The Extended Batke Family with Link neighbors

The Extended Batke Family with Link neighbors
Pictured in the photo: (Back row, standing, left to right) Herman Fredrick, Anna Batke, Henry Batke, Sr., Selma Batke, Henry Robert Batke, William Batke and Arthur Engler. (Front row/sitting, left to right) Donald Fredrick, Robert Fredrick, Katherine Batke Fredrick, Ruth Batke, Edwin Batke, Katherine Reck Batke, Jerald Batke, Edna Kwiatkowski Batke, Mary Batke Engler and Elaine Engler. Taken c1940, possibly to celebrate Henry and Katherine’s 30th wedding anniversary, October 22, 1940. Photo courtesy: Don Fredrick.

About Henry Batke and Katherine Reck

Heinrich Batke, the son of Martin Batke (c1848-b1912) and Anna Lock (1848-1939) was born in Chortitza, Russia on September 7, 1877. Also in Russia, Catharina Reck was born on October 14, 1890. Her parents were John Reck and Renata Shirk. Henry and Katherine married in Russia on September 22, 1910. On July 13, 1912, Henry, his wife and seven month old daughter, Katherine, sailed from the Port of Bremen, Germany on the ship Pallanza. They traveled to Quebec City, Canada arriving on July 28, 1912. They immediately left on a special Canadian Pacific Railroad train to Saskatchewan, Canada. The Batkes homesteaded in Lydiard, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan between 1913 and 1918. On October 3, 1917 Henry Batke became a citizen of Canada. Due to England's sovereignty over Canada, he became a British citizen. Finding farming in Canada difficult, on December 7, 1921 the Batke family, now also including Mary, William and Selma, left for Yellow Pine, Alabama. After the birth of Anna and much hardship in Alabama, the family moved to St. Joseph, Michigan where children Henry, Ruth and Edwin were born. Henry, a furniture maker in Russia, became a machine operator at the 1900 Corporation, a fore-runner of Whirlpool, in St. Joseph. After Henry's death on April 7, 1949, Katherine Reck Batke married Gustav Schmeichel in 1959. Katherine Reck Batke Schmeichel died at the Claremont Nursing Home in Benton, Michigan on October 28, 1979.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chortitza, Russia

Henry Batke was born in 1877 in Chortitza, Russia per his Canadian naturalization papers.  Chortitza was a major Mennonite settlement.  Although there is no proof that the Batkes were Mennonite, they lived with the Mennonites in Russia and then later in Saskatchewan, Canada.  Henry's daughter Katherine was born in Pawlowka, Russia, which by 1943 came to be called Osterwick, and can be seen to the south west of Chortitza on this map.  In 1912, Katherine was baptized in the Lutheran Church in Russia before immigrating to Canada with her parents.
Chortitza Mennonite Settlement
(map) in 1943.
Mennonite Encyclopedia,
v. 1, p. 572.
Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, 1943

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jacob Link and Henry Batke

Jacob Link and Henry Batke were friends from their days in Saskatchewan. They traveled to Yellow Pine, Alabama together and eventually settled in St. Joseph, Michigan. They even possibly knew each other in Russia as they were both in the woodworking/furniture making field and it is believed they lived within a few miles of each other, attending the same church, Alexandrosker Evangelisch-Lutherischen. The Links and Batkes lived down the street from each other in St. Joseph, Michigan. Jacob Link at 626 Vine Street and Henry Batke at 714 Vine Street, approximately two blocks from Lake Michigan's shore.
Photo date and place unknown.  Photo courtesy: Don Fredrick.
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The Nineteen Hundred Corporation

In 1908, Lou Upton invested his savings in a venture to manufacture household equipment.  When the company failed to materialized, Upton was offered the opportunity to select something of value from the failed venture as a return on his investment.  He chose the patents on a hand washing machine that he thought might be electrified.  Upton brought the patents and his innovative vision home to St. Joseph, Michigan.  In 1911, Lou with other family members, produced motor-driven wringer washers as the Upton Machine Company.  In 1929 it merged with the Nineteen Hundred Washer Company of New York.  Together they formed the Nineteen Hundred Corporation.  World War II halted washer production, as factories were modified to provide components for the P-40 Warhawk aircrafts and military equipment.  In the summer of 1945, the 1900 Corporation began producing washers again.  In 1949, the company changed its name to the Whirlpool Corporation in recognition of the huge success of one of its product brand names.  Source: Whirlpool corporate history

Henry Batke states in the 1930 census that he was a "bench worker in a washing machine factory." In 1939, his occupation is listed in the city directory as a "machine operator."  And, on his death certificate, in 1949, it says he was a laborer in the 1900 Corporation.  If he worked at the 1900 Corporation from about 1930 to his retirement, he saw a lot of activity at the plant.

