated in sections 14, 15, 21, 23 and 28, Harrison. In 1876 he built the first large barn in that neighborhood, and in 1884 erected a large brick residence. The farm is four and a half miles from Atwater and a quarter of a mile from the school house in District No. 3. It is connected with the Harrison Telephone Line.
Mr. Maier served a term as county commissioner, and held several local offices. He was clerk of his school district for a number of years.
Although Mr. Maier went through the war without any more serious injury than a slight cut in the forehead from a bit of an exploding shell, his constitution had been undermined by the exposures and privations of camp life, and this later developed a constitutional malady that finally ended his life. Speaking of this about seven years before his death, Mr. Maier said to the writer: "I could undoubtedly get a pension, but I don't need it for my support, and no amount of money can give me back my health. Let the pension money go to those who need it for their daily bread." He died June 18, 1891, and was buried in the German Lutheran cemetery, having been a member of the St. John's German Lutheran congregation for a number of years.
Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Maier: William C., living at the old home; Anna, now Mrs. W. F. Gratz of Willmar; Henrietta, now Mrs. Fred Wolf, of Fort Wayne, Ind.; August and Mathilda, living at home; Joseph, living on the old Gottlieb Rieff farm; Albert and Bertha, living at home. The farm is now managed by the three brothers, William, August and Albert. (There were also two daughters, Catherina and Scharlotte, who died young.)
William Carl Maier
(This sketch is about the oldest son of Amelia FÖRSTER Ryf Maier and William MAIER. Amelia was the mother of Minnie RYFF Fradenburg, one of four children by her first marriage to Jacob RYFF.)
William Carl Maier is an energetic and progressive young man who purposes making farming his life occupation. He is the eldest son of the late William Maier, who until his death, was a prominent and influential factor in the development of the farming interests in Kandiyohi county. Our subject manages the estate of his late father in the interest of his mother and her children. He is unmarried and resides on the home farm in Harrison township.
William Maier, deceased, was born in Wuerttemberg, Germany, in 1838. His father was a farmer by occupation and both his parents spent their lives in Germany. He received his education in the Fatherland and at the age of fourteen years he took passage for America. After landing at New York he found employment and continued in various occupations until the breaking out of the Civil
War. In 1861 he enlisted in Company D. First New York Battery Volunteers, and at the close of his term re-enlisted in the United States Veteran Volunteers.
He fought for his adopted country until the close of the war and received an honorable discharge and subsequently a pension for his valued services. In 1866 he went to Minnesota and took up a homestead claim of eighty acres of land which he later abandoned and bought one hundred and sixty acres of land in section 23 of Harrison township, Kandiyohi county. He began his improvements by building a barn, and continued to steadily improve the place.
In 1866 he won the heart and hand of Mrs. Amelia Reefe, nee Förster, who was then a widow , and the owner of a fine farm in the immediate neighborhood. They were happily married and became the parents of ten children, eight of whom are now living and socially and intellectually are classed among the best people in the county. The names of the children are here given in the order of birth: William C.; Anna, now the wife of William Gratz of Willmar; Henrietta, the wife of Fred Wolf, residing in Indianapolis, Indiana; Matilda and August, twins; Joseph, who is married and is engaged in farming in Harrison township; Albert and Bertha, who live at home.
During Mr. Maier's active life he filled a number of township offices, including those of assessor, supervisor, and director on the school board, and was also county commissioner. In politics he was a staunch Republican. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and with his family a member of the German Lutheran church. Mr. Maier died June 18, 1891 and was buried in the cemetery of St. Johns. He was mourned by a large circle of relatives and friends and their loss was deeply felt.
The home of the Maier family is a commodious two-story structure, pleasantly situated on section 14 of Harrison township. Groves of trees add beauty and shelter to the place and good substantial barns afford shelter for crops and stock, there being of the latter fifty head of cattle and fifteen horses. The farm consists of five hundred eighty-one acres of land, most of which is now under plow.
Mrs. Maier is a pleasant sociable lady who thoroughly enjoys life surrounded by an affectionate and dutiful family. She was also a native of Germany. Her parents were Samuel and Rosa (Nelson) Förster, who emigrated to America in 1853, when Mrs. Maier was a child. She is the mother of four children by her former marriage, all of whom are still living.
Last modified on Tuesday, September 06, 2016