Katherine Reck Batke Schmeichel death certificate, 1979

Katherine Schmeichel died on October 28, 1979.  Her daughter, Katherine Fredrick was the informant on her death certificate.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Fredrick did not know the names of Katherine Reck Batke Schmeichel's parents.  However, she supplied Mrs. Schmeichel's Social Security number: 367-12-0849.
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Passenger List showing the Links entering the US - 1921

The Links and the Batkes were on the same train on December 7, 1921 when both families left Saskatchewan.  On this "List or Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission to the United States from Foreign Contiguous Territory" document, the Links are listed on Sheet 7 lines 8 through 14, one page following the Batke entry.

Jacob Link (35) with wife Maria (26) and five children Freda (6), Frederick (5), Wilhelm (4), Raymond (3) and Jakob (1) are listed.  The first sheet states the Links lived in Queen Center, SK prior to the trip.  Jacob states he was a farmer and the family is of German descent. 

When asked to list the name and complete address of nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came - a Brother, Fred Summerfelt from Herbert, SK is listed.  We know this is incorrect.  However, it is possible it was intended to say - a Brother, Fred Link who was from Herbert, SK.   The Links note they too are traveling to Yellow Pine, Alabama.

On the second image of the passenger list, the Links state they are paying their own passage and they are traveling with what looks like $120.  They state they have no relatives in Yellow Pine.  When asked for place of birth, it says that Jacob is from Jekaterinoslaw, Russia; Maria is from Pawlowka, Russia; and, the children were born in Queen Center, SK., Canada.   A physical description is provided for each.
 The last image reports that Jacob and Maria arrived at the seaport in Halifax in 1913 aboard the SS Ryndam.
To enlarge the images, double click on them.

Passenger List Showing Batkes Entering the US

This sheet 6 of the "List or Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission to the United States from Foreign Contiguous Territory" shows Henry Batke and family, on lines 24 through 29, leaving from the port of Portal, North Dakota, December, 1921. It is noted that Henry has $260 in cash.  In addition to Henry Batke's family, you also can see the names John and Anna Batke on lines 22 and 23. John is Henry's brother and Anna is John and Henry's mother. It notes they were farmers.  It give Henry Batke's last permanent residence as Lydiard, SK and his brother John and Henry's mother as Queen Center, SK.  It notes their final destination as Yellow Pine, Alabama

On the top of the second image of sheet 6 of the Manifest, the departure date is stamped: December, 1921.  The Manifest also notes that John and Henry paid their own way.  They both state they have no relatives in Yellow Pine.  It also gives a physical description of each of the travelers.
In columns 33a and 33b it notes where they were born.  The adults all show Russia and the Henry Batke children show Lydiard, SK with the exception of their oldest child, Katharine, who like her parents shows  born in Russia.

The last image of the Manifest is significant as it states their original seaport of entry.  For those born in Russia, it states Quebec as the seaport, the ship as the Pallanza and gives an arrival date of July 13, 1912.  For the rest, it states, Portal, as in Portal, ND and gives the date of December 7, 1921.  This would be the date the family entered into the United States from Canada.  December 7 is also the date they were "examined" by US Immigration. 

The images can be enlarged by double clicking on them.
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Henry Batke Declaration of Intention to become a US Citizen, 1939

Henry Batke prepared and signed Declaration of Intention paperwork to become a US Citizen on February 18, 1939. Completed citizenship papers have not been located.
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Henry Batke Death Certificate, 1949

Henry Batke died in St. Joseph, Michigan at the age of 71.  His death certificate states that he was a laborer at the 1900 Corporation.  The cause of death was acute cardiac failure.
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